The San Diego Chargers have kept their NFL playoff hopes alive by they defeating San Francisco 34-7.
Chargers keep playoff hopes alive
The San Diego Chargers have kept their NFL playoff hopes alive by they defeating San Francisco 34-7 to stay in the race for the AFC West division title.
San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers surpassed 4,000 passing yards for the third straight season and Vincent Jackson had a career-high three touchdown catches.
They were Jackson's first touchdown receptions of the season after he missed the first 10 games because of a contract dispute.
Displeased at the Chargers' refusal to give him a long-term contract, Jackson sat out the first seven games. He then missed three more games serving a team-imposed suspension.
He returned to action at Indianapolis on November 28 but pulled a calf muscle after two plays and missed the rest of that game and the next.
San Diego improved to 8-6 and pulled within a half-game of division leaders Kansas City. The Chargers had beaten the Chiefs 31-0 in San Diego last Sunday, and Kansas City are at St Louis this weekend.
The Chargers finish the season with games at struggling Cincinnati and Denver. If they win them and the Chiefs lose once, San Diego will claim a fifth straight division title.
San Diego appeared headed for a second straight shut-out win - which would have been a first in their 51-year history.
But San Francisco scored on Brian Westbrook's three-yard run with 4:26 remaining.
The 49ers fell to 5-9 but still retained a mathematical chance of capturing the title in the NFC West - the NFL's weakest division.