Red Zone

Why did Andy Reid call a timeout with 1:28 to play?

Updated: 2013-12-19T21:37:30Z

By RANDY COVITZ

The Kansas City Star

Chiefs coach Andy Reid may have saved some time for San Diego when he called a timeout with 1:28 to play. The Chiefs were trailing 34-31 and were at the Chargers' 5.

It was one thing to call time. But Reid didn’t let more seconds burn off the game clock and play clock before calling a timeout.

“I was just calming the storm and making sure … we needed a touchdown at that point … that we had the right things in,” Reid said.

Quarterback Alex Smith said the timeout was “to make sure we were in the right play. You have to be careful there to rush because you could waste a down. Those downs are so vital, you never know if you’re going to score on the next play. We had to make sure we had the right personnel on the field and the right play called.”

On the first play out of the timeout, Smith threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Bowe for a momentary 38-34 lead.

“I think it was worth it,” Smith said of the timeout. “It obviously came with the touchdown on the next play.”

Jenkins’ big catch

Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, acquired before the start of the season for Jon Baldwin, caught his second pass of the season and first since week three at Philadelphia when he came across the middle for a 22-yard reception.

The play converted a third-and-5 situation at the Kansas City 45 and sustained a drive that ended with a touchdown catch by tight end Anthony Fasano.

“It felt good,” Jenkins said. “It was one of those plays where you don’t know who’s getting the ball, and I happened to be the one.”

Pass-interference party

The Chiefs’ best offensive play during a third-quarter scoring drive was getting three pass-interference calls on Chargers defensive backs.

In one sequence, the Chargers’ Shareece Wright and and Marcus Gilchrist were called for interference on Chiefs wide receiver Donnie Avery on consecutive plays. Two plays later, Richard Marshall was called for interfering with Fasano in the end zone, setting up Jamaal Charles’ 1-yard touchdown run.

Avery was a handful for the Chargers, catching four passes for 91 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown and a 36-yarder.

“He probably should have had another (touchdown),” Smith said. “He had the pass interference, and if I would have thrown a better ball, it would have been a touchdown.”

Who were those guys?

Exactly who are San Diego tight end Ladarius Green, who caught a 60-yard touchdown pass, and Seyi Ajirotutu, who caught the game-winning 26-yarder from Philip Rivers?

Green was the Chargers’ fourth-round pick from Louisiana-Lafayette in 2012 and appeared in just four games as a rookie, catching four passes. He came into Sunday’s game having caught 11 passes, and his 60-yard play was his first NFL touchdown.

Ajirotutu has bounced between San Diego and Carolina since 2010 and came into Sunday’s game with 19 career catches. His only catch Sunday was the game-winning touchdown, his third career TD catch.

“It was the biggest catch of my career,” Ajirotutu said. “I was probably in (the game for) six plays before that and am thankful I could be in for that play. Philip said, ‘Fly on the boundary.’ I know that’s a little tidbit that he usually says that the ball is coming to me.”

Injury report

Outside linebacker Tamba Hali (ankle) left the locker room walking on crutches, and fellow outside linebacker Justin Houston’s right elbow was in a sling.

San Diego running back Ryan Mathews left the game because of a hamstring injury shortly after a goal-line plunge for a touchdown.

Game inactives

The Chiefs played the game with three starters inactive because of injuries — offensive tackle Eric Fisher (shoulder), guard Jon Asamoah (calf) and defensive end Mike DeVito (knee). Also inactive were quarterback Tyler Bray, linebacker Nico Johnson, cornerback Dunta Robinson and center Eric Kush

| Randy Covitz, rcovitz@kcstar.com

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