INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Harrison Butker wasn’t nervous about his third attempt to kick a game-winning field goal in overtime for the Kansas City Chiefs. After a false start and Los Angeles Chargers timeout, Butker was determined to end it.
Butker connected from 58 yards with 1:55 remaining in overtime to give the Chiefs a 23-20 victory on Sunday. The defending Super Bowl champions survived a superlative NFL debut by Chargers rookie Justin Herbert, who threw for 311 yards, becoming the ninth player since the merger to top 300 in his first game.
Butker’s game-winner was his third field goal of the day and his second from 58 yards, which tied a Chiefs record for distance. He is the second kicker in NFL history to make a pair from 58 in the same game.
In overtime, Butker sent the ball through the uprights from 53 yards, but Kansas City was called for a false start. Then the Chargers called timeout, giving him a rehearsal kick from 58 before the one that counted.
“To have two practice kicks is only going to help you,” Butker said. “I got a little bit more angry with every kick because I was trying to finish it off. I felt more confident on the last one. I slowed down my leg swing and hit a better ball.”
Kansas City (2-0) has won 11 straight dating back to last season, including playoffs. Four of its last five wins have been rallies from double-digit deficits.
The Chiefs — who beat the Chargers for the 12th time in the last 13 meetings — didn’t lead until Butker’s game-winner. They trailed 17-6 midway through the third quarter before tying it at 17 early in the fourth. After LA went on a 10-minute drive to go up 20-17 on Michael Badgley’s second field goal of the day, the Chiefs marched back into Butker’s range, where he drilled one from 30 to force overtime.
Playing their first game at the new SoFi Stadium, which they share with the Rams, the Chargers (1-1) won the coin toss in overtime but went three-and-out. The Chiefs got the ball at their 21 and went 39 yards in 13 plays.
“This wasn’t a thing of beauty, but there are going to be times like this where things aren’t working and you have to be aggressive,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “We beared down and made big plays down the stretch. Our defense stepped up and put the hammer down to give us a chance to win.”
Patrick Mahomes completed less than half of his passes in the first half for only the third time in his career but rallied to finish 27 of 47 for 302 yards and two touchdowns. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Mahomes has won six straight games when trailing by double digits, including playoffs, which is a record for NFL QBs.
Tyreek Hill (five catches, 99 yards) and Travis Kelce (nine receptions, 90 yards) each had TD receptions.
Hill didn’t have a catch in the first half but he made an impact in the fourth quarter with a 54-yard touchdown. Mahomes rolled left and connected with Hill, who got separation from defensive backs Nasir Adderley and Chris Harris Jr., caught it in stride at the LA 6, tripped at the 3 and lunged into the end zone. The Chiefs converted the 2-point conversion to tie it at 17 with 12:58 remaining.
“We game planned for that play and I wanted to do it earlier. I put it as far as I could and he made the catch in double coverage,” Mahomes said.
Added Hill: “He kind of overthrew me because I had to lean to get it but it was still a good ball.”
Mahomes was 18 of 25 for 222 yards and a touchdown on the final four drives, which resulted in a TD and three field goals. He also had four runs for 29 yards, including a 22-yard scramble on third-and-21 late in regulation to put the Chiefs into field goal range.
Herbert was 22 of 33 for 311 yards with a touchdown and interception. He got the call after Tyrod Taylor re-aggravated a rib injury during pregame warmups. Coach Anthony Lynn said he found out just before the coin toss that Taylor was unable to play and that Taylor was taken to a hospital with difficulty breathing. The Chargers said after the game that Taylor was released from the hospital.
Herbert ran it in from 4 yards out on his first drive and then had a 14-yard bullet to Jalen Guyton with 2:30 remaining in the first half to give the Chargers a 14-6 lead at halftime.
“He played his tail off,” Mahomes said.
Herbert is the first player since Bob Clatterbuck of the New York Giants in 1954 to pass and run for a TD in the first half of his debut. Herbert also joined Cam Newton and Otto Graham as the only QB’s to throw for 300 yards and have a rushing TD in their first game.
“I was really excited,” Herbert said. “This is something I’ve waited for my entire life, and sure it didn’t end the way we wanted to, but we made some big plays along the way.”
Austin Ekeler had 148 scrimmage yards, including 93 rushing, and Keenan Allen caught seven passes for 96 yards.
Chiefs: Defensive end Frank Clark (illness), cornerback Antonio Hamilton (groin) and running back Darrel Williams (ankle) left the game.
Chargers: OT Bryan Bulaga suffered a knee injury during the first quarter and did not return. Defensive end Justin Jones (shoulder) and safety Jalen Watkins (groin) were injured in the second half.
Chiefs: Travel to Baltimore for a matchup of the last two NFL MVPs on Monday, Sept. 28. Mahomes has won both games against reigning MVP Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
Chargers: Host the Carolina Panthers next Sunday. Los Angeles is 8-4 against NFC teams under coach Anthony Lynn.
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