Chargers pile fresh pain on Bengals as Dalton flops
The San Diego Chargers took full advantage of a second-half meltdown by the Cincinnati Bengals to claim a 27-10 AFC wild-card win and move on to the divisional play-offs against the Denver Broncos.
Trailing 10-7 at the half, the Chargers made Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton pay dearly for his miscues, two interceptions and a fumble, to hand Cincinnati their first home loss this season at Paul Brown Stadium.
For the AFC North champions it was another shocking end to a promising season as their run without a play-off win extended to a painful 24 years.
Four times in the last five seasons Cincinnati have appeared in a wild-card contest and fallen flat, losing twice to the Houston Texans (2012, 2011), the New York Jets (2009) and San Diego.
The Chargers outscored Cincinnati 20-0 in the second half, as quarterback Philip Rivers had a modest afternoon, completing 12 of 16 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown.
Unfancied San Diego, who only made it to the play-offs thanks to Kansas City Chiefs missing a kickable field-goal in their last regular season game, took the lead when Danny Woodhead ran in a five-yard touchdown at the end of the first quarter.
Cincinnati fought back as Dalton found Jermaine Gresham to make it 7-7 and added a field-goal for a 10-7 half-time lead.
San Diego came roaring back however, and took advantage of the Bengals' defensive lapses as Rivers passed to Ladarius Green for 14-10.
Two field-goals stretched the lead to 10 while the Chargers defence held firm before Ronnie Brown's 52-yard run completed the win.