KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Arrowhead Stadium was already emptying by the time Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers jogged to the locker room, triumphantly waving his hand as a satisfying cascade of boos washed over him.
He had finally beaten the Kansas City Chiefs.
It sounded perfect.
Rivers led Los Angeles on a feverish fourth-quarter comeback Thursday night, capped by a debatable pass-interference call, a tense video review of the last touchdown and the gutsy decision to try a 2-point conversion. And for the first time in years against Kansas City, everything turned out perfectly for Rivers and the Chargers in a 29-28 victory that clinched their playoff spot.
‘‘This was big. Here or at home, whatever,’’ Rivers said, ‘‘we needed to beat these guys.’’
The Chargers (11-3) trailed 28-14 when Justin Jackson’s touchdown run with 3:49 to go gave them a chance. They quickly got the ball back from Patrick Mahomes and the NFL’s highest-scoring offense, and Rivers led a tense final drive that included a fourth-down dart to Travis Benjamin to keep it alive.
That crucial penalty on Kendall Fuller in the back of the end zone gave the Chargers the ball at the 1, and Rivers found Mike Williams along the sideline on the next play. And when his TD catch with 4 seconds left was confirmed, coach Anthony Lynn sent his offense back onto the field.
Williams hauled in the conversion to end five years’ worth of frustration.
‘‘We didn’t come here to tie. We came here to win. So to me it was a no-brainer,’’ said Lynn, whose team became the first since Minnesota in Week 15 of the 2002 season to win with a 2-point conversion in the final 10 seconds of regulation.
The comeback allowed Los Angeles to forge a first-place tie in the AFC West, though the Chiefs (11-3) hold the tiebreaker with a better division record. More satisfying was the simple fact that Rivers and the Chargers had finally snapped their nine-game losing streak against Kansas City.
They hadn’t beaten the Chiefs since 2013, the last year they made the playoffs.
‘‘Oh, it’s satisfying,’’ Benjamin said. ‘‘We talked about it. We knew it had been a couple years and we wanted to go into this game and change that and we did.’’
Rivers threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions, and Williams had seven catches for 76 yards and two scores while adding another on the ground. Jackson ran for 58 yards and a touchdown in place of the injured Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler.
Mahomes was held to just 243 yards and two touchdowns for Kansas City, and his inability to pick up a first down in the closing minutes proved costly. The Chiefs forced the Chargers to burn two timeouts on their last drive, but Mahomes was sacked by Isaac Rochell and Kansas City had to punt.
The Chiefs never got the ball back on offense.
‘‘They found a way to win and we didn't,’’ Mahomes said. ‘‘You have to find a way in this league.’’