For Pete's Sake

History suggests that Saturday’s Chiefs-Chargers game will be close

The Chiefs-Chargers match-up has produced some amazing games since 2010

Since 2010, every time the Chargers have come to Arrowhead the game has been one to remember.
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Since 2010, every time the Chargers have come to Arrowhead the game has been one to remember.

Ask a Chiefs fan to list the team’s biggest AFC rival in order, and the Chargers would almost always finish third.

While fans don’t usually get as hyped up for the Chargers coming to town (compared with the Raiders or Broncos), the series has produced some phenomenal games at Arrowhead Stadium since 2010.

Four of the last seven Chiefs-Chargers games at Arrowhead have gone down to a possession in the final minute or overtime, five have been decided by a touchdown or less and the average margin of victory has been 7.9 points.

Here is a quick look at those games (the video above has more details on each contest):

2010: Chiefs 21, Chargers 14

The Chargers had more yards (389 to 197) and first downs (18 to 9), but the Chiefs got a 94-yard punt return from Jamaal Charles and a 56-yard run by Jamaal Charles and won on a rainy Monday night. Philip Rivers drove the Chargers to the Chiefs’ 4-yard line in search of a potential tying score, but his final pass went incomplete through the end zone.

THE QUOTE: “The fans tonight, what a great energy out there. And this is how I visualize Arrowhead and it’s because of those people who were out there through some pretty difficult conditions. it didn’t look like too many were shying away from it.” — Chiefs coach Todd Haley

2011: Chiefs 23, Chargers 20, OT

Do you believe in Halloween miracles? The Chargers trailed 20-12 in the fourth quarter, but tied the game on a Curtis Brinkley run and a two-point conversion. They got the ball back and drove into range for a winning field goal when Rivers fumbled a snap. Andy Studebaker recovered for the Chiefs, and kicker Ryan Succop won it in overtime, making for a memorable Monday night.

THE QUOTE: “It was not pretty by any stretch of the imagination. “But at the same time I really don’t believe that matters right now to the guys (in the Chiefs’ locker room).” — Haley

2012: Chargers 37, Chiefs 20

This is the worst game on this list. The Chargers led 17-0 after the first quarter and 27-6 at halftime and rolled to an easy win.

THE QUOTE: “I told the team that it was bad football ... but we have a game to play next week, and we have to pull together and stay together and not point fingers. It was everybody involved, coaches and players. Everybody associated was bad today, and that’s how we’re going to have to look at it … .” — Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel

2013: Chargers 41, Chiefs 38

There were eight lead changes, including three in the final 10 minutes. Ladarius Green caught a 60-yard pass from Rivers with 7:50 to play as the Chargers took a 34-31 lead. Alex Smith found Dwayne Bowe on a 5-yard touchdown pass with 1:22 to play as the Chiefs went ahead 38-34. Rivers hit Seyi Ajirotutu on a 26-yard scoring throw with 24 seconds on the clock and won it for the Chargers.

THE QUOTE: “It’s nice to score points, but when you don’t win, it doesn’t matter. It’s nice to run the ball effectively, but we lost. It just stinks to lose,” offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz.

2014: Chiefs 19, Chargers 7

The Chargers had two interceptions and lost a fumble, and missed a chance to land a wild-card spot. The Chiefs led 16-7 at halftime, and Cairo Santos’ 31-yard field goal in the third quarter were the only points of the second half. Chiefs starting quarterback Chase Daniel completed 16 of 27 passes for 157 yards in his second career start.

THE QUOTE: “It was good just to get out there and play. I felt like I took some completions early and I just couldn’t buy a couple of completions in critical moments in the second half, but like I said, what matters is that we won ... that’s going to push us into next year.” — Daniel

2015: Chiefs 10, Chargers 3

Rivers was sacked five times and threw an interception, but he had the Chargers in position for a chance to tie or win the game. However, his final pass was knocked away in the end zone by Dee Ford. In addition to the game-saving play, Ford had three sacks and seven tackles on a muddy Arrowhead Stadium field.

THE QUOTE: “Anybody’s number could have been called at that time — I’m just glad I was able to do my job.” — Ford

2016: Chiefs 33, Chargers 27, OT

This was perhaps the worst start to a season in Chiefs history. In the opener last year, the Chargers led 24-3 late in the third quarter when the Chiefs roared back. Spencer Ware’s 5-yard run with 1:03 to play tied the game. In overtime, Smith’s 2-yard run won the game and his iconic postgame scream was widely shared by fans on social media.

THE QUOTE: “I think anytime someone reaches a level that they haven't reached before, it proves to everybody — the whole room, including himself — that nothing’s impossible,” Andy Reid on Smith.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff