NFL Wire News

Chargers control playoff fate


SAN DIEGO — Victory Sunday will turn into Victory Monday after the San Diego Chargers pulled off a miracle of their own, then got a little bit of help from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Chargers needed a miracle rally at San Francisco, where they fell behind 28-7 in the third quarter. San Diego prevailed, 38-35, in overtime and suddenly their year is in overdrive. The Chargers control their own fate and for the second time in as many years, can grab a wild-card berth by beating the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17.

This time, it’s at Arrowhead, after the Chiefs were decked by the Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday. The Baltimore Ravens also lost at Houston and the Buffalo Bills fell victim to the Oakland Raiders.

Before diving headlong in preparation for a familiar foe, two off days to toast the victory and rest ailing bodies were ordered by coach Mike McCoy.

“It didn’t look too good there for a while and you all saw it,” McCoy said. “I don’t need to explain all that anymore, but we found a way and that’s what teams have to do.”

The Chiefs beat the Chargers, 23-20, on Oct. 19, the first of a three-game losing streak that nearly sealed San Diego’s fate. The Chargers lost by 14 to Denver and 37-0 to the Dolphins following the Kansas City game.

The Chargers have to win on Sunday to guarantee their playoff ticket. And that seemed like such a wild dream with the 49ers pulling away and the Chargers putting the finishing touches on a season.

Instead they roared back behind Philip Rivers in a game which will go down in Chargers lore.

“We really had our backs to the wall in this one,” said wide receiver Malcom Floyd. “We’ve got the best quarterback in the league.”

Rivers said the attitude in the Chargers’ locker room at halftime is what led to such jubilation afterward.

“I think at halftime I heard the defensive guys talking and on offense, we just said, ‘Look, we don’t know if we can win the game or not, but we’re going to fight like crazy,”‘ he said. “That’s just what we do and who we are. We’re going to go fight like crazy and see what happens.

“We just kind of kept that mantra the whole second half, and kept looking up and kept getting closer and closer and was able to tie it up there late.”

Now if the Chargers can just win their second game in a brutal four-game stretch, there’s at least one game to be played in January.

“We always believe we can win every game no matter what the score is,” left tackle King Dunlap said. “That’s what we did.”

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