Chargers win big, 45-23

The romp was on – or so it appeared when the Chargers went up by 18 with just over nine minutes to go in the half. But Eli Manning found his poise and made a game of it – or so it seemed. The Bolts ran off a 24-3 run in the second half to grab their first win of the year, a 45-23 win over the Giants.

The Chargers knew they had to get the ball into the hands of LaDainian Tomlinson and committed to that on the opening drive of the third quarter. Tomlinson setup a reverse by taking a handoff and passing it on to Eric Parker – net result 30 yards. Two plays later, Tomlinson again took the handoff and took off left for a sweep. He pulled up after the sell and lofted a pass to Keenan McCardell for a 26-yard touchdown pass and a 28-20 lead.

The Chargers extended the lead to 15 when Drew Brees hit Antonio Gates over the middle from 11 yards out with three minutes to go in the third quarter. It was the first touchdown of the year for Gates.

A 58-yard kickoff return by Darren Sproles put the ball in Giants territory. The Bolts rushed their way into the end zone with Tomlinson netting 27 yards on four carries, including a five yard score – his third rushing touchdown of the game.

Nate Kaeding drilled a 44-yard field goal that was setup by a 62-yard sprint by Tomlinson late in the fourth to provide the final margin.

When Eli Manning opened up the game by hitting tight end Jeremy Shockey on a short route and Terrence Kiel missed an arm tackle, the early wind was pushed out of the San Diego crowd. Thirty-two yards later the Giants were in San Diego territory. The defense finally rose to the occasion inside the red zone, stuffing Tiki Barber on second and one and thwarting Brandon Jacobs on third and one, forcing New York to settle for a 22-yard field goal from Jay Feely, one of three field goals on the day. Manning was 4-for-5 for 55 yards on the drive.

The excitement was breathed back into the crowd and the team when Brees opened up with a bootleg after a fake toss to Tomlinson, hitting Gates for 19 yards.

Six of the next seven plays would go to Tomlinson, including his first two receptions of the year.

After Parker made a beautiful catch on the eight-yard line to give the Bolts first and goal, Tomlinson diced up the defense, staggering to the one before taking it in over left guard for a touchdown on the next play, his 15th straight game with a rushing score and a 7-3 lead.

The Chargers stayed with the Tomlinson theme on their second drive and he did not let them down. The Pro Bowl back bust off a 29-yard run to the Giants 15 and Brees followed by hitting McCardell for the touchdown.

On the Chargers third drive, Brees hit Gates twice for 27 yards, McCardell once for 27 yards before giving the finishing touches to Tomlinson, a three-yard touchdown run to put the Bolts up by 18.

The Giants would score 17 straight points in a span of three minutes and 23 seconds to close within one. Manning tossed a fade route to Plaxico Burress for a touchdown with Jammer on him. After a Tomlinson fumble, Manning drilled a bullet to Shockey between Kiel and Bhawoh Jue at the four-yard line. The next pass to David Tyree went for a score and pulled the Giants within four. Jay Feely added a 34-yard field goal to make the score 21-20 heading into halftime.

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