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San Diego at Kansas City

Rivers commands winning drive to cap stunning Chargers rally

CBSSports.com wire reports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The San Diego Chargers got lucky. Even better, they've got Philip Rivers.

After their onside kick bounced off Chiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe's chest and Kassim Osgood recovered for San Diego, Rivers needed only four plays Sunday to complete one of the most stirring comebacks of the season.

With 1:13 left, Rivers hit Malcom Floyd with a 4-yard TD pass. Then his 10-yarder to Vincent Jackson with 36 seconds to go lifted the Chargers to a 22-21 victory against the stunned Chiefs, who led 21-3 in the third quarter.

"We never stopped believing," Chargers tackle Marcus McNeill said. "I think (the Chiefs) thought they had the game won when the clock was low in the fourth quarter. But we knew if we got another chance that we were going to go down there and score."

After their try for a two-point conversion failed, the Chargers (6-8) still needed help from the football gods. Aided by a delay-of-game penalty, the Chiefs (2-12) tried a 50-yard field goal on the final play. Connor Barth, who had been 9-for-9 before missing a 34-yarder in the first half, was wide left.

"I'm kind of speechless. Don't know what to say," Barth said. "There's no excuse."

Rivers, who came in with an NFL-best 102.0 passer rating, was 34-for-48 for 346 yards and two touchdowns when his team needed them the most.

But he could hardly bare to watch Barth's attempt at the winner.

"I had a pretty good view and a pretty sick stomach," he said. "I was just thinking, 'There is no way this can happen again.' He certainly had plenty of leg, but just missed it left."

A loss would have officially terminated San Diego's slender playoff hopes. But Rivers said the Chargers, preseason Super Bowl favorites, would not let even a possible Denver victory against Carolina later Sunday dampen the thrill of beating KC.

"There have been so many doubts and we've fallen so short of the expectations," he said. "The way we've bounced back these past two weeks in our division and won says a lot about our guys. It is big for our locker room and team, no matter what plays out the rest of the day."

The Chiefs will have to win their final two games to avoid setting a franchise record for fewest victories in a 16-game season.

"I'm still in utter shock right now," linebacker Rocky Boiman said. "How we can come so close and still somehow let it slip away, it doesn't seem possible."

Losing a 21-3 lead is not even the worst thing that has befallen the Chiefs in this miserable season. Against Tampa Bay, they squandered a 24-3 advantage, a team record.

Bowe, who caught a 1-yard TD pass from Tyler Thigpen, appeared to have the onside kick.

"I think sometimes he takes his eye off the ball," Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. "Those are plays you have to make along the way."

After the onside kick, Rivers' first play produced a 39-yard pass to Vincent Jackson to the 19.

Thigpen threw for one touchdown and ran for another for the Chiefs and was 19-for-28 for 171 yards.

The Chargers had three turnovers and, perhaps more embarrassing, gave up three sacks to the NFL's worst pass rush. Tamba Hali had two sacks and caused two fumbles for a Chiefs defense that hadn't gotten a sack since playing San Diego four games ago.

The three sacks pushed KC's season total to a league-low nine, and the Chiefs need five in their final two games to avoid tying the NFL record for fewest in a season.

Running back Larry Johnson capped a 96-yard drive with a 4-yard TD pass to Tony Gonzalez on KC's first possession.

Patrick Surtain's 50-yard return of an interception set up Thigpen's 3-yard TD in the third period.


  • Larry Johnson is the fifth player to throw a touchdown pass for Kansas City this year and the seventh to throw Tony Gonzalez a TD pass in his career. Johnson is the sixth in team history to throw, run and receive for a TD.
  • Temperatures hovering in the low 60s when early-arriving fans first showed up, had plunged into the 20s by the end of the game.
  • The Chargers beat the Chiefs twice this year by a total of two points.
  • The Chargers have given up five of KC's nine sacks.
Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Some Chargers fans make their way to K.C. and celebrate with Vincent Jackson after the winning touchdown ...
Some Chargers fans make their way to K.C. and celebrate with Vincent Jackson after the winning touchdown ... (AP)


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Related Links
Sun. Dec. 14Final
SD - Pass: P. Rivers (34-48, 346), Rec: V. Jackson (6-89)
KC - Pass: T. Thigpen (19-28, 171), Rec: T. Gonzalez (6-62)
Scoring Summary
TDTony Gonzalez, 4 Yd pass from Larry Johnson (Connor Barth kick is good), 4:59. Drive: 15 plays, 96 yards in 7:56.
TDDwayne Bowe, 1 Yd pass from Tyler Thigpen (Connor Barth kick is good), 2:53. Drive: 9 plays, 54 yards in 5:09.
FGNate Kaeding 32 Yd, 0:11. Drive: 8 plays, 38 yards in 2:42.
TDTyler Thigpen, 3 Yd run (Connor Barth kick is good), 12:35. Drive: 1 play, 3 yards in 0:04.
TDLaDainian Tomlinson, 6 Yd run (Nate Kaeding kick is good), 8:29. Drive: 10 plays, 65 yards in 4:06.
TDMalcom Floyd, 4 Yd pass from Philip Rivers (Philip Rivers 2 Pt. Conversion pass to Chris Chambers failed), 1:13. Drive: 15 plays, 89 yards in 3:42.
TDVincent Jackson, 10 Yd pass from Philip Rivers (Philip Rivers 2 Pt. Conversion pass to Antonio Gates failed), 0:36. Drive: 4 plays, 61 yards in 0:35.
Players of the Game

T. Gonzalez
Rec 6
Yds 62
Avg 10.3
TD 1
San Diego

P. Rivers
Att 48
Comp 34
Yds 346
TD 2
San Diego
P. Rivers34/4834621
L. Tomlinson153917
P. Rivers21209
J. Hester1909
V. Jackson1808
V. Jackson689142
A. Gates778023
M. Floyd567119
L. Tomlinson63509
C. Chambers228018
J. Hester324013
B. Manumaleuna114014
D. Sproles41109
Kansas City
T. Thigpen19/2817111
L. Johnson1/1410
L. Johnson1755017
T. Thigpen1040112
J. Charles4706
T. Gonzalez662116
D. Bowe644121
D. Darling227014
W. Franklin324010
L. Johnson31809
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
CLE 10 Final
PHI 30
NYG 8 Final
DAL 20
NE 49 Final
OAK 26
MIN 35 Final
ARI 14
SEA 23 Final
STL 20
BUF 27 Final
NYJ 31
SF 9 Final
MIA 14
GB 16 Final
JAC 20
DET 21 Final
IND 31
TEN 12 Final
HOU 13
WAS 13 Final
CIN 20
DEN 10 Final
CAR 30
PIT 13 Final
TB 10 Final
ATL 13
NO 24 Final
CHI 27