Chargers receive help from whole roster

A 14-2 season and a well-deserved week off. It wasn't easy – the San Diego Chargers received contributions from Pro Bowl players and backups alike.

Lorenzo Neal 43-yard run in the fourth quarter to seal the win was his longest since 1993, his rookie season. He had not had a run of more than 12 yards from that fateful day on September 5, 1993. One week later, his season was ended by an ankle injury. Between runs he has played in 208 games over 13 seasons and this is the first time he has surpassed 100 yards during a full season over that time.

"I've been waiting for that for a long time," LaDainian Tomlinson said of his lead blocker. "He's always talking about how much speed he has. When he got in the open, I have seen the speed that he had about 13 years ago and it was only for a 10-yard period. The funny thing is in the locker room Lorenzo said that when he got through the hole he was thinking to himself, ‘how in the heck did I get out here?' So that let's you know right there that the guy is not used to being in open field.

"He and Griff (Robert Griffith) are two old veterans. I tell you what it was like watching two turtles racing."

Rookie linebacker Tim Dobbins recovered the first fumble of his career, falling on a fumbled punt in the end zone in the third quarter. Dobbins has appreciated being able to help on special teams, especially since he has seen limited snaps on defense.

"Whatever special teams they need I am there," he admitted. "I can run down the field and hit someone anytime. I just want to contribute to the team in any way I can.

"The ball happened to bounce my way. I was surprised to see the ball bounce off the returners arms that doesn't happen every day."

The Chargers set a new team mark for scoring with 482 points, besting the 478 they had scored in 1981 with their second quarter touchdown from Philip Rivers to Vincent Jackson. It was Jackson's sixth touchdown of the season.

This year's squad also set a new record with 32 rushing touchdowns, blowing away the previous mark of 26 in 1981.

Monty Beisel intercepted Philip Rivers on the opening drive of the game, as Rivers short-armed a throw intended for Antonio Gates. He had been 4-for-4 for 37 yards on the drive and had Gates wide open in a soft spot near the end zone. The interception led to an Arizona touchdown.

He would leave the game for one play to tend to his ankle – Billy Volek came in – but returned and led the team to a touchdown.

Rivers ended the first half 17-for-20 for 196 yards with two touchdowns and the interception. His final stat line read 19-for-24 for 231 yards for a 117.2 quarterback passer rating.

Volek received his first action of season, subbing for one play and late in the game when Rivers was pulled. The backup quarterback went 1-of-2 for four yards and a sack. His main job was handing the ball off to Michael Turner.

Antonio Gates caught his ninth touchdown of the year on Sunday, hauling in a 33-yard pass from Rivers for the score. Gates has scored nine or more touchdowns in three straight seasons. He has also caught 14 passes that have traversed 20-yards or more and 70 or more receptions for the third straight year.

Clinton Hart had a key pass defensed in the end zone against Larry Fitzgerald before the half. Fitzgerald has seen 11 jump balls on the year, including the one on Sunday, and has come down with the reception seven times. That play held Arizona out of the end zone and while the Cardinals completed one more pass they were held off the scoreboard as the first half ran out.

LaDainian Tomlinson entered the game needing 41 yards for the rushing title and surpassed that mark with an eight-yard run in the second quarter. He also passed the 12,000 yard mark for his career in the first quarter. Tomlinson became the first San Diego Chargers running back to lead the NFL in rushing.

The Pro Bowl back extended his team-record single-season rushing totol to 1,815 yards.

They are the only team in the league to rush for at least 2,600 yards and pass for at least 3,300.

Michael Turner gained 88 yards from scrimmage, 58 on 11 rushes and 30 on one reception.

Nate Kaeding's 56th PAT following the Chargers first touchdown set a new team record for PATs, breaking the tie they held with the 1981 squad.

Kaeding's 35-yard field goal in the third quarter set a new single-season team scoring record for kicker-scoring with 136 points, breaking the mark that John Carney set in 1994 with his 135 points. Kaeding finished the season 26-of-29, hitting all 58 of his PATs. He has hit 129 consecutive PATs, the longest streak in team history.

"I am probably the biggest beneficiary of the team's success," Kaeding said. "I was glad to jump on the bandwagon a little bit."

Mike Scifres dropped three punts inside the 20-yard line, giving him 35 such punts on the season, the most in the league. Amazingly, only two of his 69 total punts on the season have reached the end zone for a touchback. He has dropped 89 punts inside the 20-yard line over the last three seasons.

"You're looking at a 14-2 team there that we gave basically everything they could handle," Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner said.


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