Chargers survive Chiefs in OT, gain playoff berth
San Diego, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The San Diego Chargers got exactly everything they wished for this holiday season.
Kept alive by a pair of losses earlier in the day, the Chargers rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to post a 27-24 overtime win over Kansas City and nail down the AFC's final wild card spot.
Nick Novak kicked a pair of clutch field goals, the first coming with 3:21 remaining in regulation and the other giving San Diego a 27-24 edge in the extra session, while Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes to help the Chargers outlast a surprisingly competitive Kansas City squad fielding predominantly backups.
San Diego (9-7) remained in contention when both Miami and Baltimore lost prior to kickoff, then got another gift when the Chiefs' Ryan Succop pulled a would-be game-winning 41-yard field goal try wide right with four seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Rivers, who finished 22-of-33 for 229 yards with an interception, began the Chargers' comeback with a 6-yard touchdown toss to Eddie Royal early in the fourth quarter, while Ryan Mathews ran for 144 yards on 24 carries in San Diego's fifth straight triumph to close out the regular season.
The win propels the Chargers into a matchup with AFC North champion Cincinnati in next weekend's Wild Card Round.
Already locked into the conference's No. 5 seed, Kansas City (11-5) rested the majority of its regulars in preparation for next week's playoff clash at Indianapolis. The Chiefs fell to the Colts by a 23-7 score in Kansas City last Sunday.
Knile Davis rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns on 27 attempts in place of star back Jamaal Charles, while Chase Daniel threw for 200 yards and a touchdown on 21-of-30 in his first NFL start filling in for Alex Smith.
12/29 20:03:28 ET