The Kansas City Chiefs are back in control of the AFC West.
The Chiefs forced four second-half turnovers and Kareem Hunt shouldered the load on offense to earn a 30-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium.
After six losses in seven games put the season in doubt, Kansas City has won two straight against divisional opponents to move back into first place at 8-6. The Chargers remain alive in the playoff hunt at 7-7, but this loss snaps a four-game win streak and leaves them a half game out of a wild-card spot.
Geoff Schwartz of SiriusXM NFL explained how important the result was for Kansas City:
The Chiefs' best players delivered when it mattered.
Kareem Hunt topped 100 rushing yards for the second game in a row, finishing with 206 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. Alex Smith remained as efficient as ever, tallying 231 passing yards and two touchdowns for a 120.3 quarterback rating.
However, the biggest difference-maker arguably came on the defensive side. Marcus Peters made himself a factor in the secondary, grabbing two interceptions and a forced fumble in the second half. The NFL relayed this third-quarter pick via Twitter:
SiriusXM's Ross Tucker and the NFL Network's Rich Eisen sung Peters' praises:
The cornerback was suspended for Week 14 but returned to provide a major impact against the Chargers. Ron Parker also came through with an interception and a fumble recovery.
Los Angeles had a 13-10 lead in the second half, but turnovers on four straight possessions contributed to 20 unanswered points for Kansas City.
The matchup was tightly contested for most of the night, with neither offense able to do much in a quiet first half. The biggest exception came when Tyreek Hill did what Hill does to help give Kansas City a 10-0 lead on a 64-yard touchdown catch, via the NFL:
The receiver's talent as a big-play threat should not be understated, and NFL Research and Chiefs reporter BJ Kissel illustrate why:
Hill ended up with five catches for 88 yards.
Melvin Gordon did everything he could to keep the Chargers in the game, totaling 169 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. However, three interceptions from L.A. quarterback Philip Rivers prevented any chance at a road win.
The Chiefs will try to make their playoff push in winnable games against the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos in Weeks 16 and 17, respectively. The Chargers go on the road to face the New York Jets before ending the year at home against the Oakland Raiders.