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Friday, January 20, 2017

Recap: Chiefs beat Chargers, crowned AFC West champions

“We took care of our end and got some help from Denver, so it was pretty sweet.” Smith said in a press release

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Courtesy of Zimbio

Zimbio

Jan. 3, 2017

On New Year’s Day, the Chiefs finished the regular season with a 37-27 win over the San Diego Chargers and clinched the AFC West division title for the first time since 2010. Kansas City also swept the AFC West, going 6-0 in the division.

“To win the division was special, that’s something this group hasn’t done,” quarterback Alex Smith said in a press release. “...it'll be nice to see the banner hanging in the indoor facility.”

Contrary to their past four games, the Chiefs got off to a slow start in the first quarter against the Chargers on Sunday.

In what may have been their final game in San Diego, the Chargers got on the board first with a Josh Lambo 35-yard field goal. The Chargers dominated time of possession in the first quarter, holding onto the ball for a little over 10 minutes, but they never reached paydirt. The Chiefs got on the board with a field goal of their own late in the quarter.

San Diego started the second quarter with a quick touchdown to go up 10-3. The Chiefs retaliated with a five-yard Alex Smith touchdown run to even the score at 10 apiece. The Chiefs swung the game in the second quarter, forcing Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to commit two turnovers that would lead to 10 points for the Chiefs. Kansas City outscored the Chargers 17-7 in the quarter and headed into the break up 20-10.

In a back-and-forth second half, the Chargers looked like they might be able to string together a remarkable comeback, but the Chiefs were able hold them off for a 37-27 victory.

The Chiefs’ AFC West crown came with help from the Denver Broncos, who defeated the Oakland Raiders 24-6 in Denver. Heading into Sunday, the Chiefs not only needed to win against the Chargers to take the division title but also needed the Raiders to drop their game. With a Chiefs win and Raiders loss, the Chiefs also became the No. 2 seed in the AFC, earning them a first-round bye.

“We took care of our end and got some help from Denver, so it was pretty sweet,” Smith said in a press release

After their bye, the Chiefs will face the highest-seeded remaining team in the AFC at Arrowhead. Their possible opponents are the Houston Texans, the Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Chiefs’ next game is a divisional round matchup on Jan. 15. The game will start at 1:05 p.m. ET and air on NBC.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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