The 1963 San Diego Chargers season was the team's fourth in the American Football League. The team had gone 4–10 in 1962. They won their only AFL Championship with a 51–10 win over the Boston Patriots in Balboa Stadium. To date, this is the Chargers' only league championship season in the AFL or NFL. This is also the most recent world championship ever won by a major league sports team in the city and county of San Diego. In 2003, the team was inducted into the Chargers Ring of Honor. Receiver Lance Alworth was named the league M.V.P by UPI, while quarterback Tobin Rote was the pick of the Associated Press. After losing Jack Kemp to the Bills the previous year, San Diego were looking for a veteran quarterback who could both lead the team and mentor second-year passer John Hadl. Tobin Rote, a former NFL Champion (with the '57 Lions) was contemplating retirement after three seasons in the Canadian Football League. Both the Chargers and the Denver Broncos expressed an interest in signing Rote; AFL Commissioner Joe Foss conducted a coin flip to decide which team would have the right to claim the player. San Diego won, and the 35-year-old Rote was soon installed as their starter. Rote fulfilled expectations. His completion percentage of 59.4 was comfortably better than his nearest rival (Len Dawson with 54.0), while his passer rating of 86.7 was also an AFL best. He also became the first Charger quarterback to throw more touchdowns than interceptions in a season (20 against 17). Hadl also saw frequent action, as Head Coach Sid Gillman would frequently insert him into the game if Rote was struggling; Hadl threw at least one pass in 12 regular season games, complementing Rote's 2,510 yards with 502 of his own. The primary target for the two quarterbacks was Lance Alworth. The second-year flanker set new club receiving records for catches (61), yards (1,205) and touchdowns (11), while posting a pair of 200-yard games, the first in Charger history. Of the other receivers, tight end Dave Kocourek added 359 yards and five touchdowns; Don Norton, the club's leading receiver in 1962, was injured and missed the first seven games; he finished with 281 yards from limited action. Paul Lowe returned to the backfield after missing the entire 1962 season through injury - he formed a hugely successful partnership with Keith Lincoln, running behind a line led by Ron Mix. Lowe rushed for 1,010 yards (2nd in the league) while Lincoln, who missed most of one game and all of another, finished with 826 yards (4th in the league). The pair combined for 18 touchdowns, contributing to San Diego's league-high tally of 399 points scored. On defense, cornerback Dick Harris led the team with eight interceptions, while linebacker Chuck Allen added five more. With All-Pro defensive end Earl Faison starring on the line, the Charger defense had overall strength - they were the best in the league for touchdowns conceded against the pass (17), and joint-best against the run (10), while conceding the fewest points overall (255). George Blair did repeat his excellent kicking performance from the previous season, but his stat line of 17 successes from 28 attempts still gave him the best percentage in the league. San Diego's closest rivals were the Oakland Raiders, who acquired Charger assistant Al Davis as their head coach, and won their final eight games after a 2-4 start. The Chargers lost twice to Oakland during this stretch, but won the division by one game, thanks in large part to an 8-0 record against AFL East teams. With victory over Boston in the title game, San Diego became the first AFL team to complete a three-game season sweep of a rival.

AFL draft


Regular Season


Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.

Game summaries

Week 1

San Diego opened the 1963 season by beating their former quarterback, Jack Kemp. After a Buffalo punt, Keith Lincoln took a swing pass from Tobin Rote 32 yards down the right sideline, but George Blair missed a short field goal. Bud Whitehead and Bob Mitinger intercepted Kemp on the next two Bills drives. After the second of these, Rote hit Dave Kocourek for 31 yards over the middle, moving the ball to the Buffalo one. Bobby Jackson scored the first Charger touchdown of the year on the next play, fighting through traffic and narrowly crossing the goal line. Charger indiscipline aided Buffalo on their response, with three flags resulting from a single play: Ernie Ladd laid a late hit on Kemp, Henry Schmidt was ejected for fighting, and Sid Gillman was flagged for his protestations. The penalties moved the ball from San Diego's 44 to their 12, but the defense stiffened and restricted Buffalo to a field goal. Lance Alworth's 27 yard reception opened the next drive, but Blair missed another field goal; after the Bills also missed a kick, it was 7-3 at halftime. The Chargers were forced to punt at the start of the 3rd quarter, and Buffalo progressed to a 4th and 1 at the San Diego 40. The Bills went for the first down, but Ladd forced a fumble that Charlie McNeil recovered. Jerry Robinson wrestled a 41-yard pass from the grasp of a defender on the next play, but Jackson was stuffed for no gain on 4th and 1 from the 2. Earl Faison sacked Kemp to force a punt; six plays later, Paul Lowe cut upfield and wove through tacklers on his way to a 48-yard touchdown run. Paul Maguire's interception and 38-yard return gave the Chargers a chance to put the game away, starting only eight yards from the Buffalo end zone, but Rote was sacked and picked off on consecutive plays. Buffalo then drove 90 yards in 11 plays, scoring with 6:33 left on the clock. The Bills eschewed a two point conversion attempt, instead kicking an extra point to trail by four. The Bills had two more possessions: the first ended in a punt after Bob Petrich sacked Kemp; the second saw them reach their own 47 yard line before time expired. Rote had a solid debut, going 18 of 29 for 260 yards, with one interception. Lowe, on his first game back after missing the entire 1962 season through injury, rushed 10 times for 96 yards and a touchdown.

Week 2

This was the first night game played in San Diego. After a Patriots field goal was the only score of the 1st quarter, San Diego struck twice in the 2nd quarter. Keith Lincoln's 47-yard punt return was immediately followed by the first score, a 43-yard reception by Alworth. The Chargers then blocked a field goal, and fooled the Patriots defense when Lowe threw a 71-yard touchdown to Jerry Robinson. Boston pulled back seven points after a 13-play, 75-yard drive, and it was 14-10 at halftime. Interceptions by McNeil and Maguire ended Patriot drives in the second half, and Alworth's 61-yard punt return gave the Chargers an attempt to extend their lead, only for Blair to miss from 30 yards out early in the final quarter. Both kickers then had successes, leaving the Chargers still up by four points entering the final minutes. Boston reached a 4th and 1 on the Chargers 40, but turned the ball over on downs after a botched handoff. Following a Charger punt, the Patriots had one final chance, but an incompletion on 4th and 4 from their own 48 let San Diego run the clock out. The Chargers gained what would prove a season-low 240 yards on offense, nearly half the total coming on the two touchdown plays.

Week 4

Three early touchdown passes by Rote set the Chargers on their way to a comfortable win over the defending AFL Champions. Earl Faison's fumble recovery on the Kansas City 25 set up the first, a 20-yard connection with Dave Kocourek. In the 2nd quarter, McNeil intercepted Len Dawson, and the Chargers again capitalised, Kocourek jumping to gather in a Rote pass at the 10, and completing a 35-yard touchdown without breaking stride. The third touchdown drive was longer, covering 91 yards in 11 plays. Lowe broke off a 25-yard run, and Lincoln took a pass in the left flat before cutting inside to elude a tackler and complete a 15-yard touchdown. The Chiefs pulled three points back before the break, but Blair made one of two field goal attempts in the second half, and Kansas City didn't breach the end zone until the final two minutes of the match. Rote finished 10 of 16 for 127 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Lowe and Lincoln split the carries in the backfield, with Lowe rushing 17 times for 91 yards and Lincoln 14 times for 59 yards.

Week 5

San Diego conceded 50 points in a game for the first time, as Denver ran wild in the final quarter. Keith Lincoln's fumble set up Denver for the game's first points, a 37-yard field goal from Gene Mingo. Lincoln made amends only three plays later, taking a screen pass in for a 39-yard touchdown. McNeil's interception soon gave San Diego the ball back, and it was Lowe's turn to score, taking a Rote pass 31 yards on the next play. The Broncos responded with a 79-yard drive to a John McCormick touchdown pass, before Mingo missed kicks from 37 and 44 yards. Two plays after the second of these, Rote found Alworth at midfield, en route to an 85-yard touchdown. McCormick came back with another scoring throw, and Rote was intercepted shortly before halftime. Denver's momentum continued into the 3rd quarter. After tying the scores with a Mingo field goal, they executed a surprise onside kick, and their kicker struck again to put them in front. Rote was intercepted and lost a fumble, with the latter turnover leading to a further field goal. John Hadl came on for Rote in the 4th quarter, and promptly threw a touchdown on his very first pass attempt, a 19-yarder to Lincoln. That put San Diego back on top, 27-26, but McCormick soon responded with his third touchdown pass of the game. Lincoln's eventful day was complete when he fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Denver scored again. When Hadl threw a pick-six a few plays later, the Broncos had scored 21 points in the space of 63 seconds. Hadl threw a deflected 54-yard touchdown pass to Jacque MacKinnon, but Denver recovered Blair's onside kick attempt, and Mingo added his fifth field goal with 20 seconds to play. Rote and Hadl threw for 317 yards and a club-record five touchdowns between them. Alworth caught 4 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown, while Lincoln had 62 yards on the ground and 73 through the air, including two scores.

Week 6

San Diego bounced back with a hard-fought win over the Jets. After Lowe lost a fumble, former Chargers QB Dick Wood stunned his ex-teammates with a touchdown pass on the Jet's first play from scrimmage, covering 51 yards. Lowe was then intercepted on a trick play, but New York missed a field goal on the resulting drive. Lowe bounced back with a 40-yard gain on a sweep, and Blair was successful from 28 yards out. Rote was later picked off, leading to a Jets field goal and a 10-3 scoreline at halftime. John Hadl entered the game in the third quarter for his most substantial playing time of the season. He made an immediate impact with carries of 9 and 33 yards, before rounding out an 87-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown to Kocourek, who leaped to make the catch with defenders on either side of him. The Chargers were in trouble at the start of their next drive, facing 3rd and 13 at their own eighteen yard line, but Lincoln took a short pass and broke two tackles en route to a 37-yard gain. Five plays later, it was 2nd and 7 at the Jet 11, and San Diego again called a pass from an unexpected source. This time the trickery worked, fullback Gerry MacDougall lofting the ball to the back of the end zone where Alworth jumped to haul it in. Dick Christy returned the ensuing kickoff 71 yards to the Charger 18, before Dick Westmoreland made a touchdown-saving tackle. That ultimately had the Jets settling for a field goal, as Hank Schmidt sacked Wood on third down. San Diego converted a 4th and 1 on the next drive, MacDougall's 26-yard catch moving the ball into field goal range, but the drive ended with a miss by Blair. New York then used a 54-yard pass interference penalty as the springboard for an 80-yard touchdown drive, and a 20-17 lead as the 3rd quarter ended. Maguire pinned the Jets at their own one, and the defense forced a three-and-out, though an excellent punt in return set San Diego back on their own 39. Lowe took charge on the next drive, with runs of 6 and 30 yards to start it off and a 7-yard touchdown up the middle to finish it, with 9:06 to play. Wood led the Jets to the Charger 13, but his pass was deflected and incomplete on 4th and 8. Their final chance ended on their own 40, when Frank Buncom knocked away another 4th down pass. Rote was 10 of 13 for 78 yards and an interception, while Hadl was 8 of 12 for 134 yards and a touchdown. Lowe carried 16 times for 161 yards and one touchdown. San Diego's defence had zero takeaways. It was the first time in a regular season game that they failed to make at least one interception (they also drew a blank in the 1960 AFL title game), ending a 46-game streak that remains an AFL/NFL record.

Week 7

Lance Alworth had the most receiving yardage of any game in his Hall of Fame career, and the Chargers won on their first ever trip to Kansas City. The first four San Diego possessions resulted in punts, before Chuck Allen intercepted Len Dawson, setting up Blair's field goal to open the scoring. However, Dawson found Abner Haynes with a deep pass over the middle only two plays after the kickoff; Haynes slipped McNeil's diving tackle and completed a 73-yard touchdown, and Kansas City led 7-3 at halftime. Hadl had been in at quarterback on the final two Chargers drives of the first half, but Rote returned after the break, and led the Chargers to touchdowns on five of their first six second half possessions. Rote was 5 for 5 on the first drive, finishing it off with a 44-yard connection with Alworth, who had got open deep, behind the safeties. Following a Chiefs field goal, Alworth's 28-yard catch was the biggest play on an 11-play, 86-yard drive, which Lowe finished by cutting up the middle for a 7-yard touchdown on 3rd and 5. Blair then recovered a fumble, but missed a 40-yard field goal five plays later. Dawson then led his team from their own 20 to a 4th and 5 at the Charger 13. With only eight minutes remaining, Kansas City opted to go for it, but Dawson's pass was incomplete. Lincoln's 15-yard run on the next play was immediately followed by another Alworth touchdown. The flanker got a step behind cornerback Duane Wood, giving him position to outwrestle Wood for the ball at the Chief 35 and cruise in for a 72-yard touchdown. Dawson threw a touchdown on 4th and goal from the 7 on the next drive, and Kansas City were back within 24-17 with 5:24 still on the clock. Lincoln put the game away on the next play from scrimmage. Taking a pitchout to the left, he cut upfield and worked his way back towards the right sideline to avoid tacklers, ultimately outracing the defense and going in untouched for a 76-yard touchdown. Blair then made a juggling interception of Dawson, and Lowe shrugged off at tackler at the line of scrimmage before completing the scoring with a 21-yard run. Rote was 16 of 22 for 266 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Lincoln rushed 10 times for 127 yards and a touchdown. Alworth caught 9 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns - he had 183 receiving yards in the second half alone.

Week 8

Oakland pulled within one and a half games of San Diego, after an eventful game in which four quarterbacks combined for seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. Rote was intercepted on the game's opening possession, and Tom Flores found Art Powell for the opening points. San Diego responded with a Blair field goal, before Alworth maintained his excellent form with a 32-yard touchdown catch. Rote threw interceptions to Fred Williamson on the next two Charger drives; after the first of these, Harris picked off Flores to win the ball straight back, but Flores took his second chance with a 30-yard drive and another touchdown pass. Hadl then entered the game and hit Jacque MacKinnon for a 69-yard touchdown on only his second throw. Flores was then intercepted by McNeil, but Hadl cooled off and was intercepted himself before the half ended. Rote returned for the 3rd quarter, while the Raiders went with backup Cotton Davidson. The latter switch seemed to have backfired when Davidson's first pass was a pick-six for Dick Harris, but he came back with a touchdown pass two plays after Lincoln had fumbled while attempting an ill-advised lateral. A 29-yard catch by MacKinnon got San Diego moving, and Blair made it 26-21 after three quarters with a 36-yard kick. Davidson's second touchdown pass was also Powell's second touchdown catch - the 46-yard connection put Oakland ahead one play into the final quarter. San Diego responded through Lincoln, the running back breaking through off tackle for a 51-yard score. After a punt each, the Raiders went 63 yards for the winning score, another pass by Davidson. The Chargers managed to sack Davidson on the ensuing two point attempt, leaving them needing only a field goal to win, with 1:52 still remaining. Their final drive started from their own 27, and quickly went wrong. Rote threw incomplete before being sacked for an 18-yard loss, then threw his fourth pick of the game and Oakland ran out the clock. Oakland's quarterbacks completed only eight passes between them, but five of those went for touchdowns. For the Chargers, Lincoln rushed 15 times for 130 yards and a touchdown, while MacKinnon caught 3 passes for 111 yards and a score.

Week 9

The Chargers kicked off a three-game trip to the east cost by thrashing the Jets. On their second play from scrimmage, Alworth hauled in a deep pass and gained 62 yards, though a Lincoln fumble prevented San Diego from capitalising with any points. They made no mistake on their next possession, Lowe easily scoring from an 11-yard screen pass. George Gross caused Dick Wood to fumble shortly afterwards, with Emil Karas recovering - five plays later, Kocourek scored from 14 yards out. Another turnover soon followed, Harris picking off an underthrow by Wood. Alworth made leaping grab on the next play, covering 49 yards; three plays later, Lowe swept right from the 11 behind excellent blocking and went in untouched for a 21-0 lead. The touchdowns kept coming in the second half. Alworth again outjumped his marker on a 28-yard reception, Rote and MacDougall score on short runs up the middle and, after a consolation score by the Jets, Hadl threw an 8-yard touchdown to Jerry Robinson with no time on the clock. The Chargers faked a conversion kick after this final score, and Hadl hit Kocourek for two more points. Rote completed 21 of 29 passes for a club-record 369 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating of 149.0 would be the best any Charger achieved in the AFL while making at least 20 attempts in a game. Alworth caught 5 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown. Harris had two interceptions and a fumble recovery, while Karas had two fumble recoveries. San Diego set club records for most points (this would be broken six games later), and margin of victory (still to be surpassed).

Week 10

Lance Alworth and the defense lifted San Diego to a marrow victory in the rain and mud of Fenway Park. Alworth had catches of 6, 37 and 17 yards on three consecutive plays of the game's opening drive, but Blair missed a 12-yard chip-shot, and the Chargers came up empty-handed. Dick Westmoreland's fumble recovery then stopped a dangerous Patriot drive, and San Diego worked their way to the Boston 18, from where Alworth caught Rote's pass in the end zone and appeared to have opened the scoring. A penalty wiped those points off the board, but Rote went straight back to Alworth with a screen, good for 23 yards and, together with Blair's conversion, San Diego's last points of the game. Boston looked the more threatening team throughout the 2nd quarter, but Gino Cappelletti missed a 38-yard kick and lost a fumble that Gary Glick recovered. Chuck Allen outwrestled the intended receiver on an interception of Babe Parilli, and it was still 7-0 at the break. Cappelletti made a 36-yard field goal early in the second half. Rote converted a 4th and 1 with a sneak on the next possession, but the drive ended with Blair's 48-yard miss. Boston drove into field goal range once more, and when Cappelletti was good from 25 yards, the lead was cut to one. Following a Rote interception, the Boston kicker had a chance to put his team ahead, but was short from 37 yards out. Allen continued to have an impact as the final quarter wore on, stopping Patriot drives with an interception and a fumble recovery. Boston's last chance came when Lowe lost a fumble at his own 42. The Charger defense knocked the Patriots back six yards on three running plays, and Cappelletti's final kick fell well short from 55 yards. Alworth's 50-yard reception helped San Diego run the clock out. Alworth had 13 of his team's 18 pass receptions, and gained 210 of their 271 total yards on offense, while scoring the game's only touchdown. His 13 receptions were a new club record, and would remain his career high. San Diego's total of 7 points is still the fewest they have scored in a victory.

Week 11

San Diego completed an east coast sweep with a hard-fought win in Buffalo. The Bills took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards for Cookie Gilchrist to score from a yard out. The Chargers responded quickly, Lowe's 23-yard gain on a draw being immediately followed by Lincoln's 54-yard scoring burst through the middle. The next time San Diego had the ball, Lincoln opened the drive with a 24-yard reception, and Blair finished it with a 39-yard field goal. Jack Kemp led his offense inside the Charger 10 late in the first half, but Maguire's third down sack had the Bills settling for a field goal and a 10-10 tie at the intermission. In the 3rd quarter, Walt Sweeney blocked a punt by future Super Bowl quarterback Daryle Lamonica, and San Diego took over at the Buffalo 20. Lincoln appeared to have scored on a 9-yard run a few plays later, but Ron Mix was penalised for a push. The Chargers promptly scored again, Rote zipping a pass for Alworth to gather in under the posts. Buffalo almost tied the scores on their next drive, but last defender Dick Westmoreland hauled Elbert Dubenion down at the Charger five yard line after a gain of 34, and the defense held Buffalo to a field goal. Lowe's 27-yard run had the Chargers threatening on their next drive, but they were thwarted when Rote was intercepted. Dick Harris picked off Kemp on the next two Buffalo drives; after the second of these, Rote's 54-yard completion to Alworth set up a short Blair field goal. After forcing a punt, the Chargers drove from their own 20 to Buffalo's 34, and Blair hit the clinching kick from 41 yards out with just 1:37 to play. Harris added a third interception on the game's final play, his seventh in a four-game span. Lincoln rushed 10 times for 101 yards and a touchdown, while adding 31 yards on 3 receptions. With Oakland idle, the Chargers stretched their lead in the AFL West to two full games.

Week 12

In a matchup of division leaders, San Diego proved far too strong for the Oilers. Houston had the game's first scoring chance, but Maguire blocked George Blanda's 48-yard field goal attempt. Keith Lincoln opened the scoring only five plays later, taking a draw up the middle from 15 yards out. Houston fumbled away a red zone chance on their next drive, and the Chargers soon pulled away. A Lincoln run set up Blair's 42-yard field goal, and Maguire recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. After three straight incompletions, San Diego faked a field goal, Rote passing to Kocourek in the left flat, from where the tight end fought his way for 14 yards and a first down. Four plays later, Kocourek drew pass interference on a 3rd and 13 play, and Lowe went in from the two. An Emil Karas interception and 30-yard return was then wasted as Rote, too, was intercepted. Late in the half, Houston failed on a fourth down conversion attempt, and San Diego had three big runs in a row (Lowe 14 yards, Lincoln 16 yards, Lincoln 13 yards), setting up Blair's second field goal. Bob Mitinger's interception two plays into the second half dispelled any thoughts of a quick change of momentum. The Chargers put together an 11-play, 80 yard drive that bridged the 3rd and 4th quarter, and ended with Alworth's 22-yard catch from Rote. Houston's threatened to avoid the shutout on their last two possessions, but backup QB Jacky Lee was sacked on 4th down, and later intercepted by Gary Glick. Dick Westmoreland was credited with 15 solo tackles and 1 assist, plus 6 passes defenced. Lincoln (13 carries, 102 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 reception for 5 yards) and Lowe (21 carries, 80 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 receptions for 25 yards) provided a double-threat in the backfield.

Week 13

A stunning 4th quarter collapse cost San Diego the chance to clinch their division. Up by two games over the Raiders with only three to play, the Chargers would end the Western race with a win, and looked well on the way after their opening drive. Lincoln had a 36-yard reception to start things off and, after the Chargers lost six yards on the next two plays, Rote went long for Don Norton for a 32-yard touchdown. For Norton, who had missed seven games through a back injury, it was his only touchdown of the regular season. After a Raider field goal, San Diego suffered a setback when Lincoln was knocked out of the game through injury, with Bobby Jackson taking his place in the backfield. The switch appeared not to have disrupted the offense during a 6-play, 89-yard drive that opened with Alworth's 54-yard reception and ended with Jackson going 14 yards off-tackle to the end zone. Oakland responded with a 44-yard touchdown pass from Tom Flores to Art Powell on 4th and 2, but failed to convert on 4th and 10 from the Charger 39 on their next drive. Norton then had 22- and 36-yard receptions, and MacKinnon's short catch made it 20-10 at halftime. Cotton Davidson, who had played a major role in the Raiders' victory in San Diego earlier in the season, was brought on for the second half. The switch had no immediate impact, with the only score of the 3rd quarter going to the Chargers - Kocourek's 40-yard reception paving the way for Alworth's 15-yard touchdown. When the Raiders went three-and-out in response, San Diego took over on their own 20 early in the final quarter, 17 points to the good. Lowe appeared to have gained 22 yards on first down, but the run was called back by penalty. Jackson took a screen pass to the Charger 39 on the next play, but fumbled and Oakland recovered. Davidson's touchdown to Powell began the comeback four plays later. Next, Lowe lost a fumble and Oakland capitalised with a field goal. Following a Charger punt, Davidson led his team 57 yards and scored the game-tying touchdown himself with 7:54 to play. San Diego were unable to respond, failing to pick up a first down and punting again. Three plays later, Powell was in the end zone again, with a 41-yard touchdown. Lowe returned the ensuing kickoff 41 yards, and Hadl came out to try and spark the offense. He found Norton for an 18-yard gain to the Oakland 38, but followed that with three incompletions and an interception. The Raiders added a further touchdown in the final minutes, and pulled to within a game at the top of the division. Rote was 17 of 25 for 284 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, while Norton caught six passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. Art Powell scored 5 touchdowns from only 9 catches over the two games with San Diego. It was only the second time in AFL/NFL history that a team were outscored by 30+ points in the 4th quarter; Oakland had managed the same feat three season earlier against Denver.

Week 14

The stakes were high for both teams - San Diego were looking to maintain their lead over Oakland, while Houston would be eliminated from the AFL East race with a loss. San Diego had the first drive into opposition territory, but Lowe lost a fumble - Houston then drive into field goal range, but George Blanda was wide right. In the 2nd quarter, three interceptions by linebackers were key. Firstly, Karas picked off a Jacky Lee pass, Lowe immediately broke off a 59-yard run, and Rote sneaked into the end zone two plays later. Next, Allen picked off a Blanda pass at the Houston 30, and Jackson scored from close range six plays later. Blanda came straight back with a touchdown pass to Willard Dewveall, and Rote's deep ball was intercepted on the next play. Maguire then took back the momentum with an interception of his own, at the Houston 24 yard line. Blair capitalised with a 22-yard field goal, and it was 17-7 at halftime. Blair missed wide left from 43 yards in the 3rd quarter, but Allen's fumble recovery at the Oiler 30 soon gave him another chance, a chip shot 10-yarder. Houston had four turnovers on the day, each of which San Diego converted into points. The Oilers next drive saw them reach 4th and goal at the nine. They elected to go for the touchdown, but Allen and Glick combined to stop Dewveall one yard short. San Diego gained one first down before being forced to punt, and Blanda converted a 3rd and 28 with a huge 68-yard completion. The Oilers made no mistake this time, finding the end zone with 6:30 to play in the game. The next three drives were three-and-outs. Houston's final drive started on their own 21 yard line with under two minutes to play. Blanda managed to converted a 4th and 1, but found progress to be slow going. The game's final snap was from the Charger 44 - Houston gained only 9 yards, and time expired. With Lincoln missing due to injury, Gerry MacDougall rushed 15 times for 56 yards, a complement to Lowe's 19 carries for 96 yards. These gains, plus the four crucial turnovers, were enough to compensate for a weak pass attack that managed only 85 yards total. Oakland also won, leaving the Raiders still one game back, and able to force a playoff for the division crown if San Diego slipped up in Week 15.

Week 15

San Diego clinched their third AFL West title in four seasons while setting a club record for points that still stands. Gross gave his team an excellent start, recovering a Broncos fumble forced by Karas. Lowe ran in the opening touchdown two plays later. After Denver answered with a touchdown on the ensuing drive, Alworth drew a 39-yard pass interference penalty and Blair kicked San Diego back in front. On the next drive, Bob Mitinger made a one-handed interception after twice bobbling the ball. Norton's 29-yard reception on the next play set up Jackson's 2-yard touchdown dive. Denver refused to give up, again responding to a Charger touchdown with one of their own. Keith Lincoln was back in the starting line-up for San Diego - his tackle-breaking 11-yard run got the Chargers moving on their next drive. Rote finished the job by hitting Kocourek for a 26-yard touchdown; the tight end caught the ball in stride at the nine, and outran his marker to the corner of the end zone. A Rote interception let Denver pull three points back with 1:04 remaining in the 2nd quarter, but back-to-back runs of 22 yards by Lowe and 14 yards by Lincoln let Blair respond in kind before the half ended. After both sides punted to start the 3rd quarter, Lowe swept to the right and went 66 yards untouched to make it 33-17. Denver responded with a field goal. With news filtering through that Oakland had won their final game, San Diego still had work to do to reach the AFL title game. They responded with 25 unanswered points. Dick Harris came up with an interception the next time Denver had the ball, and Blair hit his third field goal late in the 3rd quarter. On the first play of the final quarter, Ernie Ladd had a strip sack, and Earl Faison recovered. Lincoln swept to the right on the next play, and scored without difficulty from 29 yards out. The defense registered the next score themselves, a fumble bouncing kindly for Allen to field and return 42 yards for a touchdown. Hadl came into the game and eventually threw the final touchdown to MacKinnon in the back of the end zone. San Diego added a two point conversion on a trick play, with Faison's catch giving them their final points of the regular season. Paul Lowe ran for 183 yards on 17 carries, with two touchdowns. As a team, San Diego had 270 rushing yards, and outgained Denver 451-231 in total offense.



Game summaries

AFL Championship Game: Boston Patriots at San Diego Chargers

San Diego thrashed the Patiots to gain their only league title to date. Keith Lincoln gained 329 yards from scrimmage, setting an AFL/NFL playoff record that still stands.https://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/yds_from_scrimmage_single_game_playoffs.htm


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