The San Diego Chargers beat the one-loss Kansas City Chiefs 41-38 to keep their playoff hopes alive. It was the Chiefs first home loss of the season and only their second loss of the year.
The Chiefs’ defense was without outside linebackers Tamba Hali (ankle) and Justin Houston (elbow) for most of the game. The two lead the league with a combined 20 sacks and their presence was missed. Without the two, the Chiefs gave up their first rushing touchdown of the year to Ryan Mathews early in the third quarter to give up their lead. They gave up their second to Danny Woodhead later in the same quarter.
Derek Cox continues to have a rough season in San Diego. He was benched for the third time in four games. He’s given up more yards through the past three games than any other starting cornerback in the league.
On the same drive that Cox was benched, his secondary teammates committed three pass interference penalties (two in the redzone) to essentially give Charles his second touchdown of the day and hand the lead back to the Chiefs. In all, there was 8 lead changes in the game.
Penalties were a problem for the Chargers as a whole. They gave up 91 yards on 9 fouls.
Chiefs’ thought they had iced the game when Alex Smith threw the go ahead touchdown to Dwayne Bowe. Their mistake? Leaving Philip Rivers, who was able to effortlessly move to ball today, 1:24 left in the game. After being taken down for the first and only time by Eric Berry, Rivers threw the game-winning touchdown to Seyi Ajirotutu with 24 seconds left on the clock.
The Chiefs now face a must-win against Denver next week if they still hope to win the AFC West. The Chargers move up to 5-6 and keep their playoff hopes alive. They are currently in a logjam with a couple other teams for the second wildcard spot.