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Chargers Playoff Hopes End With Loss To Lowly Bengals

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Carson Palmer, Anthony Collins

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CINCINNATI (AP) — Carson Palmer threw four touchdown passes during a near-perfect performance in the swirling snow, and the Cincinnati Bengals beat San Diego 34-20 on Sunday, ending the Chargers’ run of four straight AFC West titles.

The Chargers (8-7) froze up in their coldest game in nearly three years, repeatedly self-destructing on a raw, windy evening. The loss gave the division title to Kansas City, which beat Tennessee 34-14 earlier in the day.

It was only San Diego’s second loss in its last 22 games in December.

Palmer, a Southern California kid, led the Bengals (4-11) to their second straight win with a cast of reserve receivers. Two of his touchdown passes went to Jerome Simpson, including a 59-yarder in the fourth quarter. Palmer finished with a career-best passer rating of 157.2 — perfect would be 158.3.

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