Weddle’s INT saves day, Chargers beat Chiefs 20-17By BERNIE WILSON, AP Sports Writer Monday, Sep 26, 2011
“In the end, we made the play and they didn’t,” Weddle said after his interception at midfield with 55 seconds left preserved the Chargers’ 20-17 victory over the winless Chiefs on Sunday. “It’s huge. We definitely didn’t want to lose this game.”
The Chiefs (0-3), who last year ended the Chargers’ four-year run as AFC West champions, got the ball back at their 33 with 1:26 left after Rivers was stuffed on fourth-and-1 at the Kansas City 34. Out of timeouts, Cassel threw for 23 yards to Leonard Pope(notes) to get into Chargers territory. On the next play, Cassel, under pressure and backpedaling, threw the ball right to the blitzing Weddle, who signed a $40 million contract in the offseason.
“Those were the highs and lows of football,” Cassel said. “One minute you feel good with a 20-yard gain close to field goal range and great position, and then on the next play the game’s over.”
“I knew something was up,” Weddle said. “That’s why I stopped. I knew the ball was coming my way. I read the play, read the quarterback and he threw it right there.”
Said Cassel: “It was a screen pass. You try to keep your head downfield. When I swung back around I thought I could get it in there to Dexter. Obviously it’s one I’d like to have back.”
McCluster thought the Chiefs could make a big play on the screen.
“I thought he was blitzing, but at the last second he saw it and backed up, which led him to the interception,” he said.
The Chiefs looked awful in the first half but the Chargers let them hang around.
The Chargers responded with an 80-yard drive capped by Mathews’ run to the right side for a 10-point lead.
After the teams traded field goals, the Chiefs pulled to 20-17 when Cassel found Pope on a 1-yard scoring pass with 4:58 to play.
The Chiefs were out of timeouts, and all the Chargers had to do was run out the clock. They went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Kansas City 34, and Rivers was stopped to give the Chiefs a final chance.
Mathews ran 21 times for 98 yards. Rivers was 24 of 38 for 266 yards, his lowest total of the season. Cassel was 17 of 24 for 176 yards, two touchdowns and the one INT.
Rivers has thrown two interceptions in each of the first three games. Kendrick Lewis(notes) picked off Rivers and returned it 50 yards. The Chiefs got 15 more yards for unsportsmanlike conduct after a referee ran into a Chargers player on the sideline who was too close to the field. The Chiefs got to the San Diego 11 before a holding penalty pushed them back, and Ryan Succop(notes) was wide right on a 38-yard field goal attempt.
“Certainly I need to play better, and I’m going to work like crazy to do that,” Rivers said. “But 2-1 is what’s important.”
“We’re not in sync in terms of playing the entire game with the rhythm that we’d like. That’s going to come,” Turner said.