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Inside Slant

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

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm">USA Today</a>
    <div class="inside-copy"><img width="178" height="265" align="left" alt="LaDainian Tomlinson celebrates his 85-yard touchdown run in the second quarter." title="LaDainian Tomlinson celebrates his 85-yard touchdown run in the second quarter." src="http://photos.signonsandiego.com/gallery1.5/albums/061217chiefs/SMHchargers260223x007.jpg" /> LaDainian Tomlinson isn't tired of breaking records. In fact, he isn't even tired.</div>
    <p class="inside-copy">Despite a torrid pace which has him rewriting the NFL single-season record book, Tomlinson is fresh.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">That's unlike his previous two seasons when groin and rib injuries derailed a late flourish.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"It's been the last couple years that I have had nagging injuries," said Tomlinson, the NFL's leading rusher. "But the previous seasons before that, I've been fine and I felt like I did my first three seasons which is healthy."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers are in the same shape. Sunday's 20-9 win over the Chiefs nearly clinched a first-round bye.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> It would appear the Chargers would need one after a march which has seen them play 12 consecutive weeks without a break. That early-season bye - Week 3 - would hit some backs, but not Tomlinson.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Tomlinson scored two rushing touchdowns in the Chiefs game, the 99th and 100th rushing touchdowns of his career. He's the fastest player in NFL history to reach the 100 rushing touchdowns mark (93 games).</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"Every time you look up there it seems like it's saying he breaks another NFL record, team record," quarterback Philip Rivers said. "It doesn't surprise any of us. He's unbelievable."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">And raring to go down the stretch.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"I feel strong and I don't feel like I've played 14 games to be honest with you," Tomlinson said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB LaDainian Tomlinson's MVP campaign picks up steam with this showing Sunday: he sped past Paul Hornung's single-season points mark of 176; had his eight-consecutive, multiple-touchdown game, breaking John Riggins' standard set in 1983. Tomlinson's 85-yard gallop was also the longest carry of his illustrious career. Tomlinson ran his streak to eight straight 100-yard rushing games, another career-high.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">He also takes over the NFL rushing lead from Kansas City's Larry Johnson at 1,626 yards. Plus, Tomlinson passed the 2,000-yard mark in combined yards for the third time in is career and first since 2003.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Did Tomlinson clinch his MVP bid?</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"I don't know," he said. "That's for you guys to judge. For me, if it happens, it happens and it would be great. But I didn't think about solidifying the MVP at all."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Tomlinson said breaking Hornung's points record stands above the rest. "That has stood for some 40 years," he said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- One game after allowing a season-high 162 rushing yards against the Broncos, the Chargers' run-stuffers were back. The Chiefs, who had the NFL's leading rusher before the game in Larry Johnson, managed 90 yards on the ground. Johnson had rushed for 131 and 132 yards in his last two games against the Chargers. But Johnson found the going slow, gaining but 84 yards on 19 rushes; 26 came on one play. "To me this was a run-defense day," LB Shawne Merriman said. "That was important to us."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- Don't forget the pass defense which is on a roll; Trent Green had but a 57.5 passer rating. In the last five games, four have seen the opposing rating below 66.0 - it's the fourth time in the last five games that the opposing quarterback's passer rating has been below 66.0.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- The Chargers went 5-1 against AFC Wrest foes this season.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers' inactives were Charlie Whitehurst (third quarterback), WR Az-Zahir Hakim, CB Cletis Gordon, FB Andrew Pinnock, G Scott Mruczkowski, TE Ryan Krause, DT Brandon McKinney, LB Marques Harris.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- LB Donnie Edwards' interception was the 27th of his career, which leads all active linebackers. No other linebackers has as many interceptions since Edwards came into the league with the Chiefs in 1996.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Receivers coach James Lofton was a finalist for the Stanford coaching job that went to ex-Chargers QB Jim Harbaugh.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Keenan McCardell replaced Eric Parker on punt-returns when Parker went down with a neck injury. Parker's status is unclear.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB LaDainian Tomlinson absorbed a pretty good blow to his jaw in the game, hard enough to require an X-ray. No damage was found and he'll be fine for Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-ILB Randall Godfrey had one of his better games after missing last week with a calf injury. Godfrey, who is considering retirement after 11 years, had two sacks and six tackles.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Marques Harris (hamstring) should return to practice this week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Kassim Osgood is a special teams standout and eager to get a shot in the regular offense. He had a pass heaved his way Sunday and dropped it.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB Michael Turner ran without any hint of his recent hamstring injury. He could get more carries in the final two games if the Chargers curtail Tomlinson's role slightly for the playoffs.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">REPORT CARD VS. CHIEFS:</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASSING OFFENSE: D - Philip Rivers looked the way a first-year stating QB is supposed to. He was jittery, his passes were rushed, he seldom set his feet and he was bothered for the second time by the Chiefs' blitzes. The Chargers won despite Rivers and this is causing some to raise an eyebrow or two. His rating of 12.4 is no typo. The pass protection had a few hiccups, but seemed to settle down later. That the Chargers won this kind of game from their quarterback tells you how good - or fortunate - they really are.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSHING OFFENSE: A - LaDainian Tomlinson is nearly unstoppable. Everyone knows he's going to run, everyone knows he will likely go left and look for the cutback. Everyone knows and no one can do anything about. He goes for 199 yards and two scores, setting numerous NFL marks and solidifying his MVP bid. Run-blocking was sensational. Among the most physical efforts by the front five, fullback and tight ends.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASS DEFENSE: B - No big plays or glaring mistakes. CB Quentin Jammer has one of his better days in memory with team-highs in tackles (10) and passes defensed (five). Marlon McCree and Drayton Florence combine for 15 tackles; Donnie Edwards gets a pick. This unit gets help thanks to the steady pass rush. But the same can be said that the coverages were tight, allowing the rush to reach Green.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSH DEFENSE: A - Big improvement here after rough outing against the Broncos. Larry Johnson came in as the NFL's leading rusher and was held to 84 yards, although he did average 4.4 yards per carry. But overall the unit keeps its third rival in four games under 90 yards rushing. DT Jamal Williams dominated the middle, which helped Igor Olshansky and Luis Castillo on the outside.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">SPECIAL TEAMS: D - Dodged a bullet on blocked punt they ended up recovering; had a roughing penalty on another punt. Not too bad on the coverage side; Michael Turner gives the Chargers' return game a boost with a 58-yard return. Nate Kaeding was true on two attempts.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">COACHING: A - The Chargers were emotionally ready to play a team which had plenty of the same on their side. The coaching staff didn't miss a beat to remind the team the Chiefs had called them a finesse team (soft) after the Chargers earlier loss in K.C.</p>
     

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