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Chargers' Ajirotutu makes name for himself with winning grab

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San Diego Chargers wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu (16) catches a pass in the end zone for the game winning touchdown under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith (27) during the second half of an NFL football game. San Diego Chargers wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu (16) catches a pass in the end zone for the game winning touchdown under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith (27) during the second half of an NFL football game.

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Seyi Ajirotutu should get a little more notice after catching a last-second touchdown pass to lift the San Diego Chargers to a thrilling 41-38 victory at Kansas City.

His name, though, will no doubt still be hard for some people to pronounce.

Ajirotutu caught a 26-yard pass from Philip Rivers with 24 seconds left Sunday to end the shootout and a three-game losing streak, and perhaps save the Chargers' season.

Ajirotutu has heard his name mispronounced on highlight shows. The correct way is SHAY-ee ah-ZHIR-uh-tutu.

"It's all right. They've just got to read the manual and figure it out. It's a little challenging saying nine letters in the last name," he said Monday. "It's OK. There's people that have unique names, but we're good. It's happened since I've been in kindergarten."

Ajirotutu, who played at Fresno State, is in his second stint with the Chargers.

He's played mostly on special teams this year. The winning TD pass was the only time he was targeted Sunday.

"The ball wasn't really in the air really that long because I beat him," he said, referring to cornerback Sean Smith. "It was a perfect throw. It was just catch the ball. It was right there."

Tutu, as he's known to teammates, has just three catches for 64 yards and one TD this year.

"I feel like I can play," he said. "I feel like I can stretch it. I feel like I can do whatever they ask me to do. I can play. I can play. I can play," he said, repeating himself for emphasis.

"I'm just ready to go. Whenever my time's called on, just put me in there. Whenever I need to be ready, I'll be ready."

While Ajirotutu had the game's biggest catch, rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen had nine catches for 124 yards and second-year tight end Ladarius Green had three catches for 80 yards and one TD.

The Chargers (5-6) host Andrew Dalton and the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. San Diego will play four of its final five games at home. The Chargers are 2-2 at home this season after going 3-5 at Qualcomm Stadium last year.

San Diego is still alive in the race for the AFC's second wild-card spot, but is behind three other teams due to tiebreakers.

Sunday's win aside, they have a lot to work on. They were called for pass interference three times in the span of four snaps at one point, helping to set up Jamaal Charles' 1-yard TD run to give the Chiefs a 21-17 lead in the third quarter.

Cornerback Derek Cox, who's had a rough season, was burned on two long passes, including one touchdown.

Cox was benched for the third time in four games.

"We're going to let the guys compete this week, and let them go," rookie coach Mike McCoy said. "We've made changes before. We're going to let the DBs compete this week and we'll find out what we think is the best combination for us. We're going to do what's best moving forward."

Rookie tackle D.J. Fluker, who's protected Rivers' blind side the last two games after starting the season at right tackle, was hurt blocking on the PAT following Ajirotutu's touchdown. Defensive end Corey Liuget was hurt on the final drive.

McCoy, who's loathe to discuss injuries, said only that it was "so far so good on everybody. Everything came out OK."

 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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