NFL says referees missed penalty on Chargers during Chiefs' field goal attempt

Chiefs kicker missed FG, Chargers win game in OT

SAN DIEGO - The missed Kansas City field goal that helped the San Diego Chargers complete an improbable run to the playoffs should have been a penalty, and the Chiefs should have been given another play, the National Football League front office announced Monday.

The error denied the Chiefs a five-yard penalty and one more chance to win the game. It also knocked the Pittsburgh Steelers out of the playoffs.

"On the play, San Diego lined up with seven men on one side of the snapper," the NFL said in a statement. "This should have been penalized as an illegal formation by the defense."

The rule was adopted this year as a safety measure, according to the league.

"The penalty for illegal formation by the defense is a loss of five yards," the NFL statement said. "This rule is not subject to instant replay review. Had the penalty been assessed, it would have resulted in a fourth-and-7 from the San Diego 18 with 0:04 remaining, enabling the Chiefs to attempt a 36-yard field goal."

The controversial play went down with 8 seconds on the clock, and the game tied 24-24.

The Chiefs had driven to the Chargers 23-yard-line, and tried a 41-yard field goal. Chiefs placekicker Ryan Succop pushed his kick wide to the right.

The Chargers went ahead in overtime, 27-24, to make the playoffs. The Bolts had a 5-7 record before finishing with four straight victories -- and entered Sunday needing two other teams to lose, which they did.

It'll never be known whether Succop would have made the make-up kick, which would have eliminated the Chargers from playoff contention. Had the Chargers lost, the Steelers would have made the post-season instead.

The Chargers will play at Cincinnati Sunday at 10 a.m. Pacific time.

The controversial play can be seen at

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