It wasn’t pretty….it didn’t look impressive….but the San Diego Chargers are going to the playoffs after coming back to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 27-24 in overtime to clinch the AFC’s final playoff spot.
For all the bad luck that has followed the Chargers this season and throughout the franchises history….today lady luck was on the Chargers side. Everything went the Chargers way today as the Dolphins lost to the Jets 20-7 and the Bengals beat the Ravens 34-17 to give the Chargers the opportunity to clinch the AFC’s playoffs final wildcard spot.
Then the Kansas City Chiefs gave the Chargers a late Christmas present as the rested almost all of their starters today. Officially 20 of the Chiefs 22 starters were inactive today.
On offense the Chiefs rested nine of their eleven offensive starters, including Quarterback Alex Smith and Running Back Jamal Charles. Chase Daniel will start for Alex Smith and Knile Davis will start for Jamaal Charles. On defense the Chiefs rested everyone of their defensive starters today against the Chargers.
Yet despite the Chiefs resting their starters, it took a comeback late in the 4th quarter and overtime to defeat the Chiefs backups.
The Chiefs took the early lead 7-0 on a Knile Davis 17 yard touchdown run. The Chargers would tie it up at 7-7 on their first drive of the game as Phillip Rivers connected with Ladarius Green for a 22-yard touchdown. The Chiefs would retake the lead to end the first quarter as Chase Daniel hit Dexter McCluster for the 2-yard touchdown to give the Chiefs the lead 14-7.
The Chargers would tie up the game at 14-14 to start the 2nd quarter as Phillip Rivers hit Antonio Gates for a 4-yard Touchdown.
The Chiefs would retake the lead right before the half as Davis punched it in for a 2 yard touchdown run to give the Chiefs the lead 21-14 at the half, as the Chargers fans booed the team off the field.
The Chargers offense continued to struggle to start the 3rd quarter as they went three in-out three straight times. Ryan Succop extended the Chiefs lead on 46-yard FG to give the Chiefs the lead 24-14 at the end of the third quarter.
The Chargers would begin their comeback to start the 4th quarter as Rivers hit Royal for a 6-yard touchdown to cut the Chiefs lead to 24-21. Nick Novak would tie the game at 24-24 on a 22-yard FG with 3:21 left in the game. The Chargers defense would once again be unable to contain the Chiefs backups, as they stormed down the field to the Chargers 21 yard line for the chance at at a 41 yard game winning field goal.
Then as if the ghost of Nate Kaeding entered Succop’s body as he missed the 41 yard field goal to send the game into overtime.
The Chargers would win the toss start overtime and elect to receive. The Chargers offense would go three and out on their first drive of overtime, until on 4th and two the Chargers attempted a fake punt in Chiefs territory as Eric Weddle rushed the ball up the middle to get the first down. Novak would go on to nail a 36-yard FG and give the Chargers the lead 27-24 and the win as the Chargers defense stopped the Chiefs on their next drive to end the game.
The San Diego Chargers are now the 6th team under current playoff format to make playoffs after starting 5-7 or worse through 12 games.
The Chargers will now face the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC wild card round next Sunday.