The Chiefs and Chargers have been doing battle since 1960 and this Sunday’s game will be the 89th meeting between these two original AFL teams. The Chiefs lead the all-time series with a record of 47-40-1, including victories in the last seven games played at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs and Chargers have only met in the playoffs once, with the Chargers coming out on top, but they have played in many memorable games. So take a trip down memory lane with me and relive some of their great games.
2000 Regular Season
Chargers 17, Chiefs 16
November 26, 2000 – Qualcomm Stadium
Despite committing five turnovers, including two interceptions by Ryan Leaf, the Chargers still found a way to win their first game of the season.
“This gets us out of the history books,” a relieved coach Mike Riley said after the game, stopping their season-opening losing streak at 11.
The Chargers were spared a dirty dozen losses, thanks to John Carneys 52-yard field goal with 2:14 left.
San Diego’s defense then went all-out as Kansas City got one last shot behind an ineffective Warren Moon, who turned 44 eight days earlier. Safety Michael Dumas raced in and sacked Moon on third down, then punched his fists into the air.
After Moon’s fourth-down pass sailed incomplete with 1:10 to play, linebacker Junior Seau fell to his knees at midfield and stayed there for an extra moment, relieved that the ugliness that made the Chargers a national joke was finally over.
The loss was the Chiefs fourth in a row and dropped them to 5-7. San Diego would not win another game and would finish the season a 1-15.
1993 Regular Season
Chiefs 28, Chargers 24
December 19, 1993 – Arrowhead Stadium
Joe Montana’s first pass of the game was picked off, Marcus Allen fumbled on the Chiefs’ next possession, and after the Chargers scored on the first play of the second quarter, Kansas City trailed, 17-0. Instead of giving up, the Chiefs sucked it up and played a gritty, resolved game the rest of the way to win, 28-24.
“The game today was not won by talent,” Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer said afterward. “It was not won by coaching, certainly. It was won by people with determination. Something in their hearts said, I am not going to be denied.”
While the offense methodically worked the Chiefs back into the game, the defense shut down the Chargers. Twice in the fourth quarter the Chargers were stopped short of scoring.
The victory put the Chiefs at 10-4 and in first place in the AFC West which they would go on to win by defeating Seattle two weeks later.
1992 AFC Wild Card Playoff Game
Chargers 17, Chiefs 0
January 2, 1993 – Jack Murphy Stadium
The Chiefs defeated the Chargers twice in the regular season, but when it mattered most Kansas City couldn’t find its offense and made an early exit from the playoffs.
After a scoreless first half, the Chargers dominated the third and fourth quarters to win, 17-0.
The Chiefs gained only 61 yards rushing, a total for them that almost always spelled defeat. Quarterback Dave Krieg threw two interceptions and Kansas City never really came close to scoring in the game, while San Diego pounded the middle of the Chiefs’ defensive line for 192 yards rushing.
“For some strange reason, each year you say, ‘This is the year. This is the year. This is the year it’s going to happen,’” the Chiefs’ Kevin Ross said. “It hasn’t happened. Is something wrong?”
“We have not been able to do the things that we have set as our very specific goals,” head coach Marty Schottenheimer said of his team’s failure in the playoffs. “Until we do that, we’re always going to be frustrated.”
1989 Regular Season
Chargers 20, Chiefs 13
December 17, 1989 – Arrowhead Stadium
Using a bruising running game and a smothering defense, the Chargers marched into Arrowhead Stadium and crushed the Chiefs’ playoff dreams. They bulldozed their way to 219 yards rushing, 176 by Marion Butts, and won, 20-13. The loss eventually eliminated the Chiefs from any chance of making the playoffs.
Everything seemed to work for the Chargers, but for the Chiefs vaunted running game, very little did. Christian Okoye constantly found his path blocked, holes jammed. Chiefs quarterback Steve DeBerg was ineffective because of the chilling 18-degree weather and completed just 14 of 33 passes.
The Chiefs had one final opportunity to tie the game, driving from their own 36 yard line to the San Diego 19. DeBerg’s next pass into the end zone was intercepted, ending the Chiefs’ chances and the game.
1988 Regular Season
Chargers 24, Chiefs 23
October 4, 1988 – Arrowhead Stadium
A controversial penalty cost the Chiefs. A penalty that everyone, except the official, thought didn’t happen. The result led to defeat for Kansas City, and San Diego left Arrowhead Stadium with a 24-23 win.
With 1:10 left in the game and the Chargers at the Chiefs’ nine-yard line, San Diego quarterback Babe Laufenberg was hit by Kansas City linebacker Tim Cofield as he released a pass over the middle. The ball fluttered and was picked off by Dino Hackett. Cofield was called for roughing the passer, negating the interception. Two plays later Laufenberg threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to win the game.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Cofield said of the penalty. “I didn’t hit him with my head…I didn’t hit him in the head…I didn’t hit him late.”
After the game, Laufenberg agreed with Cofield. “It wasn’t a late hit,” he said.
The loss dropped the Chiefs to 1-3, and was the start of an eight-game winless streak.
Other Memorable Moments In This Series
December 22, 2002- Trent Green and Marc Boerigter hook-up for a 99-yard touchdown pass.
October 9, 1995- Chiefs rookie Tamarick Vanover became the first player in league history to win a game in overtime on a punt return with an 86-yard return on Monday Night Football.
September 6, 1992- Chiefs cornerback Kevin Ross intercepted a pass and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown.
December 22, 1985- Wide receiver Stephone Paige set a then-NFL record with 309 receiving yards. The mark is no longer in the NFL record books, but it still remains the single-game receiving mark for the Chiefs.