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Chargers Beat Chiefs 27-24 in OT, Headed to Playoffs

By Annie Heilbrunn
|  Monday, Dec 30, 2013  |  Updated 6:48 AM PDT
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Chargers Beat Chiefs in OT, Headed to Playoffs

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Danny Woodhead celebrates a 27-24 overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs

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For the first time since 2009, the Chargers are going to the playoffs.

"I can't even talk about it," said nose tackle Cam Thomas after the game, grinning. "Anything is possible. Can't count nobody out."

Sunday, against a Kansas City Chiefs team that sat almost every starter, the Chargers did what was necessary. They won 27-24.

They did it in overtime, after Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop failed to make a 41-yard field goal as the clock died down in regulation.

"It just gave us a second chance," said right tackle D.J. Fluker. "We just had to go out there and execute and we wanted it bad enough and we went out there and took it."

Everything that had to go right … did. Six things, to be exact. The Dolphins and Ravens lost two consecutive games and thus, their chance at the playoffs.

"Everybody in the locker room knew what happened around the league," center Nick Hardwick said. "We watched the games, and we all knew what was riding on this game."

The Chargers had to take care of their own business.

It wasn't pretty, though. For much of the game, the Chargers veterans were beat up by the Kansas City reserves, who seemed to control the game until the fourth quarter.

"Coach McCoy told us to go out there and keep our poise, and something is gonna break," Fluker said of McCoy's speech to the team at halftime.

The Chiefs took an early lead, scoring in under two minutes on their first drive of the game.

Running back Ryan Mathews broke out on a 34-yard run to get the Chargers into Chiefs territory on the next drive, and San Diego scored a touchdown on a pass from Philip Rivers to Ladarius Green to tie the game.

An interception off Philip Rivers on the next drive led to a Chiefs touchdown, and they took the lead with five minutes to go in the first quarter. But the Chargers answered back with a touchdown on their next possession -- a pass from Rivers to Antonio Gates -- and again, the game was tied. But the Chiefs came back to score with a touchdown before halftime, and the Chargers found themselves behind Kansas City team as they headed into the locker rooms.

"Nobody panicked," Rivers said. "We just kept going."

The Chiefs scored a field goal in the third quarter, making it a two-score game.

The Chargers closed the gap in the fourth quarter with a six-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to wide receiver Eddie Royal.

"When we came within three, I felt pretty good," Rivers said. "I was sick when we didn't score [down there] again, because a touchdown would have won it probably."

A field goal in the fourth quarter made it a tied game, and Kansas City was primed to win it with one  more field goal as time expired, but Succop missed and the game went to overtime. Nick Novak kicked a field goal and the Chiefs were unable to score on the next drive.

"There's not a word to describe how I'm feeling," Corey Liuget said after the game. "My first playoffs, ever. It's a feeling that money can't buy. It feels good."

Added running back Danny Woodhead: "There were a lot of highs and lows, but we got in. That's all that matters."

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