The Los Angeles Chargers clinched a playoff spot with a thrilling 29-28 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL on Thursday.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes certainly brought the magic, but it was veteran play-caller Philip Rivers that brought just a little bit more.
The long-time quarterback engineered a come-from-behind victory, highlighted by a gutsy two-point conversion, to stop the streaking Kansas City and clinch the team's first playoff berth since 2013. The win was also the first time the Chargers have topped the Chiefs after nine consecutive losses.
Los Angeles had to rely on some new faces in light of injuries to key role players, Mahomes still managed to impress despite the loss and while Kansas City did not clinch the AFC West, coach Andy Reid appears poised to make a deep playoff run with his talented squad.
Injuries didn't stop the visiting Chargers
The Chargers had to dig deep to fill their backfield. Los Angeles were missing both Melvin Gordon (hip) and his backup Austin Ekeler (head/concussion), and the team continued to be plagued with injuries throughout the game.
So, they used some new (and old) faces to complete some of their most important plays.
The Chargers failed to establish the run early, so they relied on Rivers to find his talented receivers as he tried to outmanoeuvre the Chiefs, who at one point boasted a 21-7 lead. But, their already depleted offense was further halted when Keenan Allen (hip) exited the game and never returned.
Tyrell Williams and second-year receiver Mike Williams helped with the load and Justin Jackson led the team on the ground. Veteran Antonio Gates also had a few big plays when Rivers needed him most, including a first-down grab that extended a late Los Angeles scoring drive, which brought the Chargers within one touchdown.
Mike Williams finished with three total touchdowns, including the final scoring reception that put the Chargers in position for their game-winning play. He had seven receptions for a team-leading 76 yards and two scores. He also had one carry for 19 yards and a touchdown.
Tyrell Williams had six catches for 71 yards and Jackson finished with 16 carries for 58 yards and one score. Gates ended with 54 yards on four receptions.
What more can we expect from Mahomes?
We have seen the jaw-dropping plays from Mahomes, and even after the no-look pass he debuted on Sunday, it was almost impossible to fathom he would have more up his sleeves. But, he did.
Mahomes continued to make the impossible possible by escaping tackles, making incredible throws and extending drives with decisions that would shame an average quarterback.
Mahomes even found a receiver who was on the opposite side of the end zone, which went for a touchdown.
Mahomes continued to impress throughout the game despite the loss. He finished 24-of-24 passing for 243 yards with two touchdowns and no picks.
Will Reid's destiny be fulfilled?
Reid is a great coach. He is also a coach without a championship and only a handful of coaches have made the Hall of Fame without hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy, including George Allen and Marv Levy.
But, that could all change this year. Reid, who is eighth in NFL history with 194 wins, has fielded good teams with plenty of talent but this particular Chiefs team – with Mahomes under center – seems like his best chance at a Super Bowl, as it is still one of the best teams in the AFC, despite the loss.
The 20-year head coach, who is in his sixth season in Kansas City, is used to the bright lights, as he has won his respective division eight times and made it to five divisional championship games. But, can he bring it home?
The Chiefs will close out their season with a trip to Seattle to face the Seahawks in week 16 and host the lowly Raiders before the start of the postseason.