L.T. Runs 4 the Win

Sunday's 28-14 win over the Oakland Raiders hearkened back to last season's 14-win season. LaDainian Tomlinson chased, tied and broke a record, lifting the Chargers back to .500 and sending the Oakland Raiders to their 16th consecutive division loss.

--The Chargers and Oakland Raiders are five games shy of 100 meetings. The Raiders own the majority of the wins, but San Diego has won eight straight after Sunday's win.

--LaDainian Tomlinson has rushed for more yards against the Raiders than any other team -- he finished with 198 on Sunday. He credits his past performances to Marty Schottenheimer's grudge against the Silver and Black.

Under Norv Turner's laid back regime, Tomlinson fared just as well. He created an early lead with two touchdowns in the first quarter -- the pair created a fifth-place tie with John Riggins for all-time rushing touchdowns at 104. The second touchdown marked L.T.'s first multi-score game of the season.

A 13–yard run booted Riggins out of the No. 5 position and gave Tomlinson a touchdown trio in the third quarter. Tomlinson passed the competition again in the fourth quarter when he ran 41 yards and achieved his fourth score of the game and the No.4 spot on the all-time rushing touchdowns list. The Chargers are now 25-2 when Tomlinson scores more than one touchdown.

--Last season, the words Oakland and lead mixed like oil and water. However, the Raiders came to San Diego leading the league in rushing. The Chargers planned to stop the run and their preparation paid off. The Raiders were limited to three rushing first downs.

--San Diego's slow start brought the quality of their secondary into question. Prior to Sunday's win, the cornerbacks had yet to make an interception, but both Drayton Florence and Antonio Cromartie stepped up at home. Cromartie recorded his first career interception.

--Shawne Merriman broke out his Lights Out dance for the second consecutive week. No. 56 retired the dance earlier in the season, but his fourth sack of the year brought out the electrified jig. Merriman finished with 2½ sacks; the Chargers are now 9-1 when he has two or more sacks.

--Right behind Merriman was Shaun Phillips, who had two sacks of his own. Luis Castillo contributed with a sack as well. To round out the defense's half-dozen sacks, Igor Olshansky was credited with half a takedown.

--Nate Kaeding scored four points, all on extra points. He is now three points shy of 400 for his career.

--While the Chargers were running over the Raiders, former Charger Junior Seau was pulling down his third interception of the season in the New England Patriots' 48-27 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Last week, Seau became the oldest player in history to snag two interceptions in one game. Seau, who is 38 years old, spent 12 years with San Diego.

--Another former Charger, Donnie Edwards, notices a change in the linebacker position since his 1996 debut, which makes interceptions more common.

"When I was a rookie, there were a lot of big linebackers, guys who were more like defensive linemen who played tackle to tackle," Edwards said.

"Today, with the evolution of offenses and the ability of tight ends and running backs to be bigger threats in the passing game, linebackers have had to evolve, too. Now, you're seeing more versatile players, guys who can stop the run, rush the passer and drop into coverage. Linebackers had to evolve to do more things and now you're seeing more guys at the position who are truly every-down players."

Case in point: linebacker Thomas Howard made an interception on an errant pass from Philip Rivers and returned it 66 yards for the score. It was Howard's fourth interception and second touchdown of the season.


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