The San Diego Chargers punched their ticket to the postseason with a 27-24 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Everything broke right for the Bolts, who got losses from both the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Here's what we learned:
1. Give the Chargers credit: A month ago they were 5-7 and seemingly playing out the string of another lost season. Four wins later and they're preparing for a wild-card matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. Win or lose, it's a great start to the Mike McCoy/Tom Telesco era.
2. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Ryan Succop missed a 41-yard field-goal attempt with four seconds to play in the fourth quarter, keeping the Chargers alive and possibly leading to a high-definition television being battered beyond repair in the Pittsburgh Steelers' locker room.
3. McCoy didn't play scared. We know this because he called a fake punt on a fourth-and-2 from his own 28 (!) in overtime. Eric Weddle crept just past the first-down marker, then had the ball stripped from his hands and run back to the end zone for what appeared to be -- for a few moments anyway -- a game-ending touchdown for the Chiefs. Instead, officials ruled Weddle's forward progress was stopped. Did we mention the Chargers were lucky?
4. The Chiefs deserve some love here. Kansas City was locked into the AFC's fifth seed, prompting Andy Reid to rest 20 of 22 starters, including the entire defense. That they came within a missed field goal of beating a Chargers team with everything to play for is fairly remarkable.
5. Ryan Mathews completed his long-awaited breakout season with 144 yards on 24 carries. Philip Rivers has gotten plenty of love for his resurgence this season, but the rise of Mathews gave balance to an offense that desperately needed it.The "Around The League Podcast" is now available on iTunes! Click here to listen and subscribe.