Chargers run amok, not worried about the pass

Of the 59 plays that the San Diego Chargers ran on Monday against the Oakland Raiders, 48 of them came via the handoff. LaDainian Tomlinson led the charge through Oakland once again with 131 yards on the ground.

LaDainian Tomlinson has made quite a name for himself against Oakland. In 11 career games against the Raiders, Tomlinson has rushed 298 times for 1,346 yards and ten touchdowns; he's caught 45 passes for 225 yards and two scores and he's thrown two touchdown passes.

Tomlinson's 87 yards in the first quarter set a career-high for the three-time Pro Bowler. He notched his 29th 100-yard game with over seven minutes to go in the second quarter.

It was his sixth 100-yard performance against Oakland and his fourth 100-yard game on opening day. Five of his six 100-yard games against the Raiders have come in Oakland.

"That's the easiest thing to do in this league is turn around and hand the ball off, and if we can't stop people from running, it's going to be a long year," defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. "They weren't even thinking about throwing the ball once they got up."

Oakland netted just 45 yards in the first half – 13 yards less than what Tomlinson netted on one run.

Things got a little too predictable for San Diego to open the second half. They had used the running game nearly the whole first half but never went to play-action-pass to open things back up on the front lines.

Two series of run-run-pass were followed by run-run-run in the third series of the second half. On the fourth series the Chargers ran the ball six straight times. They did not score on any of those possessions.

"We just ran the ball, even on third down, because you don't want to put a young quarterback in a situation where you get a turnover," Tomlinson explained.

Opening up the fifth series with a pass, even a short pass in the flat to Tomlinson, kept Oakland honest. Rivers then threaded the needle with a bullet to Eric Parker and finished off the drive with a touchdown pass to Antonio Gates. That drive expanded the lead to 20 points and put the nail in the coffin – it just needed a little bit of passing to get it done.

There was some concern that Rivers wouldn't know how to respond if he had to shoulder the load but head coach Marty Schottenheimer pointed to his ability to make the play when necessary to combat that thinking.

"He did the things we asked him to do," said Schottenheimer. "When he was called upon he stepped up and delivered. He made a great throw to Eric."

"He managed the game in terms of doing exactly what the coaches wanted him to do," Tomlinson added. "Philip did a great job of managing the game."

Lightning Quicks:

The Chargers have won six straight games over Oakland. The last time the Chargers faced the Raiders in Oakland in a nationally-televised night game was Oct. 25, 1979. Schottenheimer moved to 12-8 on opening day.

"We got our asses kicked," left guard Barry Sims said. "In the second half, I don't know if we even gained any yards."

The first tight end to catch a pass for the San Diego Chargers? Not quite who you might expect – Brandon Manumaleuna.

The first pass downfield from Philip Rivers came on third and long, as he hit Keenan McCardell on the sidelines for a first down. Two plays later he hit Antonio Gates who beat rookie Michael Huff in coverage.

Kaeding is perfect on his last 18 field goals from inside 40 yards.


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