Chargers 14, Lions 7

The San Diego Chargers went into Detroit, pitting brother against brother as the Chargers looked to get in the win column for just the third time and the Lions looked to continue their solid play at home. A solid first half put the Chargers up 14-0 and the 14-7 win temporarily took the first overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft away from the Bolts.

Zeke Moreno ripped the ball out of Shawn Bryson's hands on the Lions second Lion play from scrimmage and rumbled into the end zone. The problem, Marcellus Wiley was flagged for a face mask on the play, negating the big play by Moreno.

Two LaDainian Tomlinson runs of over ten yards and a key third down reception by Antonio Gates off his shoelaces put the Chargers in the red zone. Doug Flutie dropped back to pass starting between the hash marks before pressure forced him right and then back left as he tried to elude the pursuit. On his way back to the left he found Tomlinson wide open and connected for a 16 yard touchdown, putting the Bolts up 7-0.

On a second and 23, Flutie hit Tomlinson for 17 yards followed by a key grab by Kassim Osgood for a first before Flutie hit David Boston twice in succession for 13 yard gains on each reception. With some time scrambling right Flutie threw a terrible pass that was picked off by Terrence Holt at the Detroit 10 yard line. On the return, Holt fumbled right to Cory Raymer who could not secure it and it slithered through as Dre Bly was able to fall on it at the 30.

The Chargers had their biggest play of the day using a little trickery. On a toss sweep to LT, he started right, stopped and passed it backwards to Flutie who hit Boston on a cross 33 yards downfield. Boston had to climb a ladder to grab it. Two straight false start penalties on the line put the Bolts in a hole and they could not convert.

After a 31 yard punt return by Leon Johnson was negated by a Quentin Jammer penalty, Flutie hit Tomlinson on a quick hit and LT did the rest. After breaking one tackle as he caught the ball, LT went untouched the rest of the way, going 73 yards for a touchdown to put the Bolts up 14-0 with two minutes to go in the half.

Armed with three timeouts and 1:26 to go the Chargers went to work on trying to extend the lead. The first play went to Tomlinson on the exact route he ran to score his last touchdown. This one went for 17 and put the Bolts in Detroit territory. Flutie then tucked the ball and ran on the next play. He made a sweet move to cut inside rather than go out of bounds when James Hall slapped the ball away from behind. Jeff Gooch recovered for the Lions and took it to their own 41. Joey Harrington hit five straight passes to put the ball inside the Charger 31 yard line. Harrington then hit Bill Schroeder in the middle of the field with no timeouts to stop the clock. 14-0 Chargers at the half.

The Lions went to the air in the fourth quarter and Harrington hit two passes to Olandis Gary, one to David Kircus and a 25 yarder to Reggie Swinton to put the Lions inside the Chargers 20. Two plays later, Harrington hit Casey Fitzsimmons from four yards out to close the Chargers lead to 14-7 with 7:22 to play.

Detroit got the ball back one last time at the two minute warning with no timeouts to spare. A 25 yard return by Eddie Drummond started the drive off at the Lions 41. Harrington hit Swinton on third down to put the ball inside San Diego territory. Harrington was then called for intentional grounding for taking a step back before grounding the ball when he got up to the line. A quick completion brought up third down and the Lions were called for a false start running 10 seconds off the clock. An incompletion brought up fourth down and sixteen. Harrington hit Mikhael Ricks for the first down. Harrington tried to pick on Kevin House and Vernon Fox deep in the secondary, but the two proved up to the test causing two incompletions. On fourth down they tried one last effort to get it into the end zone, but it fell incomplete.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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