The workers directing the shifting lanes had no control over the Broncos driving through. The result was a logjam.
"They do a good job of attacking and closing the running lanes," Tomlinson said.
The offensive line was not up to the task of keeping the opposition off their star running back. Several times he was hit hard – a rarity for Tomlinson.
"We did a good job keeping (LaDainian Tomlinson) contained," Broncos defensive tackle Monsanto Pope said. "Obviously he's got a great offensive line and he knows how to pick his holes."
Only after the lane was so narrow it needed the jaws of life to open it up did the Chargers change their own plan of attack. They finally started to take some side streets to open up the running lanes.
"We started running a couple of different plays – make them run a little bit. It was working. They obviously adjust to it – and that is a mark of a good defense."
Adjust they did. The Denver crew bottled up every possible route to the touchdown destination after a few plays.
With the defense bearing down on Tomlinson, the Chargers took to the air. Air traffic control was similarly unkind.
It is a situation they will likely be in for the next few weeks.
"They are coming at us," wide receiver Tim Dwight said. "We have to step up. When they stop our run, we have to step up. We are really good as a group. We have gotten to the point where we haven't thrown a whole lot in games besides the Texas game. We haven't had a game where we had to wing it like (Sunday)."
Cam Cameron may need to open up his playbook if he hopes to keep his job. To hear that they had to wing it does not inspire confidence in his abilities.
It seems that there was no passing attack on the backburner. And how could it not be with the opposition keying on the run?
Tomlinson may not have broken off a long run on Sunday and that hindered the Bolts but they will need some sort of aerial assault if they hope to stay close in games.
The line, meanwhile, has faith in its runner, if not in themselves.
"We'll put LT on any safety any day of the week," offensive tackle Roman Oben said. "Today, we had three or four times where he went eight to 10 yards and he had a chance, so there's still a lot of optimism."
Unfortunately, everyone in the league knows what the Chargers do. They will gladly take their chances at bottling up LT for twenty plays and giving up just two long gains. The odds remain in their favor. If the passing game ever opened up – well – why talk about the unlikely.
"It's a lot easier on the sidelines, in the stands," Rivers said. "We will get it going."
"It's like I've always said, I've tried to prepare every week like I was going to be the starter, so really, rather than being essentially two plays away, I guess you're one play away, if you look at it that way," Rivers said. "Obviously, I'll probably get a few more snaps, as far as with the plan, during the week. I was running almost every snap with the (scout) team, but I wasn't getting many at all, if any, of the plays we run during the week."