Week two of the NFL season is officially in the books. Some of its best action was seen right at the start in the Thursday Night Football matchup. A heavyweight contest between the Chiefs and Chargers.
It was worth staying up into the early hours to watch these two great teams battle it out. And it was a monumental moment even this early in the season. With both re-tooled sides desperate to get an early upper hand on the AFC West.
However it was the Chiefs who came away with the AFC West bragging rights. They’re currently sat on top of the division with a 2-0 record. This after comfortably putting away the Cardinals in week one and pulling off a close 27-24 victory this week.
A Chiefs perspective
When you see two teams leave everything on the field like Kansas City and Los Angeles did on Thursday night, mutual respect seems to be a given. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was quick to share that praise at the start of his post-game presser.
“For whatever reason, we like to keep it real close with these guys and they’re a heck of a football team. (I’m) glad we came out on the right end of it.”Andy Reid
His quarterback Patrick Mahomes shared this outlook as well talking about just how big of a win it was.
“They’re Super Bowl contenders. They have a great defense, great offense, great special teams so to find a way to win and keep that home field advantage, I think it was huge and it’ll be something that we’ll look back on at the end of the season and say that was a big win for us.”Patrick Mahomes
A Chargers perspective
On the other hand Chargers’ head coach Brandon Staley wasn’t as vocal about his respect for the Chiefs. But he did hint that they’re a tough side to go up against.
“I like the way our guys competed. When you get chances against that team, you have to make sure that you capitalize. We had some opportunities tonight and we didn’t finish them.”Brandon Staley
Understandably Staley’s attention was focused on other areas of the game. Particularly star quarterback Justin Herbert who closed out the match looking pretty hurt.
But when asked about whether it could be a long-term injury, Staley was quick to respond.
“No. Because he’s Justin Herbert.”
“You’re not going to see a quarterback at any level of football play tougher, do more for their team and will their team to give them a chance, than him. There’s nobody that can do what he can do – nobody.”Brandon Staley
Herbert’s since been diagnosed with a fractured rib cartilage and is being described as day-to-day. Which means his status for week three is currently unknown.
However there are a couple of things Chargers’ fans should be optimistic about. Playing on Thursday has given him and the medical staff an extra two days to get Herbert as healthy as possible. Secondly, after the warrior mentality he displayed against the Chiefs, no one would be surprised to see him battle through his recovery and return to his usual standard of play in no time.
The game changer
Before getting hurt it seemed like Herbert’s side had the upper hand. The scoreline reflected that too as they led for the most part. But when two juggernaut teams come head-to-head it can only take one play to decide the outcome. That’s exactly what it felt like when Chiefs’ seventh round rookie Jaylen Watson picked off the Chargers’ quarterback on the goaline and took it back 99 yards (👀) for a touchdown.
With the game tied and just over 11 minutes left on the clock the Chiefs took their first lead of the game on that play. Then managed to hold off the Chargers the rest of the way.
After the game Watson spoke to the media about what was going through his head during that moment.
“It was a surreal feeling. (I’m) just so grateful and blessed to be in this position. I didn’t even know what to do when I got in the endzone… But, it’s a moment I’ll never forget.”Jaylen Watson
His defensive teammates were quick to praise him in their pressers too, particularly veteran DE Frank Clark:
“That’s the huge play any day in football so hats off to the rook, Wat (Jaylen Watson). He made the play, he made a big play for us. Eventually, obviously it helped us win the game.”Frank Clark
The rivalry between Mahomes’ Chiefs and Herbert’s Chargers is one of the best the NFL has to offer. So be sure to mark your calendars for their rematch in week 11.
Before that Kansas City are heading to Indianapolis to face the 0-2 Colts. Whilst the Chargers are looking to bounce back at home against the Jaguars.