CARSON (CNS) - The Los Angeles Chargers outgained the Kansas City Chiefs and led in first downs and time of possession, but lost 38-28 today as second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw four touchdown passes in his second NFL regular-season game.
“We couldn't have asked for a better opponent to start out with,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “Our division champs to come in here the first week just to tell us exactly where we're at.
“A team like that, you can't give them anything. You have to take everything, and we didn't do that. We gave them too much and they outplayed us.”
Mahomes threw 1-and 36-yard touchdown passes to De'Anthony Thomas and Anthony Sherman in the third quarter, turning a 17-12 halftime lead to a 31- 12 advantage at StubHub Center in the season opener for both teams.
Philip Rivers threw 20-and 4-yard touchdown passes to Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams in the fourth quarter.
Rivers passed to Antonio Gates for a two-point conversion following Allen's touchdown and Melvin Gordon ran for a two-point conversion after Williams' touchdown.
Tyreek Hill returned a punt 91 yards for a touchdown one minute, 57 seconds in the game and caught a 58-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes later in the first quarter.
The Chargers narrowed the deficit to 14-12 on 45- and 35-yard field goals by Caleb Sturgis in the first quarter and a 13-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to Austin Ekeler in the second quarter.
Rivers' pass on the two-point conversion attempt after Ekeler's touchdown was incomplete.
Harrison Butker kicked a 46-yard field goal for Kansas City 2:00 before halftime.
Mahomes completed 15 of 27 passes for 256 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown pass to Hill with 9:42 left.
“There were times we put some pressure on him, but it wasn't enough,” Lynn said. “When we did, he moved around and made a play.”
Rivers completed 34 of 51 passes for 424 yards and three touchdowns.
“We should have thrown for 600, which is crazy to say,” Rivers said. “We just didn't get it done. I had a couple just a hair underthrown. We had a couple we didn't bring down. We had a turnover down in there. That all affected points.”
Chiefs safety Ron Parker intercepted a pass by Rivers in the third quarter, which Kansas City converted to Mahomes' touchdown pass to Sherman.
“I saw one of our guys was kind of trailing behind and I knew Phillip wanted to hit (Allen) on the over route, so I just kept my eyes on him and I just made a play,” said Parker, who was signed by the Chiefs Sunday, two days after he was cut by the Atlanta Falcons.
Parker was released by Kansas City March 12 after spending five seasons with the team.
The Chargers led in total offense, 541 yards to 362, 33-19 in first downs and 34:26-25:34 in time of possession.
The Chargers were three for 11 in third down conversions, 27.2 percent, the Chiefs four of 10, 40 percent. The Chargers were successful on the game's only fourth-down conversion attempts.
The loss was the Chargers ninth straight to Kansas City and fifth in their past six openers.
The Chargers played without defensive end Joey Bosa, a Pro Bowl selection in 2017, because of an injured left foot.
“He's one of our best players, so yeah, we missed him,” Lynn said. “But we had enough to get it done. Isaac Rochell stepped up.”
Bosa led the Chargers with 99 tackles in 2017 and was seventh in the NFL with 12.5 quarterback sacks.
Gates caught two passes for 16 yards as he began his 16th season with the Chargers.
“It was great to have him out there,” Rivers said. “In a way, it was as if he never left. At the same time, it's like getting something back that you thought was gone forever.'
“I honestly think he has more juice right now than he did at the end of last year, which makes sense because he was able to be fresh all preseason and all training camp.”
Team officials told Gates in April they would not re-sign him after he was replaced by Hunter Henry as the starter for the second game of the 2017 season and Virgil Green was signed as a free agent.
Gates again became part of the Chargers plans after Henry sustained a torn ACL during organized team activities on May 22 that is expected to sideline him for the season.
Gates has caught 114 touchdown passes, the most by a tight end in NFL history.