As the Chargers prepared for a first and goal play from the Kansas City four with 36 seconds to play, the Chargers wanted to milk the clock, in order to limit the time that Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes would have to win the game.
The play call, then, was aimed at doing that. Quarterback Justin Herbert changed it.
Receiver Mike Williams, who caught the game-winning touchdown pass, explained how things unfolded via phone after the 30-24 victory.
“It was actually a running play and Coach [Brandon Staley] wanted to run the ball to run the time down so they didn’t get ball back but Justin looked at me and said, ‘Be ready for the fade,'” Williams said. “I just ran a route fade and he put the ball where it should be and I made the play on it.”
It worked, even though the missed extra point left the door open for a potential victory by the Chiefs. Instead, the Chargers escaped with their first win at Arrowhead Stadium since 2018. Like that game, Williams had seven catches and two touchdowns.
The final drive by the Chargers stayed alive because L.A. opted to go for it on fourth and four and then, after a penalty, on fourth and nine. Williams wasn’t surprised by the decision to not try what would have been a game-tying field goal. Coach Brandon Staley had prepared them for that possibility.
“We may have to go for it fourth down because of the team, because of the firepower they have,” Williams said, explaining the message from Staley. “We got to just believe what we do, control what we can control, believe in the people that we have in the huddle and that’s what he believed in.”
The Chargers justified his belief on Sunday. Although the win won’t put the Chargers in first place in the AFC West, it dumped the Chiefs into the basement of the division.