LOS ANGELES: The Kansas City Chiefs closed in on the NFL’s AFC West divisional title on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) with a 30-13 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Chiefs and Chargers came into the contest tied atop the division, but the win — before a raucous crowd at Arrowhead Stadium—left Kansas City needing just one win from their last two games to clinch the crown.
Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. He added seven catches for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Quarterback Alex Smith connected on 23 of 30 passing attempts for 231 yards and two touchdowns.
“Huge, huge ramifications in this game against a team that’s been red-hot, and our team stepped up,” Smith said.
In addition to their one-game lead over the Chargers, the 8-6 Chiefs own the tiebreaker after winning both regular-season games against Los Angeles.
“Nothing’s final,” Smith cautioned. “You try to punch your ticket to the dance and we’ve got two more opportunities to do that.”
Quarterback Philip Rivers rallied the Chargers from an early 10-0 deficit, putting his team ahead early in the third with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Gates.
But the Chiefs responded with a 12-play, 69-yard drive capped by Hunt’s three-yard TD catch.
The Chiefs’ defense then took over. Cornerback Marcus Peters intercepted Rivers on the next drive.
Rivers finished 20-of-36 passing for 227 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted three times.
Lions stay alive
The Detroit Lions kept their NFL playoff hopes alive with a 20-10 victory over the Chicago Bears.
Matthew Stafford threw two touchdown passes and tight end Eric Ebron caught five passes for 33 yards and a score for the Lions, who improved to 8-6.
While Detroit remained in the hunt for an NFC playoff spot, they’ll need to win their last two games—against Cincinnati and Green Bay—and have some help from other teams in the NFC wild card race to get there.
“That’s not our focus,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “We don’t talk about that stuff. Our focus is on one thing —Cincinnati. That’s it.”
Darius Slay highlighted a strong defensive performance for the Lions, intercepting two passes as Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was picked off three times.
The Lions held Chicago to 43 rushing yards.
“Our defense played incredible today,” Stafford said. “You go out there and get those turnovers, that’s what we feed off of on offense, more chances.
“They got the turnovers and then just stopping that run game. That’s as good a run game as we face all year. I know our guys were looking forward to the challenge and they stood up there and shut them down.”