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San Diego Chargers 28 Oakland Raiders 14
Chargers 28 : Raiders 14
The game of Oakland Raiders versus San Diego Chargers was attended by a crowd of 67,523 fans and supporters. The game was full of excitement and fun. It was held on a Sunday afternoon at Qualcomm Stadium.
During the first quarter, the team of San Diego took a 14-0 lead with 6:51 left in the clock. LaDainian Tomlinson capped the opening drive with a 3-yard leap over the pile then scored on a 27-yard misdirection play after cornerback Drayton Florence intercepted Daunte Culpepper. With 5:18 left, Culpepper threw a 1-yard, fourth-down TD to Zach Miller.
The Oakland Raiders closed to 14-7 as linebacker Thomas Howard intercepted a horribly thrown pass by Rivers and returned it 66 yards, high stepping the last 25 yards into the end zone. The interception began just three plays after Shane Lechler got mixed up and ran a fake punt even though the Raiders had audibled away from it. He was stuffed for a four-yard loss. “Ten of 11 guys got it; Shane didn't,” said Lane Kiffin.
The team of Oakland had the ball first-and-goal from the San Diego’s 1 and could have tied it 14-all at halftime, but Daunte Culpepper was sacked twice, and fumbled the second time.
With 2:43 left, the reigning league MVP scored for the final time thrilling the Raider-hating crowd, and silencing the thousands of Oakland fans in the stadium. It was a simple off-tackle play that LaDainian Tomlinson broke to the outside. He dropped the ball and raised both arms in the air, after racing into the end zone. It was the third time L.T. rushed for four touchdowns in a game, and the fifth time overall that he's scored four times. Surprisingly, it was the first time he scored four touchdowns at home. “The last time we were here, they booed us,” said LaDainian Tomlinson. “It was good to hear them cheering us.”
The defending AFC West champion San Diego Chargers rebounded to .500 after their early season, three-game losing streak left everyone frustrated, especially LaDainian Tomlinson. The team of Chargers pulled into a tie atop the division with Kansas City. Two weeks earlier, fans mercilessly booed San Diego and chanted Marty Schottenheimer's first name during a 30-16 loss to the Chiefs. The San Diego Chargers can beat the Raiders without Marty Schottenheimer as their coach. Schottenheimer, fired in February, despised the Raiders and was 27-7 against them in his career, including the first seven wins in the Chargers' streak.
Norv Turner, who replaced Marty Schottenheimer, was fired by the Raiders after coaching them to a 9-23 record in 2004-05. Turner said there was personal satisfaction in beating his old employer, but that it was more important that the Chargers pulled to .500. ”We are getting better,” said Norv Turner.
It was LaDainian Tomlinson's eighth career 100-yard game against the Raiders. On the winning streak, Tomlinson has rushed for 1,142 yards and 12 touchdowns, while also catching one touchdown pass and throwing two. He can't explain his success against the Raiders. “It's weird,” Tomlinson said. “If I would have known that, I would have done something about it a couple of years ago,” cracked Norv Turner, who was 0-4 against LaDainian Tomlinson and the San Diego when he coached Oakland. “I don't know, but I like it,” quarterback Philip Rivers said about Tomlinson's dominance of Oakland. “He was outstanding. He's really starting to get going. Our offense is really starting to get going. When we can throw it in that 18-25 window and run the ball and be efficient, we can be pretty tough.”
On the other hand, the Oakland Raiders looked more like the team that went an NFL-worst 2-14 last year than the one that was coming off consecutive wins. Daunte Culpepper, making his second start, was harassed all day, which helped make the offense look horrible most of the afternoon. He was intercepted twice, lost a fumble and was sacked six times. “We played the way bad teams play,” said Lane Kiffin. “It's easy to see how the game got out of hand. We were lucky it wasn't worse.”
Chargers Shawne Merriman had 2 1/2 sacks and fellow outside linebacker Shaun Phillips had two sacks and forced a fumble. The Chargers needed only six plays to move 85 yards for the final score, leading 21-14. Certainly, almost half of that came on LaDainian Tomlinson's final run. “We said to each other, ‘Let's finish the game right here,’” Tomlinson stated. “The offensive line was jacked up. That last offensive drive was beautiful. I don't think you can script it better.”
LaDainian Tomlinson will never hate the Oakland Raiders like Marty Schottenheimer did; he’s too laid-back for something like that. At the rate he's going, though, Tomlinson might never lose again to the Raiders. LaDainian Tomlinson matched his career high with four touchdowns, rushing for 198 yards on 24 carries and leading his team to their eighth straight win over the Oakland Raiders, 28-14, on that Sunday game. He scored on runs of 3, 27, 13 and 41 yards to move into a tie with Jim Brown for fourth on the all-time rushing touchdowns list with 106. In the process, LaDainian Tomlinson passed John Riggins, who had 104.
It was a great game, indeed. Though the Oakland Raiders lost the game, they will continue fighting and working hard to win their games.
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