Wild Chargers' win filled with controversial calls in game's final moments

The Los Angeles Chargers pulled off one of the biggest wins of the NFL season Thursday with a gutsy 29-28 win over the Kansas City Chiefs capped by a 2-point conversion to secure the victory.

While the do-or-die two-point attempt was thrilling, the conversion was set up by a handful of big plays with time winding down that put the referees to the test.

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Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates
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Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) breaks away from fallen Cleveland Browns defender Earl Little (20) on his way to a 72-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter Sunday, Dec. 19, 2004, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
San Diego Chargers' Antonio Gates (85) carries the ball on a pass reception as New England Patriots' Chad Brown (98) closes in, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2005, in Foxborough, Mass. The Chargers won, 41-17. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates pulls in n 18-yard touchdown pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter of their NFL football game Saturday, Dec. 24, 2005, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates scores on a 22-yard pass in the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers, during their NFL football game in San Diego, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
San Diego Chargers' Antonio Gates, right, and LaDainian Tomlinson celebrate Tomlinson's 27 yard touchdown run in the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Oct. 14, 2007 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates in action against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game on December 16, 2007 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Chris Park)
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates runs with the ball during the third quarter of an AFC wild-card playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009, in San Diego. San Diego won 23-17 in overtime. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates speaks at a news conference held after the Chargers NFL football training camp in San Diego, Friday, July 31, 2009. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
San Diego Chargers Antonio Gates, right, and Kansas City Chiefs Chris Chambers, left, talk after an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, in San Diego. The Chargers won 43-14. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) is brought down by Tennessee Titans defensive end William Hayes in the first quarter of an NFL football game on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Russell)
San Diego Chargers, from left, Antonio Gates Shaun Philips and LaDainian Tomlinson talk during football practice on Friday, Jan. 15, 2010 in San Diego. The Chargers host the New York Jets in an NFL divisional playoff football game on Sunday, Jan. 17. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) makes a fingertip catch in the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
San Diego Chargers' Antonio Gates reacts after an incomplete pass to him in the end zone on a third down with seconds left in the game against the Seattle Seahawks in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2010, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 27-20. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates breaks free from the Arizona Cardinals defense while gaining 22 yards on a pass during the first half of a NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates signals to his teammates after catching a touchdown pass during the first quarter of a NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Greg Bull)
San Diego Chargers' tight end Antonio Gates (85) runs a passing route during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, Sunday, October 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Covatta)
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) is tackled by a Denver Broncos defender during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, center, walks towards the fans after scoring a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi )
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates celebrates his touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) makes a pass reception between Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) and strong safety Brandian Ross (29) during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2015, file photo, San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo. The Chargers said Wednesday, March 9, 2016, they've agreed to a two-year contract with the star tight end. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File)
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, right, celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of an NFL football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
San Diego Chargers' Antonio Gates (85) drops a two-point conversion pass attempt as Carolina Panthers' Daryl Worley (26) defends in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
El tight end Antonio Gates (85), de los Chargers de San Diego, anota un touchdown encima del safety Eric Berry (29), de los Chiefs de Kansas City, en el encuentro del domingo 1 de enero de 2017, en San Diego. (AP Foto/Alex Gallardo)
Los Angeles Chargers fans hold up a photo of tight end Antonio Gates while watching players practice at NFL football training camp Sunday, July 30, 2017, in Costa Mesa, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) hauls in a touchdown pass as Seattle Seahawks defensive back Shaquill Griffin (26) defends during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2017, file photo, Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates looks on before an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Carson, Calif. The Chargers are considering re-signing Gates after bidding a public farewell to the most prolific receiver in franchise history in April. General manager Tom Telesco isn’t sharing details about the progress of any talks with Gates to return for a 16th season.(AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
FILE - In this Dec. 24, 2017, file photo, Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) greets fans before an NFL football game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. Gates has re-signed with the Los Angeles Chargers for his 16th season. The Chargers announced a one-year deal Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018, with Gates, the leading receiver in franchise history. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)
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The first bit of officiating controversy came with the Chargers trailing 28-21 and facing second-and-goal from the 10-yard line with 34 seconds remaining. Quarterback Philip Rivers took a shotgun snap and scrambled forward when faced with pressure.

Justin Houston chased him down from behind for a sack while Dorian O’Daniel met Rivers head-on with a helmet-to-helmet hit that did not draw a flag. Rivers was livid and immediately pleaded with officials for a call that never came.

DPI or no DPI?

On the next play, Rivers looked to Mike Williams in the back of the end zone on third-and-goal from the 10. He threw a high pass that Williams reached for with his right hand. Williams’ left hand was hanging by his torso, where Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller brushed him on the forearm.

Officials flagged Fuller for pass interference, setting the Chargers up with first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. The pass interference call was borderline on a ball that may or may not have been catchable.

TD could have gone either way

From there, Rivers again looked to Williams. This time, Williams cut toward the sideline, where he hauled in the touchdown pass before stepping out of bounds. Before breaking on the ball, Williams pushed off Orlando Scandrick, and after he caught it, there was a bit of a bobble as he was stepping out of bounds.

No offensive pass interference was called, and the play was ruled a catch for a touchdown.

The missed helmet-to-helmet call was blatant and should have been flagged. The defensive pass interference on Fuller and the ensuing Williams touchdown were close calls with plenty of gray area.

Did the officials get it right?

 

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