Lightning Quicks: Chargers playoff bound

The San Diego Chargers clinched their first playoff berth since 1995 with their win over Cleveland and Denver's loss to Kansas City. The Chargers also clinched their first division title since 1994 – the year they went to the Super Bowl.

  • The last time the Chargers shutout an opponent was November 29, 1993 when they beat the Colts 31-0.

    The Chargers won their eighth game in a row on Sunday. It's the team's longest streak in a single season since 1987. The most consecutive games the team has won in a single season is 11, a feat accomplished in 1961. That year, the team finished 12-2 before losing to Houston in the AFL Championship Game.

    The Bolts are 7-0 this season when leading after the first quarter and 9-0 when scoring first.


  • LaDainian Tomlinson's one yard run in the first quarter gave him a touchdown in 11 straight games. That is two shy of the NFL record, thirteen, shared by John Riggins and George Rogers. He also scored from one yard out in the third quarter to give him 16 touchdowns on the year. All 16 of Tomlinson's touchdowns this season have come by way of the rush.

    Tomlinson's second touchdown of the day was the 58th touchdown of his career, raising his career scoring total to 348 points. Tomlinson tied Gary Garrison for second place on the team's all-time touchdowns list and fifth-place on the team's all-time scoring list.

    His 16 touchdowns are tied for the league lead with Shaun Alexander. He is three shy of the team record of 19 touchdowns held by Chuck Muncie with two games to play.

    Tomlinson rushed for 111 yards on 26 carries on Sunday, his sixth 100-yard game of the season and fourth in the last five weeks. With one 100-yard outings in the final two games, Tomlinson will tie the team record of seven 100-yard games in a season that he shares with Don Woods (1974). L.T. reached the mark in 2002.Tomlinson is the team's all-time leader with 23 career 100-yard games. The team is 15-8 all-time when he surpasses the 100-yard barrier.

    "He is a good runner and in the first half, he was able to do some things well, and make some good runs," Browns' linebacker Warrick Holdman said. "They had some good plays called for the defense we had out there. We made some adjustments and kind of slowed them down in the second half, but by then, we were too late and the damage had already been done."

    The Chargers rushed the ball 50 times on the day, their most rushing attempts since September 12, 1983 when they had 51 in a game versus Kansas City. The record is 58 attempts, accomplished back in 1977 against the Raiders.


  • Antonio Gates' 72-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter tied the NFL record for single-season touchdown catches by a tight end. He now shares the record with Wesley Walls (1999), Todd Christensen (1983), Jerry Smith (1967) and Mike Ditka (1961). His attempt at a dunk, meanwhile, fell short of making it over the crossbar. It was his only catch of the day.

    "The coaches did a great job in preparation," he said. "We saw some dents in the defense and took advantage of man-to-man coverage. Fortunately, we ran the right play and came up with a touchdown."

    "Just a miscommunication, a blown assignment," Browns' defensive back Lewis Sanders said.

    Gates also has his sights set on the overall team record of 14 touchdown catches in a season, which is shared by wide receivers Tony Martin (1996) and Lance Alworth (1965). Gates' 12 touchdown catches are tied for third-most in the NFL behind Philadelphia's Terrell Owens (14) and Indianapolis' Marvin Harrison (13).


  • The six passing attempts the Chargers tried on Sunday were the fewest attempts ever in team history. In fact, they blew away the old record of ten attempts set on December 18, 1986 in Kansas City. The four completions tied for third fewest completions in a game, tying the mark set in the 1986 game. The fewest completions in a game is one, set in 1998 against K.C.

    "High school," Drew Brees said when asked when the last time he threw so few passes. "I was 7 for 7 in a high school game, and that was the fewest number of passes I have thrown until today."

    During one stretch of the game, the Chargers ran the ball 19 consecutive times before throwing a pass to Antonio Gates with two minutes to go in the third quarter. Gates was called for pass interference on the play but the penalty was declined. The last pass they attempted was the touchdown to Gates in the second quarter, a span of 15 minutes and 27 seconds. That was the last pass the Chargers threw on the day.


  • Donnie Edwards intercepted a pass in the first quarter in the Chargers end zone to prevent a scoring drive. It was his fourth interception of the year which leads the team and each one has been huge. His interception against Kansas City setup the game-winning field goal. He returned one for a touchdown against Tampa Bay and his other setup a field goal attempt that was inevitably missed.

    "Donnie once again made an outstanding play for us," head coach Marty Schottenheimer said.

    His interception on Sunday led to a scoring drive and a seven point lead early in the game. It also prevented the Browns from scoring any points, at least a ten point swing in the game. Edwards had another chance at an interception in the fourth quarter but Jerry Wilson knocked the jump ball out of his hands with no one else in the area. Edwards ended the day with seven tackles.


  • Nate Kaeding, with three extra points moved into sole possession of third place on the team list with 47 PATs on the season. The team record is 55 by Rolf Benirschke in 1981. Bob Thomas kicked the second-most with 51 in 1985.


  • Strong safety Terrence Kiel has been voted by his teammates as the winner of the Ed Block Courage Award. It's an award that's presented to one player on each of the NFL's 32 teams who exemplifies a commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. The award is named in honor of Eddie Block, who spent 23 years as the head athletic trainer for the Baltimore Colts. Kiel and the award winners from the other 31 teams will be honored at a dinner in Baltimore in March, 2005.

    Kiel showed courage and resiliency last season as a rookie when he beat the odds and made a complete recovery after being shot three times during an attempted carjacking in Houston. Despite being shot over the Fourth of July weekend, Kiel made the opening day roster and finished the 2003 season with 59 tackles and two interceptions. This year, Kiel has started every game at strong safety and is the team's second-leading tackler with 84 stops.


  • Lee Suggs' 26 yard run in the second quarter was the longest run of the year given up by the San Diego Chargers. The previous high was 22 yards. Suggs also surpassed 100 yards rushing, just the fourth back to do so against the Chargers this year.


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

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