Lightning Quicks: New Chargers record

It was almost an afterthought, but LaDainian Tomlinson broke Chuck Muncie's record for career rushing touchdowns as a Charger on Sunday.

  • Tomlinson's one yard score with seconds to go in the first quarter extended the Chargers lead to 14-0. It was his 44th career rushing touchdown, giving him the Chargers all-time record in just his fourth season.

    "I've had a good career so far," Tomlinson said. "Hopefully, I can continue to build on the tradition."

    The score was his seventh on the year, moving him close to netting ten for the fourth consecutive year.

    The only others to accomplish this feat are Emmitt Smith (1990-92) and Barry Sanders (1989-91), who each did it in their first three seasons, and Eric Dickerson (1983-86) and Earl Campbell (1978-81), who each did it in their first four seasons. No player has ever rushed for 10 or more touchdowns in his first five seasons.

    Tomlinson rushed for 71 yards on 19 carries and added one catch for seven yards. The reception, his 261st, moved him into sole possession of ninth place on the all-time Chargers list. He moved past Freddie Jones in the process.


  • Drew Brees completed his first eight passes, helping to quiet the thousands of Raiders fans in the stands, and was 22-of-25 overall -- 88 percent -- for 281 yards. He had no interceptions for the fifth time in six games.

    The previous team record was 81.8 percent by Rick Neuheisel, the replacement quarterback during the 1987 strike. Brees completed 80 percent of his passes, 16 of 20, against Tennessee on Oct. 3 to tie Hall of Famer Dan Fouts for second on the team's all-time list.

    "We are really seeing how good we can be," he said. "It is exciting."

    Brees has thrown 14 touchdown passes against just three interceptions this year, compared to his 15 interceptions and 11 TDs last year.

    His five touchdown throws were a career high – besting his previous high of three which he accomplished twice – once in 2003 and once in 2002. You have to go back to 1982 to find a Charger quarterback who threw for five touchdowns in one game – Dan Fouts.

    Brees has led the Chargers to a 4-1 record this month while completing over 73 percent of his passes (99 of 134) for 1,121 yards with eleven touchdowns and one interception.


  • The Chargers were 3-for-4 in goal-to-go scoring on Sunday – the first time all year that they failed to score when inside their opponents' ten. They entered the game 12-for-12 with ten touchdowns and two field goals.

    They have converted 20 of their 28 red zone chances into touchdowns and have scored on 26 of those 28 chances.

    The Bolts only had five third down opportunities on the day and converted just one of them. With Brees passing so well, they weren't in many third down chances – converting on first and second down as witnessed by their 33 first downs on the day.


  • The Chargers run defense allowed 22 yards rushing on 11 carries – a 2.0 average. The Raiders abandoned the run early on when the Chargers built a big lead. The Chargers entered the game allowing just 3.6 yards per carry. The Bolts have held five of the eight teams they have faced to under 100 yards rushing.


  • Antonio Gates had his second two touchdown day of the season. He entered the year with two touchdowns for his career. He has five more this year. Gates caught five passes for 63 yards and now leads all tight ends in receptions, passing Eric Johnson.

    "We've got to cover 85 because he's the biggest factor on their team," Sapp said, explaining what the Raider coaching staff has prepared them for. "No way 85's supposed to be open in the red zone. Rob made a point of it all week long. Then he's in the end zone, and we don't have a soul on him. And that was the most disheartening thing."

    "Anytime that cannon goes off, it fires me up," Gates said. "It is a compliment to the whole team."


  • Clinton Hart got his first interception as a member of the Chargers. Sammy Davis also had a late pick – his first of the year and third in his career. Davis also recorded two passes defended – a week after he was on the bench to start the game.


  • Nick Hardwick left the game in the second quarter with a concussion and took himself out of action after feeling unclear about what the next play was going to be. David Brandt replaced him in the lineup but Hardwick returned later in the game. Afterwards, the starting center reported he was fine and would be fit for next Sunday's game against New Orleans.

    "I got kicked in the head and was out on my feet," he said. "I started to clear up and was ready to roll again."


  • Denis Savage can be reached at denis@sandiegosports.net

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