It all unraveled in the Fourth Quarter, however, when Jack Kemp threw three interceptions and the Dallas Texans overcame a 20 point deficit to defeat the consensus pre-season #1 pick in the AFL’s Western Division.
With 13:45 on the clock, the Chargers led the Dallas Texans by a score of 23-3. It was 1st and 10 at the Dallas 24 when Kemp’s flat pass was deflected into the air at the line of scrimmage. Defensive lineman Dick Frey came down with the interception (first of his career) and Cotton Davidson and the Texans mounted their comeback.
Eight plays and 76 yards later, rookie Abner Haynes waltzed into the end zone on an end-around from the 11 yard line and the Texans had their first TD of the game.
After an impressive three-and-out defensive stand, Dallas’s Special Teams suddenly silenced the Los Angeles Memorial Colosseum when Johnny Robinson returned a very poor punt 36 yards into the Chargers end zone and brought the Texans to within a touchdown.
It was still the Chargers game to be lost. And lose it they did.
The Chargers took over the ball on their own 20 and had moved the ball to the 31 when Kemp tried to force a flat pass to his running back, but ended up hitting Defensive Tackle Walter Napier right between the numbers. With that turnover, Kemp’s fourth intercepted pass of the night, the Texans needed just two more plays before Haynes broke out for a 33 yard touchdown run that put the Texans ahead 24-23.
Los Angeles had 3:30 left to mount their final drive, and for a couple of minutes it looked like they just might do it. At the 1:40 mark, Kemp had made two outstanding passes to Ralph Anderson and led the team all the way down to the Texan 29, which would have been a 46 yard field goal attempt for LA’s 40 year-old placekicker Ben “the Toeless Wonder” Agajanian.
Instead of electing to move the ball on the ground conservatively, the Chargers went one more time to the air, and it turned out to be one time too many. Kemp’s attempt to thread a needle in the middle of the field was picked off by Dallas linebacker Ted Greene who ran the ball back 7 yards.
Dallas took over on their own 36 with 1:30 left, and the rest was mere formality.