Turner comes through in critical time

Michael Turner's 83-yard run in the fourth quarter was the longest run by a Charger back in 33 years and is the third-longest run in franchise history.

"They (the Colts) knew we were running," said Turner. "We had the attitude that we were finishing the game up. We had a good push off the line and I was out of the gate from there. I didn't want to fumble and I was just concentrating on getting the 1st down."

"I didn't know he had that kind of speed, to be honest with you," added quarterback Drew Brees.

Only Keith Lincoln with an 86-yard run in 1962 and Paul Lowe with an 87-yard run in 1961 have traversed more yards than Turner's.

Turner ended the game with 113 yards rushing on eight carries – setting a new career-high for yards rushing.

"I wasn't really 100-percent," said Tomlinson. "But if I can't really be myself and give my all, then it's better that Michael (Turner), being at 100-percent, get us to move the ball. Those guys at 100-percent are better than me at 80-percent."

Turner became the first back to run for over 100 yards against the Colts this year.

LaDainian Tomlinson has been held without a touchdown for three straight games. It is only the second time in his career that he has been held without a score for such a period of time. Tomlinson was held without a score in four straight games to end his rookie season in 2001.

Of Lorenzo Neal's 28 carries this season, 18 have resulted in first downs (.643). His nine-yard run in the third quarter matched a season-high. He has not had a run of more than nine yards since 1998.

Drew Brees had his two longest completions of the season on Sunday, a 49-yard strike to Eric Parker and a 54-yard pass to Keenan McCardell. His career-long is a 79-yard touchdown pass he threw against Tampa Bay on December 12, 2004.

"The big pass to (Keenan) McCardell, we were in zone defense," Indianapolis head coach Tony Dungy said. "Brees bought a little extra time and hit him and that really was the play of the game."

Brees completed 22-of-33 passes for 255 yards with a touchdown. He set a new career-high in passing yards with 3,347 in the process. It is the third time he has surpassed 3,000 yards in a season and passed the 3,284 yards he set in 2002.

Brees is on pace to end the year with more than 3,800 yards. If he does so, he would become only the second quarterback in team history to pass for more than 3,500 yards, joining Dan Fouts, who did it five times during his Hall of Fame career.

Brees turned the ball over three times, fumbling once and tossing two interceptions. He has turned the ball over 18 times this year – 14 interceptions and four fumbles lost. It matches his career-high for turnovers over a season, as he lost 18 in 2003.

Antonio Gates passed the 1,000-yard barrier with a four yard reception on the second play of the game. It is the most receiving yards by a tight end since Kellen Winslow netted 1,172 yards in 1983.

Gates' sixth reception of the game, a one–yard reception in the fourth quarter, set a new career-high for receptions with his 82nd. He grabbed 81 last year in his first Pro Bowl season.

Gates is the team's leading receiver with 82 catches 1,026 yards and nine touchdowns. He also is the NFL's leading tight end in all three categories.

Keenan McCardell caught his ninth touchdown pass of the season on the Chargers first scoring drive, setting a new career-high. He caught eight for Tampa Bay in 2003.

McCardell is the Chargers second-leading receiver with 58 catches, 808 yards and nine touchdowns.

McCardell is the league's 19th all-time leading receiver with 10,571 career receiving yards. He passed Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens when he snared a 54-yard reception from Brees in the fourth quarter. The longest catch of his career went 76 yards, set December 20, 2003 while with Tampa Bay.

Vincent Jackson made a clutch grab on third down in the first quarter to extend a drive. He used his body to protect the ball and snagged a pass that drifted behind him on a short slant. It was his second reception of the year. As time ran down in the half, Jackson made his second reception of the game to setup a field goal.

For the second year in a row, the Chargers defense recorded four sacks of Peyton Manning. The Colts had allowed just 12 sacks in their first 13 games of the year. The Chargers have 42 sacks this year, tied for second-most in the league with Jacksonville.

"They came in with a really good plan, and their players executed that plan," Manning said of the Chargers defense.

Shawne Merriman beat Ryan Diem off the snap, grabbed a leg of Manning, and Igor Olshansky finished him off on the first from scrimmage for the Colts. Olshansky was given the sack on the play, his third of the year.

Merriman and Olshansky collapsed on Manning a second time later in the first quarter. Merriman netted the sack, his eighth of the year.

Merriman was in on his third big play of the game in the second quarter – in what was recorded as tackle for a loss – when he tackled Manning on fourth and one from the one.

His fourth big play was his second recorded sack of the game on the Colts opening drive of the second half – pushing his sack total up to nine for the season. It was his third multi-sack game of the year.

"Shawne plays with tremendous power," Schottenheimer said. "You saw that today. He really came through for us."

"What is good for our team is that the Colts have only given up 12 sacks all year and I think we had about five sacks today," linebacker Donnie Edwards added. "We knew we had to get into the playoffs with a win today because we shot ourselves in the foot against Miami last week."

San Diego starting cornerbacks secured their first and second interceptions of the year on Sunday, both off tipped passes. Drayton Florence intercepted Peyton Manning in the first quarter and Quentin Jammer picked off Manning in the fourth.

Only 19-of-58 punts off the leg of Mike Scifres have been returned this season, the fewest in the league among punters with that many attempts.

Nate Kaeding put four field goals through the uprights (36, 20, 48, 49) on Sunday to set a career-high for field goals made in a game. Kaeding had attempted four in Kansas City last year but made just two. It is also the first time in his career that he has connected on two 40-plus yard field goals in the same game.

Marty Schottenheimer recorded his 186th career win to tie him with Chuck Knox for seventh place on the NFL's all-time wins list.

Schottenheimer has coached nine games against the Colts during his career, winning four.


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