Plays that defined the season: No. 7

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu is a career backup who was only playing at the end of the San Diego Chargers’ game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 24 because multiple injuries had left his team short at his position.

Arijotutu had only three catches and one touchdown this season, but his 26-yard score from quarterback Philip Rivers with 24 seconds left to give the Chargers a 41-38 win over the Chiefs served notice that Kansas City’s defensive problems ran deep and that their season would be in trouble.

Rivers made a perfect pass and it avoided the outstretched arm and hand of Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith by inches.

The throw to Ajirotutu won the game, but the Chargers ripped the Chiefs with their passing game all afternoon. Rivers was 27-of-39 for 392 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

As on many plays with Chiefs cornerbacks throughout the game, Smith was asked to cover Ajirotutu for a long time. The once-fierce Chiefs pass rush was completely ineffective as Kansas City lost their two outside linebackers, Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, with injuries early in the game.

Hali would return the next week in another Chiefs’ loss, that time to the Denver Broncos. Houston wouldn’t return until the playoff loss.

But Kansas City’s pass rush, with the exception of the Dec. 8 game against the inept Washington Redskins, never did return.