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Once again, Tomlinson delivers against Raiders

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Sunday, Oct 14, 2007
    By Casey Pearce, Chargers.com

    There’s something about the Raiders that brings out the best in LaDainian Tomlinson.

    “It’s weird. We always have some success running the football (against them),” Tomlinson said.

    Tomlinson turned in his 40<SUP>th</SUP> 100-yard rushing performance of his career Sunday with 198 yards on just 24 carries. It was his sixth 100-yard game against the Raiders, and his four touchdowns gave him 16 in 13 career games against Oakland.

    Following the game, Head Coach Norv Turner was asked if he was aware of any secrets to LT’s success against the Raiders.

    “If I would have known that I would have done something about it a couple years ago,” Turner said in reference to his tenure as Oakland’s head coach. “He’s just a special player.”

    Like many teams the Chargers have faced this season, the Raiders regularly committed eight men to the box in hopes of slowing the run. Tomlinson credited his coaching staff with finding ways to counter the tactic. Turner applauded Tomlinson for his ability to shake through the first level of defenders on several occasions and break off long runs.

    “He can find a crease and once he gets through against eight-man fronts, obviously there’s a lot of room to run,” Turner said.

    Tomlinson had seven carries of 10 yards or more Sunday.

    LT made a little history Sunday as well. With four rushing touchdowns, he now has 106 on his career, tying him with Jim Brown for fourth all time. He has 118 total touchdowns, 10<SUP>th</SUP> all time.

    What a rush

    The Chargers recorded a season-high six sacks as a team Sunday as the Bolts held the Raiders to just 246 total yards.

    “That was just going out and getting after people,” linebacker Shawn Merriman said. “After a while they starting maxing up and I had two guys on me, but that's going happen all year. When you're name is called you've got to go out and make plays.”
    Merriman had 2.5 sacks on the game. It was his 10<SUP>th</SUP> multi-sack game of his career, and the Chargers are 9-1 in such contests. Fellow linebacker Shaun Phillips added two. Defensive end Igor Olshansky shared a sack with Merriman and defensive end Luis Castillo picked up his first sack of the season.

    Bolts defenders said that the team didn’t do much differently in terms of scheme. He and his fellow rushers simply answered the call. They also got help from solid secondary play.

    “Our defensive backs did a heck of a job in coverage so that we had time to get after them,” Merriman said.

    Turner pointed out that the team’s quick start helped the pass rush as well.

    “I think the way that we’ve played on offense has helped us defensively,” Turner said. “The last two weeks we’ve had long drives for touchdowns and then bang get a turnover, that creates a lot of problems for the offensive team and gives your defense an advantage.”

    Center of attention

    The Chargers won’t know for a couple of days if Nick Hardwick will miss much time due to the foot injury he suffered Sunday afternoon, but they do know that they have a more than reliable fill in if their Pro Bowl snapper is sidelined.

    Hardwick left the game on the opening drive of the first quarter and did not return. In stepped eighth-year veteran Cory Withrow, and the offense had their second-biggest outing of the season.

    “That shows the value of having a veteran backup,” Hardwick said. “You can see in the run game nothing slowed down. He looked good.”

    Turner was also very complimentary of Withrow’s play.

    “That was something for Cory to come in and play the way that he did,” Turner said. “For us to not miss a beat or appear not to miss a beat, that was big when you can have a guy step up like that.”

    Spreading it out

    Tight end Antonio Gates may have fallen behind the league leaders in receptions Sunday, but that was fine with him.
    “I’ll take the win,” Gates said. “When I’m double teamed, it gives other guys opportunities in the passing game. That’s what happened today.”

    Gates led the Chargers with three receptions for 58 yards, but several others were more involved Sunday. Seven Bolts caught passes Sunday as multiple players made impacts. Wide receiver Malcom Floyd had two key catches, one a 16-yarder on 3<SUP>rd</SUP>-and-7 on the opening drive. Tight end Brandon Manumaleuna also had a key first down catch, and Buster Davis moved the chains twice with timely plays.

    Medical update

    Including Hardwick, the Chargers reported four injuries Sunday. Davis and defensive end Jacques Cesaire suffered sprained ankles and guard Mike Goff injured his thumb.

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