EditorsNote: corrects Ekeler’s TD reception to 4 yards, not 5 in sixth graph
Justin Herbert concluded his season with an NFL rookie record 31 touchdown passes, tossing three Sunday as the Los Angeles Chargers pounded the Kansas City Chiefs 38-21 at Kansas City, Mo.
Herbert, the No. 6 overall pick out of Oregon, completed 22 of 31 attempts for 302 yards. The Chargers finished 7-9 with four straight victories while snapping a 10-game winning streak for the Chiefs (14-2).
Elevated to starter in a week two overtime loss to Kansas City, Herbert also set a rookie record for completions (396). He threw for 4,336 yards, 38 short of the rookie record set by Andrew Luck in 2012. Herbert also tied a franchise record with his eighth 300-yard outing.
Kansas City played without Patrick Mahomes and several other standouts, including Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Tyrann Mathieu, after clinching the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs a week earlier.
Drawing his first start since 2014 with Jacksonville, Chad Henne passed for 218 yards and two touchdowns quarterbacking the Chiefs. Darwin Thompson posted 110 yards on 21 touches, with two scores.
While it did not sit as many regulars as the Chiefs, Los Angeles played without several standouts, including Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry and Joey Bosa. The Chargers lost Austin Ekeler to a concussion late in the first half after he recorded 13 touches and caught a 4-yard TD pass.
Herbert also fired TD strikes of 8 yards to Donald Parham and 48 yards to Mike Williams.
Both quarterbacks went 6-for-6 to engineer touchdowns on their first drives before the Chargers capitalized on a recovery of a muffed punt and produced a safety off a sack to close the first half with 17 unanswered points.
With the game tied 14-14, a touchdown plunge by Herbert was overruled after review with 1:54 left. Taking over inside their own 1, the Chiefs surrendered a safety as Isaac Rochell sacked Henne.
The Chargers followed with a 59-yard drive Herbert capped with a 1-yard sneak before passing to Justin Jackson for a two-point conversion and a 24-14 halftime lead.
The Chiefs scored on their first two possessions but then executed just six more plays before halftime.
–Field Level Media