Sam Mellinger

Chiefs 38, Chargers 28: Insta-reaction from a season-opening win in L.A.!

Chiefs head to locker room after 38-28 win over Chargers

The Kansas City Chiefs head to the locker room at StubHub Center in Carson, Ca. after beating the Los Angeles Chargers 38-28 on Sunday, September 9, 2018.
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The Kansas City Chiefs head to the locker room at StubHub Center in Carson, Ca. after beating the Los Angeles Chargers 38-28 on Sunday, September 9, 2018.

The wait for Patrick Mahomes was long and full of impossible expectations and ridiculous memes and when reality finally came exactly 500 days after the Chiefs drafted him the show was somehow better than expected.

Which was your favorite moment of the Chiefs’ 38-28 win over the Chargers on Sunday?

The first touchdown pass, which he threw sidearmed, with an unblocked and 300-pound defensive tackle wrapped around his legs? The ball was bulleted to a spot that was not yet open, and not yet particularly close to where Tyreek Hill was, because he had not even made his cut yet.

It went for 58 yards.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Tyreek Hill now has multiple 50+ yard TDs less than 10 minutes into Week 1 <a href="https://t.co/Fs8KkdOq85">pic.twitter.com/Fs8KkdOq85</a></p>&mdash; Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ihartitz/status/1038886713521790976?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 9, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Or was it the time Mahomes shovel-passed a touchdown THROUGH Kareem Hunt’s arms for a touchdown? (though choosing this one’s probably not fair because Hill stole the show with a backflip celebration...)

Or was it the time he had third and long, inside his own 20, broke the pocket to buy time, and instead of checking down to give his punter space threw over nearly everyone because Hill was open for a 34 yard gain?

Or was it the time that Andy Reid called a play so thorough in its disguise that the Chiefs essentially stopped blocking a full two seconds before De’Anthony Thomas trotted a short shovel pass into the end zone?

Or was it the time that Reid, apparently long past the point of play calling for entertainment, sent Anthony Sherman deep on a wheel route for a 36-yard touchdown?

Seriously, the Chiefs have so many weapons they’re now sending the fullback deep.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Oh my god, Mahomes is even better than <a href="https://twitter.com/mellinger?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@mellinger</a> thought he was.</p>&mdash; Jesse Newell (@jessenewell) <a href="https://twitter.com/jessenewell/status/1038914109083987968?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 9, 2018</a></blockquote>

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I don’t know, you guys. I kind of expected to come here and write about how all the expectations were absurd, and at some point maybe I’ll have reason to write that column.

But I’m less certain than I was this morning.

We all tend to watch our teams, and see the games through that perspective, but holy cow the Chargers were sloppy. I would like to tell you how many big plays their receivers literally dropped but I lost track sometime after five. Once, Steven Nelson was completely turnstiled, no defender within 10 yards of Tyrell Williams, at least, and ... drop. The fumbled punt return was an unnecessary back-breaker. Very on brand for them, but from the Chiefs’ perspective it’s hard not to wonder how different this game would’ve been if they were cleaner on the other side. ...

Tyreek Hill is a spectacular athlete, and I’m not sure the last time we’ve seen something like him in the NFL. My friend Carrington Harrison said Hill is basically what Percy Harvin would’ve been if he’d been healthy and played to his potential ALL THE TIME, and that’s probably about right.

All that said, that punt return was about the blocking more than Hill. He was untouched, basically just made one cut, and that’s a wrap.

Also, Chiefs fans will like the tweeter here:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/cheetah?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cheetah</a> com on bruh!! You are stupid good! Your first touch??? Salute!! <a href="https://t.co/G8DNsgCpmF">pic.twitter.com/G8DNsgCpmF</a></p>&mdash; Dante Hall (@ogxfactor82) <a href="https://twitter.com/ogxfactor82/status/1038884063292125190?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 9, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Ron Parker had an interesting afternoon. There were moments you saw exactly why the Chiefs felt lucky to get him back at a lower price, with him filling holes to support the run. Then there were moments you saw exactly why a team that needed safeties cut him, with receivers getting behind him and generally exploiting his diminished agility.

Then, of course, he made the terrific read on Phil Rivers near the red zone, reading the quarterback’s eyes — and Rivers HAD ALL DAY — for a diving interception.

Huge play, obviously. ...

The inside linebackers were mostly good, at least on first look. This is about what you should’ve expected, but wasn’t a given with them working through injuries. ...

The play that stood out the most was a screen, that looked like it could’ve gone for big yardage. But Hitchens sort of rocketed up the field, ninja-ed his way under the offensive linemen and blew it up.

Derrick Johnson’s old play, basically.

Course, Hitchens and Reggie Ragland had their warts, too, particularly Hitchens getting trucked by Melvin Gordon downfield on a run. But, still. Pretty good first showing. ...

Oh — and Dee Ford, huh?

He had some nice pressures, even if the best came on a drive that still ended with a Chargers touchdown. He looked to have some intel on the snap count, blowing by backup right tackle Sam Tevi, and then on the next snap won the hand exchange with Tevi and hit Rivers as he threw.

It was a touchdown, but still.

Nice game by Ford. If he can continue this sort of thing — and against starters — it goes a long way toward providing Justin Houston the help he needs. Even made a run stop or two.

Speaking of Houston, obviously I want to watch the tape, but I didn’t notice him much.

So, that’s ungood. But most everything else was fun.

The Kansas City Chiefs prepare on the field at StubHub Center for the start of the season opener against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday September 9, 2018.

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