Chargers at Broncos preview

"We know what's at stake," says San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson. "First place."

Indeed it is, with the teams tied for the AFC West lead with 7-2 records. San Diego has not won in Denver since 1999. In fact, the Broncos are 5-1 over the Chargers the past three seasons.

But Denver will have to contend with a hotter-than-hot Tomlinson. Now the league's top touchdown scorer with 18, he has registered 15 TDs in the last five games, topping the all-time mark of Jim Brown over such a span (14 in 1958).

The Broncos have been able to somewhat rein in Tomlinson at home over the years. He has averaged 52.8 yards in five games in Denver, against 115.2 yards in five games in San Diego. Plus, Denver has their own TD-maker in wide receiver Javon Walker, with five scoring catches in his past three games.


STREAKS   5 of past 6
COACHES VS. OPP. Schottenheimer 11-22 Shanahan: 13-13
LAST WEEK W 49-41 at Bengals W 17-13 at Raiders
LAST GAME 12/31/05: Broncos 23 at Chargers 7. Denver S John Lynch forces 2 fumbles & records 2 sacks that directly lead to 9 Broncos points.
LAST GAME AT SITE 9/18/05: Broncos 20, Chargers 17. Denver K Jason Elam kicks game-winning FG with 5 seconds remaining as Broncos improve to 10-1 in home openers under Mike Shanahan.
BROADCAST NBC (6:15 PM MT): Al Michaels, John Madden, Andrea Kremer (Field reporter). Westwood One Radio: Dave Sims, Bob Trumpy, Kevin Kiley (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 125 (SD), 130 (Den.).


PASSING Rivers: 182-274-2,085 (3C)-13-3 -100.4 (2C) Plummer: 137-248-1,595-10-10-71.6
RUSHING Tomlinson: 190-932 (1C)-4.9-16 (1L) T. Bell: 151-649-4.3-2
RECEIVING Tomlinson (RB): 44-377-8.6-2 Walker: 41-731-17.8-6 (T1C)
OFFENSE 378.2 (2C) 308.6
TAKE/GIVE +9 (2C) +3
DEFENSE 299.7 312.4
SACKS Merriman: 8.5 (1C) Dumervil (R), Lang: 6.0
INTs Edwards, Jammer: 2 Bailey: 5 (T2L)
PUNTING Scifres: 44.8 Ernster: 40.9
KICKING Kaeding: 85 (1C) (34/34 PAT; 17/19 FG) Elam: 56 (17/17 PAT; 13/15 FG)


The team is one of two NFL clubs (Dallas) ranking in top eight in both total offense (No. 4, 378.2) and defense (No. 8, 299.7).

Head coach Marty Schottenheimer (198) leads active coaches in career victories (7th all-time).

Quarterback Philip Rivers (100.4) is NFL's No. 3 rated passer. In past five games, Rivers has two 300-yard games and eight touchdowns versus one interception.

Running back LaDainian Tomlinson has 15 touchdowns in past five games – most in NFL history over a 5-game span. Tomlinson has 98 touchdowns in 88 career games; fewest games played to reach 100 in career is 93 (HOF Jim Brown; Emmitt Smith). Tomlinson (44) is one of six running backs leading team in receptions.

Tight end Antonio Gates (8) is tied for second among NFL tight ends in catches of 20+ yards. Gates has a touchdown catch in four of past five road games. Wide receiver Malcom Floyd has three touchdown catches on 13 receptions.

Club outscoring opponents 64-20 in third quarter. Club has allowed 100+ rush yards in only three of nine games.

Linebacker Shaun Phillips has 8.0 sacks in his past eight games.


Club has won five AFC West games in row, tied for franchise's third-longest divisional win streak (11, '97-98). Team is 12-1 (.923) at home versus San Diego under head coach Mike Shanahan.

Quarterback Jake Plummer is 7-2 (.778) in career versus San Diego. Plummer (70) needs two touchdown passes to surpass Brian Griese (71) for third most touchdown passes in team annals.

Running back Tatum Bell scored career-high three touchdowns (all rushing) in last game versus San Diego (12/31/05). Bell has nine rushes of 10+ yards in past six games versus division (59 rushes; 16.9 pct.).

Center Tom Nalen will make 177th start Sunday, tying Tom Jackson and Barney Chavous for thirrd most starts in club history.

Defense has disallowed running back Tomlinson 100 yards in five of past six meetings and has not allowed Gates a touchdown catch (six meetings). Defensive end Kenard Lang has posted 2.0 sacks in two games in row for first time in career (147 games). Club has allowed 20+ points just two times on season.

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