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Chargers "Bolt" into 1st place in the AFC west, beat Broncos 35-27

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=261119007">Associated Press</a>

    By Arnie Stapleton

    <img width="246" height="232" align="left" alt="San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson (21) heads to the end zone on a 51-yard touchdown catch during the third quarter of a NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2006, in Denver. It was Tomlinson's third touchdown of the game and his 101st of his NFL career. Trailing on the play for Denver is Champ Bailey. (AP Photo/David Zalubowskii)" title="San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson (21) heads to the end zone on a 51-yard touchdown catch during the third quarter of a NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2006, in Denver. It was Tomlinson's third touchdown of the game and his 101st of his NFL career. Trailing on the play for Denver is Champ Bailey. (AP Photo/David Zalubowskii)" src="http://espn-i.starwave.com/media/apphoto/b844cc7b-af77-433d-96ec-36526b42a959.jpg" />DENVER (AP) -- For once, LaDainian Tomlinson was relevant in the Mile High City.

    San Diego's remarkable running back scored four times and reached 100 touchdowns faster than any player in NFL history Sunday night, leading the Chargers past the Denver Broncos 35-27.

    Tomlinson, who has scored an NFL-record 19 touchdowns in his last six games, reached 100 TDs in his 89th game, four fewer than it took Hall of Famer Jim Brown and Emmitt Smith. He now has 102 TDs and also topped 1,000 yards rushing for the sixth straight season.

    It was his first win in six trips to Invesco Field and vaulted the Chargers, who rallied from a 24-7 deficit, into first place in the AFC West at 8-2, a game ahead of Denver.

    "Tonight we were able to stick with our game plan, and it worked for us," Tomlinson said.

    The Chargers became the first team in history to win back-to-back games after trailing by 17 or more points and also the first team to win four straight when allowing at least 24 points in each game.

    At 24-7, it certainly appeared the Broncos had taken Tomlinson out of the mix for the sixth straight time in Denver. But these Chargers are becoming the master of the comeback.

    "Resilient bunch of guys," Tomlinson said. "Our team, we're never out of it, and I think this is a very special team because no matter what happens, no matter how much we're down, we're never out of the football game.

    "We feel like we can score on anybody, no matter how many points we're down. We can score points."

    After Tomlinson scored his first three TDs, Phillip Rivers found Vincent Jackson in the back of the end zone to give San Diego a 28-27 lead with 6:45 left.

    The Chargers iced it when cornerback Drayton Florence picked off Jake Plummer's pass deep in Broncos' territory with three minutes left, leading to Tomlinson's fourth score, a 1-yard touchdown run with 1:14 left.

    However, the Chargers made things interesting, allowing the Broncos to drive from their 3 to the Chargers 32 thanks to a personal foul on defensive end Igor Olshansky, who was ejected for punching center Tom Nalen. The Broncos' hopes for overtime ended when Plummer was sacked and the ball didn't go out of bounds, allowing time to run out.

    Tomlinson rushed 20 times for 105 yards and caught three passes for 74 more.

    Having erased two 21-point deficits a week earlier at Cincinnati, the Chargers found themselves trailing 24-7 early in the third quarter after Darrent Williams' 31-yard interception return for a touchdown.

    It looked like once again Tomlinson would be rendered an afterthought in Denver, where he averaged just 53 yards rushing in his previous five trips.

    But he wasn't done and neither were the Chargers.

    Tomlinson, who scored on a 3-yard run in the first quarter, added a 3-yard TD run in the third to get to the century mark and cut the Chargers' deficit to 24-14. As usual, he didn't have a big celebration. He simply tucked the ball in his left arm and walked off the field to the Chargers bench.

    After Denver went three-and-out, Tomlinson jogged back onto the field and caught a 51-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to cut the Broncos' lead to 24-21 with 3:51 left in the third quarter.

    Jason Elam's field goal gave Denver a 27-21 cushion with 11 minutes left, but Michael Turner returned the kickoff 44 yards. The Chargers needed just seven plays to take the lead when Jackson hauled in Rivers' high pass and dragged both feet just inside the back pylon for the 5-yard TD reception.

    The Broncos took a 14-7 lead into the locker room on Mike Bell's two 3-yard TD runs, and Cecil Sapp returned the second-half kickoff 53 yards, setting up Elam's 42-yard field goal. Three plays later, Williams scored to make it 24-7.

    The Chargers quickly quieted the rocking stadium on Tomlinson's two TDs in a two-minute span.
     

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