Jesse Chatman is the first running back to gain more yards in a game than LaDainian Tomlinson since LT became a member of the San Diego Chargers. The last player to gain more than 100 yards rushing not named Tomlinson was Jermaine Fazande in January of 2000.
It was the first 100-yard game in Chatman's career and he now has two touchdowns on the season after getting none in his first two years. Chatman had just 36 career rushing yards entering the season. In five games this year he has 136 and is averaging 12.36 yards per attempt.
LaDainian Tomlinson ended the game with 56 yards rushing on 19 carries and the Chargers gained 176 yards on the ground. Tomlinson added 78 yards receiving on four receptions.
"We didn't think we would be able to run the ball inside at first," Tomlinson said. "I wasn't surprised. Our offensive line did a great job all day. When we ran inside, there were some yards inside."
The Chargers are second in the NFL in scoring behind the Indianapolis Colts. The Chargers have scored 140 points while Indy has scored 159. They are averaging 28 points per game and have scored 30 plus points in two consecutive games – the first time since the start of 2001 when they scored 30 against Washington and 33 against Denver. The 72 points they have scored is the most in consecutive games since scoring 77 in the final two games of 1993.
The Chargers have scored a touchdown on 11 of their 15 drives where they have entered the red zone this year. They were 3-for-5 on Sunday.
Antonio Gates recorded the first two touchdown day of his career. Last year he had two touchdowns the whole season and has three through five games this year. He caught eight passes for 93 yards. One of the scores came from 11 yards out on a delayed route and the other came from a yard out – a vintage tight end touchdown reception.
"That was actually a play we worked on during practice and it was wide open in practice," Gates said of the 11 yard touchdown. He also said he was wide open for the one yard touchdown reception.
More proof that it doesn't matter what route he is running, he can't be covered.
"If he is one-on-one, he is getting the ball," quarterback Drew Brees said.
Gates also made an acrobatic catch over the shoulder that was originally ruled incomplete but challenged by Coach Marty Schottenheimer. Gates got just one foot in bounds but the play was ruled a reception when the referee ruled that he was pushed out of bounds and would have gotten his foot in had he not been pushed.
Drayton Florence picked off his first pass as a professional in the second quarter against Byron Leftwich. Florence saw limited action as a rookie but has been a mainstay in the nickel defense this year. The former second round pick returned the interception forty yards and set up a Chargers touchdown.
Jamar Fletcher picked off his first pass as a member of the Chargers. The former first round pick supplanted Sammy Davis in the starting lineup and performed admirably. It was his first interception since Dec. 9, 2002 while he played for the Dolphins. He picked off Chicago's Chris Chandler.
"Anytime you get pressure on the quarterback, it is going to make it easy on us," Fletcher said.
Mike Scifres had four punts and all four dropped inside the twenty yard line. Three went for fair catches and the fourth was returned one yard. Only six of his 22 punts have been returned this year.
"In the kicking game we did a terrific job," Marty Schottenheimer said. "The punter is a weapon. Right now he is in the groove and feeling good about it. He is a weapon. It is not a problem to fail on third down and have him give you 50-60 yards of field position."
Denis Savage can be reached at email@example.com