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21 best memories of 21

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    21 best memories of 21

    2-22 2010

    As we celebrate LaDainian Tomlinson’s nine breathtaking seasons in San Diego, Chargers.com takes a look back at the 21 most memorable moments of the future Hall of Famer’s time in lightening bolts.

    21. Becoming a Bolt – April 21, 2001 – The Chargers owned the first pick in the draft but swung a trade with the Atlanta Falcons, who wanted to draft quarterback Michael Vick. San Diego picked up Tim Dwight and two additional picks (3rd in 2001, 2nd in 2002) along with the fifth overall selection in 2001, the one they used to grab Tomlinson.

    20. What a Start – September 9, 2001 – LaDainian Tomlinson[​IMG]’s NFL debut gave Chargers fans a small glimpse of what they could expect over the next nine seasons. In his first professional game, LT rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns to help lead the Chargers to a 30-3 victory over the Redskins.

    19. Back to Back – September 30 - October 7, 2001 – LT rushed for 100-yards in back-to-back weeks 16 times in his career. The first time he accomplished the feat came in Weeks 3 & 4 of his rookie year. The 107 and 102-yard performances came against Cincinnati and Cleveland, two of the four teams that passed on an opportunity to select Tomlinson in the 2001 NFL Draft.

    18. Catching on – December 7-14, 2003 – In a year in which he became the first player to catch 100 passes and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season, LT also became the first Chargers running back to ever record 100 receiving yards in consecutive games. He caught nine passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns in a win at Detroit and followed that performance with an 11-catch, 144-yard outing the next week against Green Bay.

    17. Raider Hater – October 20, 2002 – In his first nine seasons, Tomlinson rushed for more yards against the Raiders than any other team (2,017). One of his most memorable performances against Oakland came in 2002 when he rushed for 153 yards and scored a 19-yard, game-winning touchdown in overtime in front of the Black Hole.

    16. Another Big Day - December 1, 2002 – LT’s second-highest rushing performance of his career came in a 30-27 win over the Broncos in 2002. He carried 37 times for 220 yards and three touchdowns and also caught 11 passes for 51 yards to help lead the Chargers to victory.

    15. Best in Bolts – October 3, 2004 – In just his 52nd career game, Tomlinson rushed for 147 yards against the Tennessee Titans to pass Paul Lowe and become San Diego’s all-time leading rusher.

    14. Rushing Title II – December 30, 2007 – In limited action due to the fact that San Diego’s playoff seed was already decided, Tomlinson rushed for 56 yards in a win over the Raiders to hold off Adrian Peterson and give LT his second-consecutive NFL rushing title (1,474 yards).

    13. Putting in Overtime – November 15, 2009 – LT scored a 16-yard touchdown in overtime to give the Chargers a 23-17 win over the Titans in Nashville. In the process, Tomlinson became the only player in NFL history to record three overtime touchdowns in a career.

    12. Air it Out – September 9, 2007 – Tomlinson threw seven touchdown passes as a Charger, and his last was perhaps the most significant of them all. Trailing Chicago in the fourth quarter of the 2007 regular-season opener, LT hit Antonio Gates[​IMG] for a 17-yard touchdown that proved to be the game winner.

    11. Four! – November, 2006 – During his run at the NFL’s single-season touchdown record, Tomlinson recorded back-to-back four-touchdown games in two of the biggest comebacks in team history. His four rushing touchdowns in Cincinnati helped the Chargers overcome a 21-point deficit in the second half, and a week later he scored four times to help San Diego win in Denver after the Bolts trailed 24-7 in the third quarter.

    10. Patriot Games - September 29, 2002 – LT’s first 200-yard game of his career came in one of the biggest games in the early part of his career. Tomlinson rushed for 217 yards and two touchdowns – runs of 37 and 58 yards – as the Chargers downed the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots at Qualcomm Stadium.

    9. Way to finish – December 28, 2003 – In the Chargers’ regular-season finale, Tomlinson rushed for a franchise-record 243 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime to begin what is now a 13-game winning streak over Oakland. Also that day, LT caught his 100th pass of the season, making him the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and record 100 receptions in the same season.

    8. One Moore Record – October 16, 2005 – Tomlinson tied former Baltimore Colts running back Lenny Moore’s NFL record by scoring a touchdown in 18 consecutive games during a win at Oakland. LT ran for a touchdown, caught a touchdown pass and threw a scoring strike to Justin Peelle, and in the process became just the fifth player since 1966 to accomplish the trifecta in a single game.

    7. Moving on up – December 14, 2008 – In the 2008 regular-season finale, Tomlinson scored three touchdowns to help the Chargers cap an improbable late-season run that gave them their third-consecutive AFC West title. His first rushing touchdown of the night was his 124th of his career, pushing him past Marcus Allen and into second place on the NFL’s all-time list.

    6. What a run – December 17, 2006 - The longest touchdown of LT’s career, an 85-yard sprint against the Kansas City Chiefs on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, allowed him break Paul Hornung’s record for points scored in a season. Tomlinson finished the year with 186 points to top Hornung’s 37-year-old mark of 176 set in 1960.

    5. Passing a Legend - December 6, 2009 – It was a simple 11-yard gain that carried significance far beyond the first down marker. On a fourth-quarter run in Cleveland last December, Tomlinson passed Jim Brown to move into eighth place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list. After completing the run, LT jumped to his feet, raced to midfield and pointed to the booth where the greatest player in Browns history was sitting. After the game, Brown congratulated Tomlinson in the Chargers’ locker room and the two embraced.

    4. The Clincher – December 19, 2004 - On a snowy afternoon at Cleveland Browns Stadium, LT rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns to help the Chargers clinch their first AFC West since 1994.

    3. Quite an Honor - February 2, 2007 - As clutch as he was on the field during his Chargers tenure, Tomlinson’s contributions to San Diego off the field were just as significant. At the conclusion of his 2006 MVP season, LT was awarded the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. The honor, named after Tomlinson’s childhood idol, recognizes on-field excellence as well as charitable contributions. LT’s “Touching Lives Foundation” hosts events throughout the year, including youth football camps in San Diego and Texas, a golf tournament, a fishing trip for kids from The Monarch School for homeless and at-risk teens in San Diego, a Thanksgiving program in which they provide more than 2,100 San Diego families with complete holiday dinners and a Christmas program in which they give away more than 1,500 holiday gifts to the patients at San Diego’s Children’s Hospital and Health Center.

    2. Over the top – January 6, 2008 - Including the postseason, LT scored 157 touchdowns in a Chargers uniform. Perhaps his most special one came on a rainy Saturday afternoon in January of 2008. With just under nine minutes remaining in San Diego’s Wild Card playoff game, the Chargers led 10-6. Rather than kick a field goal, Norv Turner opted to try to make it a two-score game on a 4th-and-goal from the one yard line. Tomlinson took the Philip Rivers[​IMG] handoff, jumped above the pile and stretched the ball across the plane of the end zone for a touchdown that made the score 17-6 and essentially sealed San Diego’s first playoff victory in 13 seasons.

    1. Witnesses to history – December 10, 2006 - That’s what Chargers fans were on so many occasions throughout LT’s career, and it was fitting that Josh Lewin used the term in his well-known call of LT’s record-breaking 29th touchdown in 2006. As soon as Tomlinson reached the end zone, he was greeted by his teammates, who hoisted the new NFL touchdown king on their shoulders. LT finished the year with an NFL-record 31 scores. Last season, Charger fans voted Tomlinson’s record breaker against the Broncos as the second greatest moment in team history.

  2. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    LT timeline: A fine nine

    Monday, February 22, 2010

    LaDainian Tomlinson was released Monday after nine spectacular seasons with the Chargers. A look back:

    Highlights: One day after the Chargers traded the top pick in the draft (Michael Vick), they used the No. 5 choice to select Tomlinson, a running back from TCU. He missed all but three days of training camp, but signed a six-year contract that included a $10.5 million signing bonus. Started career with three 100-yard games in the first four weeks and wound up with a rookie club record 1,236 yards rushing and 10 rushing TDs. Ranked ninth in the league with 1,603 yards from scrimmage, breaking Lance Alworth’s franchise record.

    Honors: NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year runner-up (to Chicago’s Anthony Thomas); PFW All-Rookie team; team Offensive Player of the Year

    Highlights: Ranked second in the league in rushing yards (1,683) and third in scrimmage yards (2,172) with team-record totals, Also finished sixth in league in TDs (15). Had a pair of 200-yard rushing games against New England (217) and Denver (220), the latter setting a team record. Tied team record for running backs with 79 receptions.

    Honors: Pro Bowl; team MVP and Offensive Player of Year; second team All-Pro

    Highlights: Led NFL with 2,370 yards from scrimmage, No. 2 in NFL history behind Marshall Faulk’s 2,429 in 1999. Accounted for 45.9 percent of team’s offensive yards, also No. 2 all-time. Became first player to rush for 1,000 yards (1,645) and catch 100 passes (for career-high 725 yards) in same season. Finished season with club-record 243 yards rushing vs. Oakland and scored two TDs to end year with 17.

    Honors: Second team All-Pro; SI.com Offensive Player of Year; team MVP and Offensive Player of Year and co-Inspirational Player of Year

    Highlights: Led NFL with 17 rushing TDs and ranked second with 18 total TDs. Ranked fifth in NFL with 1,776 scrimmage yards and seventh with 1,335 rushing yards. Became just third player to rush for 10 or more TDs in each of first four NFL seasons and ninth player with at least 1,000 rushing yards in that span. Ended season with streak of 12 games with at least one rushing TD, second-longest in NFL history. Rushed for 80 yards and caught nine passes for 53 yards in first career playoff game.

    Honors: First team All-Pro; Pro Bowl

    Highlights: Ranked third in NFL with team-record 20 TDs. Was fifth in league with 1,832 scrimmage yards and sixth with 1,462 rushing yards. Threw three TD passes, tied for second-most in season by running back (since 1970). Extended NFL-record streak of games with a rushing TD to 18, which also left him tied with Lenny Moore for longest total TD streak in league history. Became first player to rush for 10 or more TDs in each of first five NFL seasons, the third to rush for at least 1,200 yards in his first five seasons and the seventh with at least 1,000 rushing yards in that span.

    Honors: Pro Bowl; team MVP and co-Offensive Player of Year

    Highlights: Recorded one of the greatest seasons in NFL history. Set NFL records with 31 TDs, 28 rushing TDs and 186 points; became first Charger to win NFL rushing title (1,815 yards), and also led league with 2,323 scrimmage yards. Became fifth player to rush for more TDs than any other team in the league. Set NFL records for most TDs in five- (15) and six-game (19) stretches; games with two or more TDs (8); games with four TDs (3) and games with three rushing TDs (5). Became fastest player in NFL history to score 100 TDs (89 games). Joined Eric Dickerson as only players to rush for at least 1,200 yards in each of first six seasons. Had nine straight 100-yard rushing games, a club record and tied for third all-time. Gained 187 yards from scrimmage (123 rushing) and scored two TDs in playoff loss to New England.

    Honors: League MVP and Offensive Player of Year; First team All-Pro; Pro Bowl starter; co-NFL Man of the Year; team MVP; runner-up (to Tiger Woods) as AP Male Athlete of the Year

    Highlights: Won second straight league rushing title with 1,474 yards and led league with 15 rushing TDs. Ranked second with 18 total TDs — the first time in his career he did not increase his TD total from the previous season — and 1,949 scrimmage yards. Threw his seventh career TD pass, No. 2 all-time by a non-QB. Became 23rd player to gain at least 10,000 yards rushing. Joined Eric Dickerson as only players to rush for at least 1,200 yards in each of first seven seasons.

    Honors: First team All-Pro, Pro Bowl starter (did not play); team MVP and Offensive Player of Year

    Highlights: Became the 17th player to surpass the 11,000-yard mark in rushing, reaching it in 117 games, the fourth-fastest ever. Ended season in 14th place on all-time list. Despite career-low 1,110 yards joined Curtis Martin and Barry Sanders as only players to begin careers with eight straight 1,000-yard seasons. Became fifth player to have 10,000 rushing yards and 500 receptions in his career. Scored three TDs in season finale to take over second place on all-time rushing TDs list and tie Terrell Owens for fourth place on the all-time TDs list. Reached double digits in TDs for eighth straight year; no other player started his career with more than three straight.

    Highlights: Set career lows in attempts (223) and rushing yards (730) while playing 14 games. Became fastest player in NFL history to score 150 touchdowns and finished the season with 153, third on the all-time list. Passed Jim Brown to move into eighth place on the NFL’s all-time rushing chart with 12,490 yards. Scored 12 touchdowns, making it nine straight years with at least 10.

  3. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

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