The Los Angeles Chargers will open their 2018 season Sunday at StubHub Center, trying to end an eight-game losing streak to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chargers have lost four of their past five openers, including a 24-21 loss at Denver last season, where they appeared to tie the score in the final seconds, but the Broncos called a time out just before rookie Younghoe Koo kicked a 44-yard field goal.
Koo’s second kick was blocked with one second left.
Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, a Pro Bowl selection in 2017, will miss the game because of an injured left foot.
“He had a little bit of a setback on Wednesday,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “It’s a different injury, but it’s going to be week-to-week. We just don’t know yet.”
Bosa did not play in the preseason because of an earlier foot injury.
Bosa led the Chargers with 99 tackles in 2017 and was seventh in the NFL with 12.5 quarterback sacks.
Bosa will be replaced in the starting lineup by Isaac Rochell, a 2017 seventh-round draft choice who played on 52 plays on defense over three games last season.
“I’m very confident in Isaac,” Lynn said. “Isaac had a great camp.”
The Chargers defense will be facing a Kansas City offense that includes the NFL’s leading rusher in 2017, Kareem Hunt. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes will be playing his second NFL regular-season game.
“I think he has a chance to be really good,” Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “I think if you look at the history of (Chiefs) coach (Andy) Reid’s offenses, the quarterbacks have really thrived in it.
“His (Reid’s) system, I think, fits his (Mahomes’) skill set very well.
Record-setting tight end Antonio Gates is expected to play for the Chargers. He signed a one-year contract last Sunday to return to the team he has played with since 2003.
“It’s good to have Antonio back,” offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said. “He brings a lot of things to the table besides being a good player. The guys love him. He’s a tremendous leader. It’s hard to say this, but it didn’t feel like he missed a beat.”
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.
In the second quarter, 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Beathard will be inducted as the 39th member of the Chargers Hall of Fame.
Beathard, an El Segundo High School alumnus, was the San Diego Chargers general manager from 1990-99 and built the franchise’s lone team to reach the Super Bowl.
Members of the 1994 Charger team will accept the Chargers Hall of Fame trophy on Beathard’s behalf.
Stan Humphries, the Chargers starting quarterback in 1994, will serve as the honorary cannon firer to mark the start of the game.
The national anthem will be sung by 16-year-old recording artist Skylar Stecker while 150 members of all branches of the military will hold a full-field American flag.
A C-17 from March Air Force Base will conduct a military flyover following the national anthem.
Former U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. John Paul Pena will be honored as the Chargers Military Hero of the Week. Pena served eight years in the Marine Corps, including deployments to Kuwait and Iraq.
For the sixth time in the past seven seasons, the Chargers will be wearing white jerseys with white pants for their home opener. The Chargers won four of their final five home openers in San Diego wearing white jerseys with white pants.
They wore white jerseys with navy pants in last season’s home opener, a 19-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Each week of a Chargers home game, fans will receive a 20 percent discount on a select item of the game that matches the team’s gameday colors.
The Chiefs roster includes two players who played on the high school level in Los Angeles County — offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz (Palisades) and receiver De’Anthony Thomas (Crenshaw). Reid is an alumnus of John Marshall High in Los Feliz.
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