In falling to 7-7 overall with a 3-7 conference record, the Chiefs have virtually no chance of getting any tiebreaker edge, even if a 9-7 team should somehow slip into a wild-card berth.
For that matter, winning their final two games (at Oakland on Saturday, and at home against wild-card contender Jacksonville) to finish with a winning record will be challenge enough.
On an emotional day when they wanted to play well to honor Hunt, the AFL founder and Hall of Fame owner who died last Wednesday night after an eight-year battle with prostate cancer, the Chiefs had a chance to turn this game around with three minutes left in the first half.
Down only 7-3, Kansas City rookie safety Bernard Pollard blocked a San Diego punt from the Chargers 11. But when the Chiefs Derrick Ross touched the ball while failing to field it beyond the line of scrimmage, San Diego recovered and retained possession at its 15.
One play later, LaDainian Tomlinson raced through the Chiefs for an 85-yard touchdown, the biggest chunk of his 199 rushing yards and the second of his two touchdowns to give San Diego a 14-3 lead.
"Ross tried to get it and run with it," coach Herm Edwards said. "If he catches it, we get the ball (deep in the Chargers end). Maybe he even scores. It could have turned the momentum in our favor.
"Instead, on the next play (Tomlinson) breaks the big run. The safety who was supposed to be there on the eight-man front fell down."
The Chiefs closed to within eight points on two second-half occasions, the final coming after a Greg Wesley interception and return to the Chargers 39. Six plays later, Tony Gonzalez just missed a tipped ball on a third-down pass in the end zone. The Chiefs settled for a field goal that cut the San Diego lead to 17-9 with 7:01 to play.
But on San Diego's ensuing possession, quarterback Phillip Rivers, who had thrown for only 51 yards prior to the drive, hit a 46-yard deep post to Vincent Jackson to the Chiefs eight-yard line. The Chiefs defense held San Diego to a second field goal, but now it was a two-score game again with 4:40 remaining.
"I thought our defense hung in there for the most part and gave us a chance, but the big plays hurt us," Edwards said. "But even with all the adversity, after Trent (Green) throws a (second-possession) interception, our defense holds them, or it would have been a blowout early."
"Instead, we hung in there and played through a lot of adversity. At the end, after we kick that field goal (with 7:01 left), it's a one-score game after all that had gone bad for us. If we hold them there, make them punt, we've got a chance with two timeouts left. That's all you can ask of your team on the road against a good football team.
"But then, they hit the big pass, and it's a two-score game again."
--QB Trent Green was under pressure all day, getting sacked six times and having an equal number of passes deflected at the line by a San Diego pass rush that had its way with the Chiefs offensive line. Green had a mere 57.5 passer rating after hitting only 23 of 41 passes for 185 yards with one interception.
--RB Larry Johnson, who had won his head-to-head individual battle with San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson in the last two Chiefs-Chargers games, was held to under 100 yards for only the fifth time this year. Johnson ran for 84 yards on 19 carries with a long of 26 against the Chargers.
--K Lawrence Tynes had his second longest field goal of the season with a 52-yarder that cut the San Diego deficit to 14-6 in the third quarter. Tynes, who was 3-for-3 against the Chargers, kicked a game-winning 53-yard field goal with six seconds remaining to beat the Chargers in Kansas City.
--T Kyle Turley missed a second straight game with a shoulder injury against San Diego. Turley had been playing reasonably well and seemed to have solidified the right tackle position prior to going down with his current injury. John Welbourn, who missed the season's first seven games while serving an NFL suspension, struggled in the last two games against the good defenses of Baltimore and San Diego.
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