Tomlinson hitting his stride

LaDainian Tomlinson isn't tired of breaking records. In fact, he isn't even tired.

Despite a torrid pace which has him rewriting the NFL single-season record book, Tomlinson is fresh.

That's unlike his previous two seasons when groin and rib injuries derailed a late flourish.

"It's been the last couple years that I have had nagging injuries," said Tomlinson, the NFL's leading rusher. "But the previous seasons before that, I've been fine and I felt like I did my first three seasons which is healthy."

The Chargers are in the same shape. Sunday's 20-9 win over the Chiefs nearly clinched a first-round bye.

It would appear the Chargers would need one after a march which has seen them play 12 consecutive weeks without a break. That early-season bye -- Week 3 -- would hit some backs, but not Tomlinson.

Tomlinson scored two rushing touchdowns in the Chiefs game, the 99th and 100th rushing touchdowns of his career. He's the fastest player in NFL history to reach the 100 rushing touchdowns mark (93 games).

"Every time you look up there it seems like it's saying he breaks another NFL record, team record," quarterback Philip Rivers said. "It doesn't surprise any of us. He's unbelievable."

And raring to go down the stretch.

"I feel strong and I don't feel like I've played 14 games to be honest with you," Tomlinson said.

Tomlinson's MVP campaign picks up steam with this showing Sunday: he sped past Paul Hornung's single-season points mark of 176; had his eight-consecutive, multiple-touchdown game, breaking John Riggins' standard set in 1983. Tomlinson's 85-yard gallop was also the longest carry of his illustrious career. Tomlinson ran his streak to eight straight 100-yard rushing games, another career-high.

He also takes over the NFL rushing lead from Kansas City's Larry Johnson at 1,626 yards. Plus, Tomlinson passed the 2,000-yard mark in combined yards for the third time in is career and first since 2003.

Did Tomlinson clinch his MVP bid?

"I don't know," he said. "That's for you guys to judge. For me, if it happens, it happens and it would be great. But I didn't think about solidifying the MVP at all."

Tomlinson said breaking Hornung's points record stands above the rest. "That has stood for some 40 years," he said.

Chiefs: That did it.

The Chiefs are not technically, officially, mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

"Not until they send us a letter," Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said.

But a realist can see that Kansas City, 7-7 after three straight losses all to AFC teams, are done.

"I'm a realist," defensive end Jared Allen said. "It's not gonna happen."

Indeed, the Chiefs are down to No. 12 in the AFC behind Cincinnati, Denver, Jacksonville, the New York Jets, Buffalo Tennessee and Pittsburgh.

Even though Edwards is holding out some hope of a miracle, knowing the season, in which the Chiefs were once 7-4, is over is difficult to swallow.

"It's hard," Edwards said. "Very hard."

Bernard Pollard blocked his second punt of the season, but it actually benefited the Chargers.

After the block, Kansas City's Derrick Ross touched the ball, but could not recover it. Since it was past the line of scrimmage when Ross touched it, the play was treated like any other punt.

San Diego recovered and regained possession at its own 15-yard line. On the next play, LaDainian Tomlinson ran 85 yards for a touchdown, putting San Diego up 14-3. It was the longest run of Tomlinson's career.

Pollard, who has a knack for blocking punts, had never seen a blocked punt end that way.

"I've never, ever seen it before," Pollard said. "It sucks, but we've got to go play the game."


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