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Chiefs' backups nearly knock out Chargers

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The San Diego Chargers are back in the playoffs after a three-year drought.

Few people gave them a chance to get there when they were 5-7, yet everything has fallen their way, even if it took them overtime to beat short-handed Kansas City 27-24 on Sunday.

"It feels like this season is meant to be special," Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle said after another epic, heart-stopping win against the Chiefs gave the Chargers the AFC's final postseason spot. "Whether it happens or not, we'll read that story at the end. But we're in, and no one really thought that could happen."

Nick Novak kicked a 36-yard field goal with 5:30 left in overtime to give San Diego its only lead of the day.

The Chargers, who trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter, then held the Chiefs on downs to win it after they got into San Diego territory.

"We didn't play our best game, but teams that are playoff teams find a way to win when you don't play your best and that's what we did today," quarterback Philip Rivers said after the Chargers (9-7) won their fourth straight and for the fifth time in six games.

They'll play a wild-card game Sunday at AFC North champion Cincinnati, the last team to beat them, 17-10 at San Diego on Dec. 1.

The Chiefs (11-5) had nothing to play for, having already clinched the AFC's No. 5 seed, so they chose to rest 20 of 22 starters. They go into the playoffs having lost five of seven and play Saturday at AFC South champion Indianapolis, which won 23-7 in Kansas City last week.