Nick Hardwick's return came at a pivotal time for San Diego. First on the agenda was to help LaDainian Tomlinson rush past a Baltimore Ravens defense that allows less than 3 yards per carry. Tomlinson raised that number when he averaged 3.2 and rushed for 77, his highest total in three weeks. Those numbers kept Tomlinson off the weekly leader boards, but entered his name into the NFL's history books when he passed the 10,000 mark.
The ink is not dry yet, but Hardwick foresees his role in Tomlinson's milestone as a story that he will pass on for generations.
"Every time he does something, I feel like I've done something, when really, I didn't even make a block on that play," Hardwick said.
Tomlinson rushed toward a personal record, but Hardwick received a hero's welcome of his own. Tomlinson said the energy, confidence and leadership that Hardwick brings to the offensive line makes the team comfortable with him at the center of each play. For Norv Turner, Hardwick's performance demonstrated why he gets the Hawaii invite.
"Hardwick makes a big difference," Turner said. "Cory Withrow played well in there, but there is a reason Nick goes to Pro Bowl."
LT of Seasons Past
Last year in week 13, Tomlinson was on his fifth consecutive week of rushing for more than a hundred yards, a streak that continued four more games. This season, Tomlinson has broken the 100-mark just twice. The silver lining is that both of those games were against AFC West teams: the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders. The Chargers will face each lineup once more.
Tomlinson hopes he is still the same guy who seemed to break a record each time he touched the ball last season. Then again, Tomlinson conceded that he would never admit to losing a step, even after it was gone.
With the run slowed last Sunday, the Chargers passed their way around the Ravens. Turner gave the offensive line a pat on the back for the protection that Philip Rivers received.
Hardwick and his line would not have it any other way. He feels there are no excuses for failed coverage.
"We definitely take it personal anytime things aren't going right," Hardwick said. "Whether we are giving up sacks or Philip doesn't have time to set his feet in the pocket or LT can't make big plays."
Despite a 4–1 record at home going into last Sunday's game, the fans at Qualcomm booed their home team two plays in. Turner would like to say he does not hear the jeers, but there is no way around it.
"I don't think any game has been won on the first play of the game and certainly never been won on the second play of the game," said Turner in a plea for patience from the fans.
Centered on Hardwick
SD Super Chargers Top Stories
Dr. Roto's Week 2 Visionary DFS PlaysDr. Roto lists his Week 2 Visionary DFS plays for DraftKings and FanDuel as we approach NFL Sunday!
Week 2 DFS: DraftKings Secret StarsHave you experienced the fun of daily fantasy sports (DFS)? You can win $1,000,000 at DraftKings this weekend. For just $27, you can become a Fantasy millionaire. Or for $2, you…
Keenan Allen Hurt: Four Replacement PickupsSan Diego's stud wide receiver Keenan Allen has been diagnosed with a torn ACL. How do Fantasy owners and the Chargers deal with this significant blow?
Chargers OL Wiggins hopes for silent SaturdayThe offensive lineman is looking to make the active roster out of camp for the first time in his career.
SD Super Chargers09/01/2016