INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have faced their share of challenges this season. The two-time defending AFC champions are peaking at the right time for another playoff push.
Kelce had a career-high 191 receiving yards and scored on a 34-yard pass from Mahomes in overtime as the Chiefs rallied for a 34-28 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night.
Kelce caught a tying 7-yard touchdown pass with 1:16 left in the fourth quarter, then ended the game with his catch-and-run in overtime. On first-and-10, Kelce pulled in Mahomes’ pass at the 30 and eluded two tackles en route to the end zone, where he was swarmed by teammates.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a walk-off touchdown or anything like that, so to be in that moment, find him underneath and him making such a dynamic play where, I mean, he cut back, ran by people,” said Mahomes, who completed 31 of 47 for a season-high 410 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
The Chiefs were 3-4 at the end of October but have won seven straight to improve to 10-4 and go up by two games in the AFC West.
Kelce had been held to six total receptions the past two games, but he broke out in a big way. He had five of his 10 catches for 142 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime. He also had a 69-yard reception that led to Tyreek Hill’s 1-yard touchdown and a 2-point conversion that tied it at 21.
Mahomes bounced back after a costly fourth-quarter interception led to Austin Ekeler’s touchdown and gave the Chargers a 21-13 advantage. He was 10 of 16 for 197 yards and three TDs after the turnover.
Justin Herbert gave the Chargers a 28-21 lead with 2:19 remaining on a 8-yard TD pass to Keenan Allen, but couldn’t make it hold up. It is the second straight season the Chiefs have come to the Chargers’ Hollywood Park home and won in overtime.
Los Angeles’ defeat came after a terrifying injury to tight end Donald Parham. The 24-year-old appeared to lose consciousness after slamming his head on the turf in the first quarter. He was helped off on a stretcher and taken to a hospital, where the team said he is in stable condition.
Herbert threw two touchdowns and ran for another score, but the Chargers (8-6) came up empty on three red-zone drives. Herbert completed 22 of 38 passes for 236 yards and an interception.
The Chargers fell behind 10-0 early in the second quarter before scoring on two straight drives to take a 14- 10 lead at halftime. Herbert scored on a 1-yard keeper off left end and then connected with Jalen Guyton for a 4-yard TD on the next drive.
The Chiefs benefited off Chargers’ mistakes for their first 10 points. After Los Angeles turned it over on downs, Kansas City went 95 yards in 11 plays, culminating in Michael Burton’s 7-yard run up the middle.
The Chiefs then turned Anthony Hitchens’ interception of Herbert into points on Harrison Butker’s 30-yard field goal.
The Chargers could have had at least a 20-10 lead at halftime had Staley opted for a field goal instead of going for it on fourth down. Andre Roberts took the opening kickoff 75 yards and Los Angeles drove to the 5 before turning it over on downs on four straight incompletions by Herbert.
The Chiefs also were not immune to red-zone failures.
They were down 14-13 and had fourth-and-goal at the 2 when Mahomes’ pass to Mecole Hardman was incomplete.
Chiefs: Host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 26.
Chargers: Travel to the Houston Texans on Dec. 26.