SAN DIEGO -- Nick Novak kicked a 36-yard field goal with 5:30 remaining in overtime, lifting the San Diego Chargers to a 27-24 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs and into the postseason.
Kansas City quarterback Chase Daniel threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-15 on the Chiefs' overtime possession, sealing San Diego's win.
Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop missed a 41-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in regulation.
The Chargers (9-7) had momentum even before kickoff. With the Baltimore Ravens losing to the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Jets upending the Miami Dolphins, all the Chargers needed was a victory to earn the AFC's No. 6 playoff seed.
San Diego prevailed, earning a postseason date next weekend in Cincinnati.
A junior varsity version of the Chiefs (11-5) managed to stay close even though 20 of the 22 regular starters didn't start. Kansas City, the AFC's fifth seed, plays at the fourth-seeded Indianapolis Colts next weekend.
San Diego running back Ryan Mathews gained 144 yards and 24 carries. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers completed 22 of 33 passes for 229 yards. He threw for three touchdowns and was intercepted once.
From the onset, it was obvious whatever boost the Chargers received from the results around the league didn't prompt the Chiefs to roll over.
Daniel finished 21-for-30 for 200 yards and a touchdown. Running back Knile Davis netted 81 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.
The Chargers tied the score, 27-27, on Nick Novak's 22-yard field goal with three minutes to play. San Diego pulled to within 24-21 on quarterback Philip Rivers' fourth-quarter, 6-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Eddie Royal.
Kansas City took a 10-point lead in the third quarter when Succop booted a 46-yard field goal.
The Chiefs, behind backup quarterback Daniel, went 80 yards in just five plays on the game's opening possession. Daniel clicked with wide receiver A.J. Jenkins for 48 yards, which preceded Davis going 17 yards up the middle for a touchdown.
The Chargers struck back behind Mathews. He ran for 50 yards to set up a 22-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to wide receiver Ladarius Green.
The Chiefs took a 14-7 lead on a Daniel pass to Dexter McCluster. It went but 2 yards, and it delivered a jolt to the Chargers and their stunned fan base.
The score came courtesy of a Rivers turnover. The Chargers quarterback was trying to hit rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen on an intermediate timing route, but Chiefs cornerback Ron Parker intercepted the pass. It was Rivers' 11th pick of the season.
Rivers found tight end Antonio Gates on a 4-yard touchdown pass to tie the score, 14-14.
Kansas City then rolled to another touchdown, this time with Davis going 2 yards to cap an 86-yard drive and give the Chiefs a 21-14 halftime cushion.
NOTES: The Chargers will face the NFC West next season in the schedule rotation. They had the good fortune of playing the NFC East this year, winning three of four games, falling only to the Washington Redskins. ... The Chargers had one local TV blackout this season. Last year, they had four home games not televised. ... According to reports, the Houston Texans are interested in interviewing Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt for their head-coach opening. ... The Chiefs completed the greatest single-season turnaround in franchise history and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Kansas City went 2-14 last season. ... Chiefs coach Andy Reid, in his first year with Kansas City, is heading to the playoffs for the 10th time in 15 seasons.