(Reuters) - 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 on Sunday and move onto the divisional playoffs 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.
For the AFC North champion it was another shocking end to a promising season as their run without a playoff win extended to a painful 24 years.
Four times in the last five seasons Cincinnati has 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.
Ronnie Brown and Danny Woodhead also ran for touchdowns.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, editing by Gene Cherry