In a nailbiter finish the Chargers come up with the win at Arrowhead beating the Chiefs 41-38.
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The Chargers won the toss and opted to defer, bringing Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense up first. After a questionable pass interference call against Shareece Wright, the Bolts forced a punt after a third down sack by Thomas Keiser. The Chargers went three and out after the refs ruled Keenan Allen was short of the first down marker. Head Coach Mike McCoy challenged the call, believing his forward momentum took him past the sticks, but the call was confirmed and San Diego punted. The Chargers forced a punt of their own when Reggie Walker, starting at outside linebacker, sacked the elusive Smith on third down. A 29-yard completion on 3rd-and-4 to Keenan Allen put the Bolts in the red zone. However, the Bolts drive only got as far as the 11-yard line, and Nick Novak came in to put the Chargers ahead 3-0 with a 30-yard field goal. Kansas City responded with its best drive of the game to this point, taking a 7-3 lead on a 32-yard touchdown to Donnie Avery on 3rd-and-11. Back with the ball, Allen hauled in a 15-yard gain on a crossing route on 3rd-and-5 for a first down as the game’s first 15 minutes came to a close.
After initially given a first down on an Antonio Gates catch, the Chiefs reviewed the play and the challenge was upheld that the tight end was just short of the sticks. With an inch to go, Ryan Mathews picked up nine yards. Unfortunately, the Bolts didn’t get any further and Mike Scfires punted down to the KC six yard line. After picking up two first downs, the Chargers defense bunkered down and forced a Dustin Colquitt punt. The offense wasn’t able to muster much as a pair of penalties backed them up into a tough situation, which led to a punt without a first down. Starting at the San Diego 46-yard line, Smith hit Avery for 36 yards down to the seven yard line, and one play later, Jamaal Charles ran into the end zone for a 14-3 lead. The Bolts were undeterred though, going 80 yards in 11 plays over 2:47 to cut the lead to 14-10 on a Danny Woodhead 11-yard catch. Allen was the star of the drive, as he eclipsed 104 yards on eight catches on the game.
San Diego started the second half with the ball, and after failing to gain a yard on their first two downs, Rivers hit Eddie Royal for 54 yards down to the 18 yard line. Mathews carried the ball down to the one yard line, then soared over the goal line on the next play to take a 17-14 lead. The Chiefs came back strong, moving the ball down to the one-yard line on three pass interference calls against the Bolts secondary. Kansas City retook the lead on Charles' second touchdown of the game, giving them a 21-17 advantage. Ryan Succop’s kickoff went out of bounds, setting San Diego up at their own 40-yard line. It looked like the Chargers hit Ladarius Green for a big 35-yard gain, but Jeromey Clary was called for an illegal man downfield. Instead, the Bolts ended up punting away two plays later. On defense, the Chargers forced a third down, where the ball was tipped in the air by Shareece Wright and picked off by Marcus Gilchrist, who returned it to KC’s 16-yard line. After Rivers hit Green for a gain of 13 to the three-yard line, Woodhead powered his way into the end zone for his second score of the game, giving the Chargers a 24-21 lead. On the ensuing drive, Kansas City managed to make their way into San Diego territory on a big third down catch and run for 22 yards to A.J. Jenkins. Two plays later, Smith found Anthony Fasano to retake the lead, 28-24. On the Chargers first play from scrimmage, Rivers hit Royal for a 24-yard gain. That was followed by a 20-yarder to Allen down to the Kansas City 28-yard line. Ronnie Brown followed that up with two runs to bring up a 2nd-and-6 from the 11-yard line to end the quarter.
A third down catch by Royal made it 1st-and-goal from the four-yard line, but the Bolts weren’t able to punch it in, settling for a 30-yard Novak field goal to make it a one point game, 28-27. The Chiefs moved the ball down to the eight-yard line quickly on a 46-yard run by Charles. However, the Bolts defense came up big by limiting the damage to a field goal, giving KC the 31-27 lead. On the ensuing drive, the Chargers faced third down when Rivers hit Ladarius Green who took it 60 yards to the house for his first career touchdown, giving San Diego a 34-31 edge. Once again the Chargers defense came up big forcing the Chiefs to punt. Unfortunately the Chargers offense was also forced to punt putting the Chiefs in good field position only needing a field goal to tie it up but instead Smith marched the Chiefs all the way down the field ending in a touchdown pass to Dwayne Bowe to put the Chiefs up 38-34. At the two minute warning the Chargers offense had one more shot to put together a touchdown ending drive. That they did , as Rivers hit Seyi Ajirotutu for the touchdown and the Chargers overcome the Chiefs at Arrowhead 41-38.
Down by four with 31 seconds to go, the Chargers had no choice but to get into the end zone. On 2nd-and-15 they did just that. Philip Rivers dropped back and floated the ball perfectly to Seyi Ajirotutu who came down with it as he hit the ground. The score gave the Chargers a 41-38 lead with just over 20 seconds remaining as they left Arrowhead Stadium victorious.
It was Over When…
The Chiefs were in desperation mode down three with no time remaining on the clock. Dwayne Bowe lateralled to Hemingway, who was taken down by Eric Weddle at the Kansas City 38-yard line. The ball popped loose and Weddle came away with it to secure the win.
Play of the Game
Could there be any other play than Rivers’ touchdown to Ajirotutu? See the turning point for more information.
Stat of the Game
Philip Rivers had his fourth game over 390 passing yards, tied with Joe Montana and Dan Marino for most in a single season.
“An outstanding team win. It’s been a tough couple weeks. We’ve had some difficult losses, but the true character of our football team came out today. Give the players, coaches and everyone in the organization a lot of credit for battling through and doing an outstanding job.” – Head Coach Mike McCoy
“This was one of those you’ll never forget, that’s for sure….It was just an unbelievable team effort –Quarterback Philip Rivers
“That was an all-timer. That’s a game that I’ll never forget.” – Center Nick Hardwick
“Just to have a guy come off the bench (Ajirotutu) and make a play, that’s what we’re all about. Guys stepping up and having that opportunity.” – Wide Receiver Keenan Allen
“(The offense’s last drive) was amazing. It was a vintage, classic all time game. One of my top favorites to be a part of. We obviously didn’t play very well on defense, but the Chiefs made some great plays. But talk about a tough, gritty character. The character of this team to never quit to go down there and finish it off where we stumbled a few times this year, that can really be a building block for the rest of the season.” – Safety Eric Weddle
Odds and Ends
Philip Rivers finished the game 27 of 39 for 392 yards and three touchdowns for a 127.3 passer rating.
Keenan Allen led all receivers with nine catches for 124 yards.
Ladarius Green scored his first career touchdown on a 60-yard catch and run.
Antonio Gates became the fourth tight end in NFL history with 700 catches and also eclipsed the 9,000 yard mark
Ryan Mathews paced all rushers with 14 carries for 55 yards.
Donald Butler led the way with seven tackles.
The Bolts posted a season-high 41 points on a Chiefs team who had given up only 13.8 points per game, second best in the league.
San Diego totaled 491 yards on the day, with 387 through the air and 104 on the ground.
Inactives for the Chargers include: Brad Sorensen, Lavelle Hawkins, Brandon Taylor, Willie Smith, King Dunlap, Kwame Geathers and Jarret Johnson.