It wasn't until the second drive of the second half did the Chargers offense make an appearance. The Chargers took over possession after a missed John Kasay field goal from 46 yards out. The two big plays of the drive came via newcomer Keenan McCardell who caught a ball for 23 yards and another for 18. It setup an eight yard touchdown from LaDainian Tomlinson and gave the Chargers the lead, 7-6. Drew Brees was 4-for-5 on the drive for 54 yards.
The Panthers came out with purpose on their first drive. Using Brad Hoover in place of Stephen Davis, the Panthers drove down the field with relative ease. Hoover had 28 yards rushing on six carries and Jake Delhomme went 3-for-4. The Chargers defense, however, held within the red zone and the Panthers settled for a 28 yard John Kasay field goal.
LaDainian Tomlinson began the Chargers first possession with a carry and fumbled the ball, his first since October of 2002. Carolina, starting the drive at the San Diego 34, quickly got to the 11 yard line. A Quentin Jammer pass interference call gave them first and goal at the one. On second down, Jerry Wilson was flagged for defensive holding and Carolina had a fresh set of downs. But the Chargers defense proved too tough and Kasay ended up kicking a 21 yard field goal to put the Panthers up 6-0.
The Chargers tacked on three points with 2:41 to go in the third quarter when Nate Kaeding nailed a 44 yard field goal. Tomlinson rushed for 18 yards and also made a six yard reception to put them into field goal position.
With time winding down in the game, Jesse Chatman was on the field and his muscle up the middle was called upon to clinch the game. After a key third down reception by Eric Parker that netted 18, Chatman broke through a hole in the middle and scampered 52 yards down the sidelines before being tackled. Three plays later, Chatman dove into the end zone to clinch the game, a 17-6 win.
Chargers second half proves victorious
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