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Chargers Battle Back To Top Chiefs

From Derrick Thomas' antics to James Hasty's pass interference calls, penalties are killing the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kansas City had mistake-prone San Diego all but beaten Sunday, but

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  • two big penalties against Hasty set up Charlie Jones' one-handed grab of Craig Whelihan's 1-yard touchdown pass with nine seconds left and the Chargers stunned the Chiefs 38-37.

    Trailing 37-31 and out of timeouts, the Chargers started the final drive at their 37 with 51 seconds left. Hasty clipped the heels of rookie Mikhael Ricks on a long pass play, moving the ball from the 50 to the 13. After Whelihan threw three incompletions, Hasty committed another penalty on the 6-foot-5 Ricks in the end zone, this one on fourth down.

    Whelihan's TD pass was behind Jones, but he reached back with his left hand and pulled in the ball to tie the score at 37-37. John Carney's PAT made the difference, dropping the Chiefs to their sixth straight loss, the worst stretch in coach Marty Schottenheimer's 10 years with the club.

    The loss also dropped the Chiefs (4-7) into sole possession of last in the AFC West. Th Chargers (5-6) won their second straight since Whelihan was promoted to starting quarterback over struggling rookie Ryan Leaf.

    Whelihan was 19-for-37 for 279 yards. Chiefs starter Rich Gannon was 20-for-33 for 304 yards.

    Bam Morris had tied his career-high with three touchdowns for Kansas City. Both teams set season scoring highs.

    On Monday night, the Chiefs embarrassed themselves in a 30-7 home loss to Denver. Thomas committed three of the Chiefs' five personal fouls on a fourth-quarter drive and was suspended for this game. Wayne Simmons committed another, and was waived.

    The Chiefs capitalized on three turnovers to score 13 straight points in the third quarter and take a 27-17 lead. The Chargers had just 3 yards offense that period.

    Jerome Woods intercepted Whelihan's badly underthrown pass on the first play of the second half and returned it 19 yards to the Chargers 42. Cornerback Charles Dimry was called for pass interference against Derrick Alexander in the end zone, moving the ball to the 1. Morris dove over on the next play to put the Chiefs up 21-17.

    Two more Chargers turnovers led to field goals of 26 and 42 yards by Pete Stoyanovich. Punter Louie Aguiar recovered Latario Rachal's fumbled punt return and Chester McGlockton recovered the ball when Whelihan simply dropped it.

    Morris' final TD run, of 3 yards, gave Kansas City a 34-17 lead with 11:46 to play.

    San Diego's Terrell Fletcher, replacing the injured Natrone Means, scored his second TD of the game from 4 yards and Freddie Jones caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Whelihan to make it 37-31. Those scores sandwiched a 50-yard field goal by Stoyanovich.

    The victory atoned for an ugly 23-7 Chargers loss at Kansas City on Sept. 20 when six turnovers -- five by Leaf -- led to 20 Chiefs points.

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