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Another strong start fizzles out in the end

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.pe.com/sports/football/stories/PE_Sports_Local_D_chargers_19.913b697.html" target="_blank">The Press-Enterprise</a>

    From News Reports

    <img src="http://bolttalk.com/images/chargersatdenver.jpg" class="left" alt="Week 2" />DENVER - When LaDainian Tomlinson ran for two early touchdowns Sunday, including one for an NFL record, it appeared both his and San Diego's problems in Denver could be over.

    But for the second straight week, Tomlinson's performance declined in the second half, and the Broncos beat the Chargers 20-17 on a field goal by Jason Elam with 5 seconds left.

    The Chargers' loss came on the heels of a tough 28-24 loss last week to the Dallas Cowboys. San Diego also failed to hold a lead in that game.

    "We have to finish games better," Coach Marty Schottenheimer said.

    Sunday's game started promisingly enough for Tomlinson, who took a pitch from Drew Brees and ran around right end untouched for a 16-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.

    The TD gave Tomlinson a rushing touchdown in an NFL-record 14 straight games and gave San Diego a 7-3 lead -- its first lead at Invesco Field since it opened in 2001.

    With the score, he broke the record he shared with John Riggins (1982-83) and George Rogers (1985-86), both of whom set it with the Redskins.

    Later in the second quarter, Tomlinson scored the Chargers' other touchdown with a 4-yard run up the middle to make it 14-3.

    Then, things fell apart.

    One play into the second half, Champ Bailey intercepted Drew Brees for a 25-yard touchdown, cutting San Diego's lead and switching the momentum to Denver.

    Tomlinson was barely a factor after that, gaining 11 yards on nine carries in the second half. He finished with 52 yards on 19 carries and -- for the second straight game -- no yards receiving.

    "Our offensive line is not giving him a lot of space," Schottenheimer said Sunday, adding he would have to examine closely Tomlinson's role in pass plays.

    Not even the return of star tight end Antonio Gates from suspension could help San Diego (0-2), which has lost 10 of its past 11 games in Denver. Gates had six catches for 80 yards.

    "They made some great adjustments in the second half," Tomlinson said of the Broncos. "We obviously didn't do a good enough job in finishing."

    The Broncos (1-1) had a surprise star in Ron Dayne, who came off the bench and ran six times for 38 yards in the drive that set up Elam's game-winning 41-yard field goal.

    On the winning drive, Dayne ran for 13, 8, 3, 3 and 1 yards. Then, on fourth-and-1 from the San Diego 33, he took a pitch around left end for 10 to set up Elam's kick.

    But it was Bailey's interception return for a score that started the rally.

    "Champ Bailey won the game. Let's call it like it is," defensive end Trevor Pryce said. "It shows how one play can make such a big difference."

    Sparked by that play, the Broncos allowed San Diego's offense only 41 yards in the second half.

    Brees was held to 175 yards on 15 of 23 passing in the game.

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