Chiefs knock Chargers out of playoffs with pass rush

There were no more miracle comebacks left in the San Diego Chargers. Their banged-up offense rang out of gas in Arrowhead Stadium in a 19-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Neither team will make the playoffs.

1. San Diego only had to win this game to make the postseason. They didn't have the offensive line to pull it off. Give this win to the Kansas City pass rush, with Justin Houston recording four sacks. Kansas City overwhelmed San Diego's MASH unit offensive line on their way to seven sacks as a team. The Chargers did not appear to trust their pass protection early, calling a ton of runs. That lack of faith came with good reason.

2. Kansas City needed the Ravens to lose in order to make the playoffs. That didn't happen, but Andy Reid piloted another winning record with the Chiefs finishing 9-7. This game should not have even been in doubt in the fourth quarter, but Reid refused to rely on his effective running game Sunday, too often asking Chase Daniel to throw passes in the red zone. Daniel started off 9 for 9, but wound up looking like a backup in a second half full of offensive mistakes.

3. Ultimately, the Chiefs' red-zone defense saved them. Eddie Royal couldn't come up with two chances for a touchdown late in the game, and then Chargers running back Branden Oliver was stuffed on fourth-and-1 during a crucial fourth-quarter sequence. This Chargers team was not going anywhere even if they made the playoffs with Keenan Allen, Ryan Mathews and a banged-up offensive line rendering Philip Rivers too short handed to survive.

4. Travis Kelce was the key for Daniel's survival Sunday. The tight end led the team with 84 yards, consistently moving the chain with catches against San Diego's linebackers.

5. The Chargers and Chiefs head into the offseason knowing they need more firepower to win consistently. San Diego needs a defense that has a clear identity with a better pass rush. They need to get healthier on offense. The Chiefs, meanwhile, essentially maxed out their potential by going 9-7. They need more offensive weapons.

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