NFL: San Diego Chargers win in overtime to deny Pittsburgh Steelers play-off berth
Last Updated: 30/12/13 3:01am
Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers scores a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in week 17 of the NFL regular season
The San Diego Chargers claimed a play-off berth in dramatic fashion as Peyton Manning set another passing record in the final week of the regular season.
With the door opened for them by losses for Baltimore and Miami earlier in the day, San Diego took sixth spot in the AFC with a thrilling 27-24 triumph over a depleted Kansas City Chiefs.
Nick Novak slotted over a 36-yard field goal in overtime to settle a see-saw contest in favour of the Chargers. The Chiefs - who rested most of their starters with their post-season place already certain - had seen Ryan Succop miss a potential game-winning kick from 41 yards out at the end of regulation.
A 20-7 victory over divisional rivals Cleveland wasn't enough for the Pittsburgh Steelers to get in with an 8-8 record, though they at least guaranteed they didn't suffer their first losing season since 2003.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, missed the chance to make their first post-season appearance since 2008 when they lost 20-7 to the New York Jets.
The Carolina Panthers clinched the NFC South title - and a first-round bye to boot - with a nervy 21-20 win over the Atlanta Falcons, Cam Newton throwing for two touchdowns before they had to hang on at the death.
New Orleans overcame the disappointment of missing out on their division by clinching a wild card berth in fine style, thrashing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42-17. Drew Brees eclipsed 5,000 passing yards in a season for an unprecedented fourth time, his final total being 5,162.
Broncos on top
However he has lost his single-season yardage record, Manning finishing up with 5,477 yards, as the Denver Broncos made sure they would be the top seeds in the AFC with a 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders.
Manning surpassed the previous best of 5,476 yards set in 2011 when he connected with Demaryius Thomas on a five-yard throw at the end of the second quarter. It was one of four TD passes for the veteran quarterback, taking his tally to a record-breaking 55 for the season.
Denver's result means the New England Patriots will be a second seed despite their 34-20 success over the Buffalo Bills that saw LeGarrette Blount run for a career-high 189 yards and two touchdowns.
In the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks clinched the no 1 spot with a 27-9 result against the St Louis Rams, meaning they pip the San Francisco 49ers - who won 23-20 against the Arizona Cardinals - to the NFC West title.
The Houston Texans lost for a 14th straight game in a row, securing the number one pick in next May's draft in the process, as they went down 16-10 to the Tennessee Titans.
Quarterback Andrew Luck threw for 282 yards and a touchdown, becoming the first player in league history to top 8,000 yards in his first two NFL seasons, as the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 30-10 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The New York Giants got the better of the Washington Redskins 20-6 despite losing starting QB Eli Manning and receiving duo Rueben Randle and Hakeem Nicks to injury during the contest.
And finally, the Minnesota Vikings made sure they finished life in their Metrodome home on a winning note, beating the Detroit Lions 14-13 thanks to a pair of touchdown catches by rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.