Final

Chargers 34

(8-3, 4-2 away)

Chiefs 31

(3-8, 2-4 home)

1:00 PM ET, November 28, 2004

 

1 2 3 4 T
SD 7 7 3 1734
KC 7 10 0 1431

Chargers get 1st win in Kansas City in 8 tries

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Strip away the great plays and the wild action and San Diego's 34-31 victory over Kansas City is reduced to a simple fact -- big plays.

The revitalized Chargers (8-3) showed why they keep winning and the distraught Chiefs (3-8) showed why they continue to lose. San Diego made the big plays Sunday, got expert quarterbacking from Drew Brees and let tight end Antonio Gates and running back LaDainian Tomlinson carry most of the load.

Allen's Analysis

Eric Allen

Chargers at Chiefs: Why have opposing defenses been unable to stop Antonio Gates?

Gates is a classic matchup problem for defenses because of his size and athletic ability. He's a huge target in the end zone for QB Drew Brees. There isn't a linebacker in the league who can cover him and teams can't put a safety or cornerback on him because of the potential for penalties. More and more we're going to see teams try to do what Oakland did last week. They started off covering him with a linebacker then switched to a safety. By the end of the game they had their best cover guy, Charles Woodson, on him.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders. He's a regular contributor to Insider.

The Chiefs gave up big plays, sustained costly penalties and turned the ball over at the worst possible time.

"Everybody got their money's worth today," said San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer, whose Chargers were a league-worst 4-12 last year. "It was quite an exciting game."

Nate Kaeding, set up by Donnie Edwards' interception of Trent Green's pass, made up for missing two field-goal attempts with a tiebreaking 43-yarder with 2:24 left.

A few minutes earlier, Brees' 11-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Gates tied it 31-31 and capped a 71-yard drive that saw the Chargers overcome four penalties, including one that nullified Gates' 51-yard gain. Making it possible was Kassim Osgood's 65-yard run-and-catch on second-and-22 from the Chargers' 19.

"Kassim Osgood made what, in my mind, is as fine a play as I've seen in my entire career in football," Schottenheimer said.

Even more memorable for Chiefs fans was the Dante Hall show. The little return specialist, who took the NFL by storm last year when he returned five kicks for touchdowns, sped 77 yards with the second-half kickoff and was just a few steps from the end zone when the ball inexplicably popped out of his hands.

Jerrell Pippens recovered for San Diego on the 5, and a few minutes later Kaeding's 25-yarder tied it 17-17.

But in the fourth quarter, after Brees' 18-yard TD pass to Gates gave the Chargers a 24-23 lead, Hall took the ensuing kickoff, burst up and the middle and fled 96 yards to the end zone, tightly holding onto the ball all the way.

"The guys did a heck of a job blocking," said Hall. "There were two or three ways I could have gone."

He refused to make an excuse for dropping the ball on the first long return.

"I'm running and the ball came out of my hands," he said. "Those things cannot happen when you're fighting to keep your playoff hopes alive."

Kansas City seems headed for its worst season since 1988.

"Something's not right this year," said Chiefs tackle Willie Roaf. "It's been going on all year."

After Kaeding's 25-yarder tied it at 17, things started to get crazy.

Derrick Blaylock scooted 22 yards for a touchdown and a Kansas City lead that stayed at 23-17 when Lawrence Tynes missed the point-after try.

Back came the Chargers, who have won five in a row and seven of eight, to forge a 23-23 tie when Gates beat backup safety Willie Pile on an 18-yard touchdown pass. Pile was playing in place of safety Greg Wesley, who injured his hamstring during pregame warmups.

"I think Willie Pile played pretty well overall," said Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil.

After Kaeding's extra point made it 24-23, Hall brought the crowd to its feet with his first touchdown return of the year, and then Green hit Eddie Kennison for the 2-point conversion and the Chiefs led 31-24.

But helped by Osgood's big play, the Chargers tied it on Brees' 11-yard pass to Gates.

"Drew saw me open and he made a great throw," said Osgood.

Brees was 28-for-37 for 378 yards and two touchdowns and has thrown 18 touchdown passes and only one interception in his last eight games. Gates had seven catches for 92 yards and Tomlinson had 46 yards rushing and 57 yards on 10 receptions.

"Personally, I just feel more confident each time we go out and we win," said Brees. "It just keeps giving me momentum."

Tynes' 28-yard field goal with 45 seconds left gave the Chiefs a 17-14 halftime lead.

Tomlinson scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards in the first half.

Blaylock, starting for the injured Priest Holmes for the third straight game, scored on a 5-yard run in the first quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, Kansas City drove 94 yards in 13 plays capped by Larry Johnson's 6-yard run.

Game notes


The Chiefs totaled 310 yards, the first time in four games they've failed to go over 400. ... The Chiefs are 12-3 at home against the Chargers since 1990. ... Gates' two touchdowns gave him 11, breaking Kellen Winslow's record for San Diego tight ends.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

FOURTH QUARTERSDKC
kcTD10:13Touchdown(Trent Green pass to Eddie Kennison for 2pt conversion)
Drive info: 1 plays, 0 yds, 0:00
2431
FIRST QUARTERSDKC
sdTD7:33LaDainian Tomlinson, 1 yd run
Drive info: 3 plays, 57 yds, 0:28
60
sd7:33
Drive info: 3 plays, 57 yds, 0:28
70
THIRD QUARTERSDKC
sdFG7:27Nate Kaeding 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 43 yds, 2:12
1717
FIRST QUARTERSDKC
kcTD4:38Derrick Blaylock, 5 yd run
Drive info: 6 plays, 60 yds, 2:23
76
kc4:38
Drive info: 6 plays, 60 yds, 2:23
77
FOURTH QUARTERSDKC
sdTD10:37Touchdown
Drive info: 6 plays, 71 yds, 3:58
2323
sdTD6:41Touchdown
Drive info: 5 plays, 69 yds, 3:13
3031
sdFG2:28Nate Kaeding 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 8 yds, 2:22
3431
sd10:13
Drive info: 6 plays, 71 yds, 3:58
2423
sd6:41
Drive info: 5 plays, 69 yds, 3:13
3131
kcTD14:40Derrick Blaylock, 22 yd run
Drive info: 9 plays, 84 yds, 4:06
1723
SECOND QUARTERSDKC
sdTD3:25LaDainian Tomlinson, 3 yd run
Drive info: 12 plays, 65 yds, 5:35
1314
kcTD9:28Larry Johnson, 6 yd run
Drive info: 13 plays, 88 yds, 5:50
713
sd3:25
Drive info: 12 plays, 65 yds, 5:35
1414
kcFG0:49Lawrence Tynes 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 58 yds, 2:17
1417
kc9:28
Drive info: 13 plays, 88 yds, 5:50
714