The Kansas City Chiefs entered StubHub Center ranked second in the NFL in total offense (440.5 ypg) and points per game (34.5).
L.A. knew their defense would be in for a tall task, and the offense didn't do them any favors, spotting the Chiefs good field position on their first two drives after Philip Rivers threw a pair of interceptions.
However, the Chargers defense was lights out from that point forward, surrendering only a field goal the rest of the way until their final snap of the game. They forced five punts and one turnover on downs, giving their offense several chances to tie up the game or even take the lead.
Unfortunately, the offense couldn't ever get in a groove, punting on five straight occasions in the second half when a touchdown scored would have tied the game. Afterwards, the offense fumed over how they failed to hold up their end of the bargain.
"I definitely feel like we let them down," Russell Okung said after the game. "It's hard. We had at least four or five chances to at least tie the game up. We weren't able to deliver. I think our defense took a step forward today. Their effort showed up throughout the game, especially against a really good offense that does a lot. So it's time for us as an offense to mature. I definitely feel like I let them down. I should have played a bit better. I had probably two key blocks where I feel if I gave (Philip Rivers) a little bit more time, he could have made a big play. So I'm kicking myself."
"It's really a shame because our defense was awesome," Philip Rivers added. "Defense was outstanding. Held them to 17 (until the last play), and all three of those (scores) were directly related to either a turnover or a penalty. That's winning football on that side of the ball, and I've got to play better (to) see if we can bounce back."
Special teams also let down the defense, as a roughing the kicker penalty wiped off a missed field goal attempt. The Chiefs ultimately got three points on the board given a second chance.
Still, the defense delivered for most of the game.
They limited Travis Kelce, perhaps the top tight end in the game coming into Week 3, to only one catch for one yard. The defense also pestered Alex Smith for much of the night, especially in high-stakes situations. Melvin Ingram led the Chargers with a career-high three sacks, while Chris McCain got to the QB for the third straight game. Joey Bosa and Corey Liuget shared another one as the Bolts authored a season-high five sacks. The defense was also stout on third down, allowing the Chiefs to convert on only four of 12 attempts (33-percent).
"I thought the defense kept us in the game," Head Coach Anthony Lynn said. "They played hard. Melvin Ingram, every time I turned around, he was getting a sack. I love his energy. His passion on the sidelines. Our defense played hard. That was definitely a positive… Defense did an outstanding job of keeping them out of the end zone in the second half, except for that last play. Offensively, we didn't move the ball like we needed to in the second half, and that was disappointing."
To their credit, the defense stressed how they left plays on the field as a unit. They said how they could have forced a turnover or limited some of those early TDs to a field goal, which would have changed the tenor of the game from the start.
"That's football," said Tre Boston. "It's going to happen. We have to find a way to bend but don't break when the offense puts us in moments like that. It's football. It happens, so there is no need to complain about it. We've just got to play the cards that we're dealt."
"We have to get back to the lab and we have to come together," added Ingram. "I feel like if we do that it can be something special. We have to give it 110 percent. We have to go above and beyond to get those results. That's how this league works."