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NFL Says Chargers Should Have Been Penalized on Last-Second Kick

Chargers Player Danny Woodhead
Danny Woodhead of the San Diego Chargers celebrates a 27-24 overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs during their game on December 29, 2013 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. Photographer: Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- The National Football League said officials made a mistake by not penalizing the San Diego Chargers for an illegal formation in the final seconds of its playoff-clinching win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Facing a fourth-and 12 from San Diego’s 23-yard line with 8 seconds remaining in regulation, Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop missed a 41-yard field goal attempt. If the Chiefs won, the Pittsburgh Steelers would have made the postseason instead of the Chargers.

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

The rule, which was adopted this year as a player safety measure, is not subject to instant replay review, the NFL said.

The penalty for illegal formation by the defense is a loss of five yards. Had the penalty been assessed, it would have resulted in a fourth-and-seven from San Diego’s 18-yard line, enabling the Chiefs to attempt a 36-yard field goal.

The Chargers won the game 27-24 in overtime to secure the final playoff spot in the American Football Conference.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Buteau in Atlanta at mbuteau@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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