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Chargers Destined for Playoffs

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San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (r.) celebrates with his offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt after the Bolts beat the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (r.) celebrates with his offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt after the Bolts beat the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The San Diego Chargers are a team of destiny, or so they have been over the last month of the 2013 NFL season.

On Sunday, they pulled off their latest miracle.

With losses by the Baltimore Ravens and the Miami Dolphins, all the Chargers needed to do was beat a band of second- and third-teamers from Kansas City.

However, for the majority of the game, that task seemed destined to go unfulfilled. But a missed field goal by the Chiefs’ Ryan Succop (plus a blown call by the referees) at the end of regulation, and a gusty fake punt on fourth-and-two in overtime by the Chargers’ Eric Weddle was enough to propel the Bolts into the playoffs, albeit over the Chiefs’ JV squad.

“Things happen for a reason,” said Chargers coach Mike McCoy. “I can’t always tell you why, but they happen for reasons.”

For whatever reason, the Chargers are back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2009 season. They won five of their last six games, including two on the road over the Chiefs and the Denver Broncos. But even after learning that the Ravens and Dolphins had lost before game time, ultimately giving San Diego a win-and-you’re-in scenario, the Chargers played one of their worst games of the season against the Chiefs.

But fate wouldn’t have it.

The Chargers were destined for the playoffs.

“Did we get a few breaks (Sunday), yes,” said quarterback Philip Rivers. “But I don't think for one bit we were given anything, absolutely not. We fought like crazy to stay alive all year and we fought like crazy to earn these last four."

The resiliency, especially over the last month of the season, is nothing new in San Diego. Philip Rivers is 30-7 in the month of December, a span that dates back to his first season as the starter in 2006. But despite San Diego’s strong finishes in the three previous playoff-less seasons, fortune hasn’t favored Rivers and the Chargers in some time.

This season’s fate comes down to consistency, an attribute the Chargers have embraced this season. They showed fight in all 16 games of 2013 and never lost by more than 10 points.

“I think the great thing about the way we finished is, we won the last four, and that’s about being more consistent, making the plays when the game’s on the line when you have to,” McCoy said. “And when you do that, good things happen and that’s why we’re still playing.”