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SAN DIEGO 35, KANSAS CITY 34

Chargers Finally Get a Grip

October 14, 2002|From Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — Drew Brees had absolutely no doubt the San Diego Chargers were going to beat the Kansas City Chiefs.

"Seriously," Brees said with a laugh after the Chargers' 35-34 victory Sunday, when they committed five turnovers and had a punt blocked, yet came back to win when Brees threw a two-yard touchdown pass to rookie Reche Caldwell with 14 seconds left.

"I think as many times as we shot ourselves in the foot, to have a chance at the end to win the game, you've got to think there's some kind of destiny involved, some kind of fate," said Brees, who had two passes intercepted, then threw two touchdown passes in the final 8:06.

The victory wasn't secured until Charger linebacker Donnie Edwards -- cut by the Chiefs in March in a salary-cap move -- intercepted Trent Green's desperation pass at the San Diego two-yard line as time expired.

The Chargers (5-1) trailed, 24-14, entering the fourth quarter, before scoring three touchdowns to beat the Chiefs (3-3).

Out of timeouts with 2:24 to play, Brees led the Chargers 71 yards, completing six of seven passes. Caldwell caught the go-ahead touchdown pass by beating cornerback Eric Warfield, who earlier had an interception and recovered a fumble.

While receiver Curtis Conway drew double coverage, Caldwell drew man-to-man coverage. He acted as if he was running a fade route, then stopped, with Warfield running past him. Brees threw a perfect pass, and after making the catch, Caldwell pumped his fist in celebration.

"I couldn't drop it. He hit me right in the chest," said Caldwell, a third-round pick out of Florida whose touchdown was his first in the NFL.

The Chiefs inadvertently helped the Chargers when they called a timeout with 19 seconds left and the Chargers facing third and one at the two. The Chiefs saw 12 players in the Charger huddle, which the referees didn't see.

"We didn't know what defense to call, so we were forced to call time out," Chief Coach Dick Vermeil said.

Brees was 28 for 41 for 319 yards with two touchdowns. Conway, who had two fumbles, had eight catches for 129 yards. LaDainian Tomlinson ran 20 times for 78 yards and caught nine passes for 78 yards.

Green was 17 of 29 for 236 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Priest Holmes was limited to 63 yards rushing in 23 carries, but had seven catches for 96 yards.

Charger Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau started after sitting out last week's loss at Denver because of a sprained ankle, but left early in the third quarter because of a foot injury.

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