That was the San Diego Chargers of the past. They could neither stop the run nor pave the way for their running backs. Then came LaDainian Tomlinson and it all changed. On Sunday, however, the offensive line showed it can grow out of the shadows and so did Jesse Chatman. Sunny indeed. ">

That was the San Diego Chargers of the past. They could neither stop the run nor pave the way for their running backs. Then came LaDainian Tomlinson and it all changed. On Sunday, however, the offensive line showed it can grow out of the shadows and so did Jesse Chatman. Sunny indeed. ">

Chargers run wild

<i>"…and you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking and racing around to come up behind you again."</i><br><br> That was the San Diego Chargers of the past. They could neither stop the run nor pave the way for their running backs. Then came LaDainian Tomlinson and it all changed. On Sunday, however, the offensive line showed it can grow out of the shadows and so did Jesse Chatman. Sunny indeed.

"They really controlled the line of scrimmage," LaDainian Tomlinson said of the offensive line. "Marty (Schottenheimer) gave all of the offensive line a game ball. That tells you that them guys won the game for us. A hundred seventy something yards against that defense is tremendous."

It was 176 yards that the Chargers were able to muster on the ground.

"I wouldn't have thought there was any chance in the world that you would rush for over 150 yards against that group," Schottenheimer said. "Down the middle they are real strong. It is a real tribute to the offensive line to have a day like that against that group."

"We didn't show up with our run defense today," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. "It was not a matter of physically not being able to hold up, it was too many mental errors. To be plain honest, it is embarrassing. As a coaching staff, we have to take responsibility to prepare ours guys better."

Tomlinson, however, averaged less then three yards per carry. He toted the rock 19 times and gained just 56 yards. But when the ball went to Jesse Chatman…wow!

The former undrafted rookie out of Eastern Washington had 11carries for 103 yards, both career highs. He had a 31 yard run which at the time was a career high and he surpassed that mark on his very next carry, a 41 yard touchdown scamper.

And each year the question was raised and the fences got crowded. The debate began and afterwards, no one was the wiser. Although it sounds like the Presidential debate, this is the debate of whether the Chargers had a backup running back worthy of being mentioned.

Clearly they do.

"Some people had some doubt about Jesse," Schottenheimer said. "The young man is a heck of a runner. I have always been a big fan of that youngster. He set multiple records back in college. He has gotten himself into the kind of playing condition, you just have to watch him. He is a talented young man.

"All week the coaches told me I had a good feel for our running game," Chatman said. "I just tried to be patient and make good reads. My blocking, both from the line and the wide receivers, was great."

What made it possible was a tender groin suffered by Tomlinson. It is an injury that slowly deteriorates and hampers a player more throughout the game. With the team in command, there was no reason to bring Tomlinson back.

It is something many have called for in the past – the occasional spell.

And then there was the play of Chatman and the offensive line. They came out swinging.

"He could have gone back into the game," Schottenheimer said of Tomlinson. "He has a groin that bothers him from time to time. If we needed him, he would have been back in the game. The fact that Jesse was performing like he did made those decisions much easier."

"At times when I got hit it stretched out the wrong way," Tomlinson said. "It bothered me a little bit.

"That is why we have Jesse. He came in and did a great job."

Tomlinson prescribed rest for himself. He said he was at about 80 percent on Sunday and with two days off he would be able to ease back into it. He hoped it would not be a problem for their road game against Atlanta – the official Tomlinson vs. Michael Vick game.

The Chargers traded their top pick in 2001, essentially the rights to draft Vick, for the fifth overall pick which turned out to be Tomlinson, Tim Dwight, eventual second round pick Reche Caldwell and since departed Tay Cody.

Ironically, Tomlinson referred to Vick on Sunday – after he got sacked.

"No sacks except the sack I gave up," Tomlinson said laughing. "I tried to be like Mike."

"He tried his Michael Vick impersonation and it didn't work," left tackle Roman Oben said. "He should stick to running the ball."

Vick, however, was sacked six times on Sunday, so perhaps he was exactly like Mike.

Lightning quicks:

Schottenheimer alluded to a problem that Chatman and he renew each year. The subject involved his weight. Schottenheimer feels that Chatman has to place close attention to his weight or he could seriously alter his game in a negative manner.

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