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Chargers' top plays: Winslow's blocked FG

AP Photo

This is the first of three plays nominated as the most memorable play in San Diego Chargers team history. In the next three days, we’ll feature: Kellen Winslow’s blocked field goal against the Miami Dolphins in the 1982 AFC divisional playoffs; linebacker Dennis Gibson’s batted-down pass by Neil O’Donnell intended for running back Barry Foster on fourth down, sealing a trip to the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history in 1995; and running back LaDainian Tomlinson breaking Shaun Alexander’s single-season touchdown record of 28 with three touchdowns in a 48-20 win over Denver that clinched an AFC West title in 2006. Please vote for your choice as the Chargers’ most memorable play.

Score: Chargers 41, Dolphins 38

Date: Jan. 2, 1982 Site: Orange Bowl

The AFC divisional round matchup between San Diego and Miami was the signature game for Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow. Dealing with dehydration, cramping in his legs and a pinched nerve, Winslow blocked Uwe von Schamann’s 43-yard attempt at a winning field goal with 38 seconds left in regulation. That allowed the Chargers to win the game in overtime on a Rolf Benirschke field goal.

Winslow finished with 13 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown. Physically drained, Winslow was helped off the field by two teammates after the game, which was played in hot and humid conditions in Miami that lasted nearly five hours.

Things looked bleak for San Diego in the fourth quarter. The Chargers trailed 38-31 with just under five minutes remaining, and the Dolphins had a chance to put the game away on a long drive that pushed to San Diego’s 21-yard line.

However, San Diego linebacker Louie Kelcher stripped running back Andra Franklin of the ball on a run up the middle, recovering at his team’s 18-yard line.

With new life, Dan Fouts marched the Chargers 82 yards, tying the game at 38-all with a 9-yard pass to rookie running back James Brooks.

Miami quarterback Don Strock gave his team a chance to win the game in regulation, driving the Dolphins to San Diego’s 25-yard line with four seconds left.

Not usually a part of San Diego’s field goal block unit, a weary Winslow took the field because of his imposing, 6-foot-6, 250-pound frame. The Chargers' defensive line got some penetration, and Winslow leaped, tipping the ball with an extended right hand.

“It was the biggest thrill of my life,” Winslow said. “I felt like I scored three touchdowns.”

The Chargers failed to advance to the Super Bowl the next week, losing to Cincinnati 27-7 in the AFC Championship Game played in minus-50-degree temperatures.