Johnson | The Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tyreek Hill caught a short pass over the middle, looked up, noticed the pylon in front of him and scored. He even ran twice more across the goal line.
New York’s sagging defense was done for the night.
Hill came up with an overtime touchdown catch that proved the difference as the Kansas City Chiefs moved to 11-0 with a 34-28 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night.
“It just comes down to executing as a team,” Hill said, “especially when it’s like that. We had our opportunities but we executed.”
Hill added 10 catches for 143 yards and two scores, keeping the Chiefs on track for another Super Bowl run despite another in a string of disappointing finishes. They squandered a 34-13 lead in the Super Bowl five years ago and settled for a wild card last season, with the very slim chance of advancing evaporating when Patrick Mahomes got the ball back with 1:57 left in the game and went three-and-out.
Meanwhile, the Chargers stumbled into their playoffs as the AFC West champions, blowing a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead in a 22-17 loss to New England last weekend.
“We did some good things. But we need to be a lot better,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. “I’m not going to wait to preach all year on how disappointed I am in this game. I’m extremely disappointed and we need to have to get better. That’s all I care about.”
The Chiefs were already in the game when Hill took the short pass and cut back, changing directions before reaching the end zone to cap a 99-yard drive late in the third quarter. The drive featured two big gains by Kareem Hunt, who had been inactive with a sore ankle.
“It was a huge advantage for us,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “It was something we put in, going to the end zone, to try to win the game.”
It also moved the Chiefs to .500 for the second time this season, ensuring they’ll be in next week’s divisional round with a home playoff game to follow.
“We’ve just got to continue to improve each week,” Reid said. “The next week we’ll go right back to work.”
Hill’s touchdown came with 46 seconds left in regulation, when Rivers threw his fourth interception on a pass that hit cornerback Kendall Fuller on its way through the air.
The cornerback then stepped in front of Damarius Travis to set up Harrison Butker’s 51-yard field goal with 2 seconds left. And after Travis stole the ball out of the air for the Chargers, Butker’s extra point attempt barely grazed the left upright.
It was Butker’s fourth field goal of the night, a franchise record for an opening-week home game.
He also connected from 49, 38 and 34 yards, and had a 52-yarder hit off the upright in the first half. Butker made two more kicks from beyond 50 yards on the way to a 33-of-38 night.
“Every chance he gets he makes,” Mahomes said. “I’m proud of him.”
Rivers got the Chargers on the board first with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams, but they didn’t score again until Allen Hurns caught a short pass for a 19-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
Devin Lucien sealed the victory with a 47-yard touchdown catch in overtime.
It’s the third time in franchise history that the Chargers opened a season with three consecutive losses, but it’s the first time since 2013.
NOTES: Rivers was 15 of 31 for 227 yards and two touchdowns. … The Chargers were without top receiver Keenan Allen (neck) and LB Kyzir White (shoulder). … The Chiefs placed DT Xavier Williams (back) on injured reserve and signed TE Deon Yelder. … Fields also didn’t play in the second half because of a shoulder injury. … LB Reggie Ragland (knee) remained out for the Chiefs.
Chargers: At Denver next Thursday night.
Chiefs: At Pittsburgh next Sunday night.
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