It seems that Christmas finally arrived for the San Diego Chargers. The 11-5 Kansas City Chiefs went on the road to face AFC West rivals the Chargers Sunday, and the Chargers squeaked out a 27-24 overtime win against Kansas City. It was the final regular season game of the 2013 NFL season, and the Chargers were the only team of the two with anything to gain. San Diego walked away with the final AFC playoff spot.
The Chiefs were already locked in to the No. 5 seed going into the playoffs and a win or loss meant little one way or the other. In case any Chargers fans get too big a head over this win, it is widely known that Kansas City benched 20 of their 22 starters, to include all 11 of their defensive players. And the Chargers were barely able to catch up in the fourth quarter and win in overtime.
Kudos to the Chiefs backup squad who exceeded expectations, including quarterback Chase Daniel playing for Alex Smith (and getting one touchdown, plus 21 of 30 passes completed for 200 yards), and running back Knile Davis filling in for Jamaal Charles (and chalking up 81 rushing yards, plus two touchdowns).
One other significant detail of note: there was a missed penalty call during a Kansas City field goal attempt by kicker Ryan Succop in the fourth quarter that would have won the Chiefs the game during regulation time. Merry Christmas, San Diego.
How the outcome of the Chiefs-Chargers game bodes for the two teams going into the playoffs is yet to be seen, but the 9-7 Chargers might be in over their heads.
Next weekend will see the Chiefs go back on the road and up against AFC South Champions, the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts defeated the Chiefs 23-7 at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 16, and the Chiefs may just have learned something from the loss.