But with a little jump shot, safety Michael Dumas and the Chargers defense saved a little face.
A week after allowing Peyton Manning to throw for 404 yards, San Diego intercepted Elvis Grbac four times, two of them leading to touchdowns, and rallied from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to beat the Chiefs 21-14.
Dumas had the momentum-swinging first interception and cornerback Darryll Lewis, starting in place of injured Terrance Shaw, had two as the defense bailed out the non-existent offense.
Quarterback Jim Harbaugh left with a bruised right elbow late in the first quarter, and the Chargers didn't crack the 100-yard mark until the third quarter. They finished with just 132 yards, and netted only three yards on two possessions in the fourth quarter.
Backup quarterback Erik Kramer threw two touchdown passes, but the Chargers had to go only 10, 18 and 22 yards on their scoring drives. The field position was courtesy of the defense and special teams.
It looked like the Chargers were in big trouble when tight end Tony Gonzalez caught a 12-yard pass from Grbac for a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter. The former college basketball star celebrated by dunking the ball through the goal posts.
San Diego started its comeback with an interception and 24-yard return by Dumas to the KC 10 with 8:03 left in the second quarter.
After high-fivng fans in the end zone seats, Dumas lobbed the ball through the goal posts as if he were shooting baskets.
"I was too tired to try to go for the dunk like Gonzalez does," Dumas said. "I did the next best thing."
"Once the first interception came, that was a momentum-changer and we were able to regroup and the offense started controlling the ball a little better and put the points on the board," he added.
Two plays later, Natrone Means broke two tackles to complete a 4-yard TD run.
Lewis got his first interception after Junior Seau and Lew Bush pressured Grbac, and an unnecessary roughness call on Chiefs center Tim Grunhard moved the ball to the Kansas City 22. That set up the winning touchdown, on Kramer's 11-yard pass to Chris Penn with 10:57 to go in the third quarter.
Dumas said the Chargers (2-1) match up well with Kansas City's skill players. And there was a little matter of being embarrassed by Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in a 27-19 loss in their home opener.
"We knew we could play better than that," Dumas said.
"We wanted to come in here and prove to ourselves and our fans that we can win at home," linebacker Seau said. "For the most part, the bread and butter is our defense, and we went out there and did what we had to do."
The Chiefs (2-2) complained about being called for 13 penalties eight offensive holding for 113 yards.
After the first quarter, "It seemed every time we had a big play running or passing the officials wanted to be part of the game," Grbac said.
"I know them (the officiating crew) pretty well, and once I saw the head guy (Ed Hochuli), I knew it was going to be a questionable day," Grbac said.
"Every time we had a gain of eight or more yards, a flag came down," left tackle Glenn Parker said. "I don't know what they see. I don't know what they know. I think they know the rules real well, but they don't know a damn thing about football."
Kansas City got inside the Chargers 35 twice in the final three minutes, but failed to score. With 10 seconds left and no timeouts remaining, Grbac inexplicably threw a pass down the middle to Gonzalez to the 32, and the Chiefs couldn't get off another play.
San Diego's tying touchdown with 1:41 before halftime was set up when Kansas City punter Daniel Pope dropped the snap, tried to run and was tackled by Kenny Bynum at the Chiefs 18. Bynum scored two plays later on the Chargers' best offensive play all game, when Kramer faked a handoff to Bynum, faked a reverse to Jeff Graham and then found Bynum wide open
Grbac completed 19 of 40 passes for 200 yards. Kramer was 8-of-20 for 72 yards and Harbaugh was 6-of-9 for 38.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed