Tomlinson keys home victory

San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson has scored 11 touchdowns over the last four weeks, including three on Sunday against Cleveland.

LaDainian Tomlinson had just seven first half touches, gaining 43 yards, all in the rushing game. One carry for 41 yards in the third quarter proved how important it was to get him more touches. Tomlinson's twelfth carry of the game in the fourth quarter topped the 100-yard barrier for the day.

It is his 31st career 100-yard rushing games and third this season. San Diego is 23-8 when he crosses that threshold.

He scored his second and third touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the 20th time he has crossed the goal line two or more times in a game. The Bolts are 18-2 when he scores two or more touchdowns.

Tomlinson ended the day with 172 yards rushing, his ninth-best output in his career.

"He is a terrific player," head coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "As I have said before I think he is the best running back I have ever seen."

"We ran the football well and it was a good day for us," said Tomlinson. "We came out prepared."

Lorenzo Neal's 21-yard reception in the third quarter tied for his longest reception over the last ten years. His last reception of more than 21 yards came in 1996 while playing with the New Orleans Saints. Neal, incidentally, played in his 200th straight game.

Keenan McCardell fumbled the ball in the second quarter, just the ninth time in his 15-year career and just the seventh lost fumble. His last fumble came on November 24, 2003 while he played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

McCardell's 13-yard reception in the fourth quarter gave him 852 in his career, putting him in eighth place on the all-time list, passing Irving Fryar's 851.

Mike Scifres entered the game with only eight of his punts returned for a paltry 36 yards through seven games. The Bolts had averaged 4.5 yards per return on the season coming into the contest.

Things changed quickly on his first punt Sunday afternoon. He boomed a 58-yard punt to Dennis Northcutt who returned it 81 yards to setup a Browns field goal.

"One of the things people overlook is taking guys who are core special teamers and you have to insert them into the starting lineup all of a sudden the question becomes what kind of effect is that going to have from the fatigue standpoint to have them involved in the kicking game," Schottenheimer explained.

Scifres has not had a punt returned for a touchdown in his three-year career. He did land a punt at the one-yard line and it led to a touchdown after the San Diego defense kept the Browns from gaining any yardage.

Marty Schottenheimer has lost his last three coaches' challenges.

The Chargers are 5-5 wearing their Powder Blues and have won the last three and four of the last five. The Bolts have won seven straight November games. They haven't lost a game in November since falling to Kansas City in 2003. They have also won three in a row to Cleveland and six of the last seven.

The Chargers have six wins at the midpoint of the season for the first time since 2002 and their first 4-0 start at home since 2001.

"The support of our fans – it was electric out there," said Schottenheimer.

"We want to win every game at home," said Tomlinson. "If we do that and go 8-0 at home that will be an incredible accomplishment."

Head coach Marty Schottenheimer won the 192nd regular-season win of his career. He is one game shy of tying former Pittsburgh Steelers' coach Chuck Noll as the fifth-winningest coach in NFL history.

The Chargers lead the NFL in scoring, averaging 31.0 points per game. They have outscored their opponents by 114 points (248-to-134), second best in the league.

For the first time this year, the Chargers lost the time of possession battle. They held the ball for 27:06 after holding the ball for over 30:00 minutes in each of their first seven games.


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