News & Analysis

NFL Week 17 PFF ReFocused: Kansas City Chiefs 31, Los Angeles Chargers 21

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 17, and thanks to an improbably Dolphins win, the team also unexpectedly secured the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye.

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Final Score

Kansas City Chiefs 31, Los Angeles Chargers 21

Kansas City Chiefs

It wasn't the most efficient day for Patrick Mahomes, but the 2018 MVP made the plays when needed, and his 48-yard bomb to Tyreek Hill was no better example of that. Mahomes was hurt by a few drops by his receivers in this one, while his lone interception — only his fifth of the year — was due to a miscommunication with his receiver.

If the Chiefs hope to earn a trip to the Super Bowl, the one unit on the offense that might hold them back is the offensive line. Outside of right tackle Mitchell Schwartz — who was excellent once again today — the Chiefs' big men struggled to both keep Mahomes clean from pressure and pave the way on the ground.

A defensive unit that was a liability and likely cost the Chiefs a Super Bowl last year has been great in the second half of the season this year. Part of that second half push has been the play of Frank Clark. Clark recorded a sack and several pressures today in what was likely his best game of the season.

Chris Jones didn't crack double-digit sack numbers, and his total pressures are a bit down compared to last year, but he put on a show against a porous Chargers offensive line today by notching a sack and multiple pressures.

Los Angeles Chargers

Philip Rivers was under duress almost as often as he was able to throw from a clean pocket. He wasn't bad today, but as has often been the case, he needed to play at an elite level to lead his team to a win, and he just wasn't up to that level.

The Chargers have needs at every position on the offensive line, as the unit was just unable to give Rivers any time to operate in the pocket today. Making matters worse, the Chargers averaged only 1.26 yards before first contact in the run game as the Chargers' running backs had to earn every yard they gained.

Safety Derwin James is going to be a superstar in this league, and he once again showed why today. He led the team in tackles and stops while making plays in coverage all game.

We at PFF had high hopes for rookie interior defensive lineman Jerry Tillery, but the Notre Dame product ultimately had a season to forget. Tillery wasn't terrible today, but he failed to make an impact and was pushed back at the point of attack a couple of times in the run game.

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