For the fourth straight year (and third in three years under Norv Turner) the Chargers are AFC West champs.
The win was the nine consecutive win for the Chargers, who have all but locked up a number two seed for the playoffs. That means the team would earn a first round bye once the playoffs start.
Sunday afternoon’s game was an emotionally exhaustive loss for the Bengals, who were playing their first game after last week’s death of teammate Chris Henry.
Phillip Rivers passed for 308 yards and two touchdown passes. One of his biggest completions was to Malcolm Floyd, to set up Kaeding’s game winner.
The Chargers got on the scoreboard first on the game’s opening drive. Rivers connected with Antonio Gates on a 3-yard scoring strike to give the Bolts a 7-0 lead.
Down 7-3, Cincinnati took their first lead of the game in the second quarter when Carson Palmer hit Chad Ochocinco on a 49-yard touchdown pass. It was an emotional moment in the game for the Bengal’s wide receiver, who dropped to his knees in tribute to his friend Chris Henry. Television cameras showed Ochocinco wiping tears from his eyes after the play.
The Chargers regained the lead after Rivers hit Vincent Jackson on a 21-yard touchdown pass putting the Chargers ahead 14-10.
Cincinnati got a field goal just before halftime to make the score 14-13 San Diego at the half.
The second half turned into a defensive battle, with both teams exchanging possessions, until a Quentin Jammer interception.
Two plays later, Rivers hit Jackson on a 34-yard scoring strike giving the Chargers a 21-10 lead.
Nate Kaeding’s 33-yard field goal gave the Chargers a 24-13 lead with 1:02 left in the third quarter.
But the Bengals weren’t ready to call it a day. After an interception, Palmer hit Laveranues Coles on 2-yard touchdown strike. Palmer’s 2-point conversion run made it 24-21 with 12 minutes left to play.
Shayne Graham hit a 34-yard field goal to tie the game with 54-seconds left to tie the game 24-24. It would set the stage for Kaeding's dramatic game winner.