Tomlinson and Ball Control

So we preached ball control and LaDainian Tomlinson getting the rock as many times as possible. Tomlinson had to rid himself of the hex that Oakland had created on him during his rookie year. A year later, and much wiser Tomlinson is a key factor in the success of the Chargers. Giving him the ball also meant winning the time possession battle.

In his two previous meetings with Oakland, LaDainian Tomlinson was held to 114 on 39 carries for a 2.9 average per carry. Funny, he would equal his total carries between those two games with 39 carries on Sunday. The difference is he gained 153 yards on those 39 carries. Tomlinson also caught 5 balls for an amazing 44 touches on the day amassing 181 total yards of offense. The rest of his team accounted for 161 yards of offense or 47%.

Tomlinson retook the league lead in rushing with 785 yards over Priest Holmes (766) with those numbers. Tomlinson is second to Holmes in most yards from scrimmage with 1,036 combined yards (785 rushing, 251 receiving) while Holmes has 1,113 total yards from scrimmage (766 rushing, 347 rushing).

So the idea was to run the ball and run it well. Judging by the number the Chargers accomplished their mission. Tomlinson had numerous runs of 10 yards or more. He did get caught behind the line a number of times but the persistence of Tomlinson and the efforts of the offensive line were the stars here.

On the final drive when most thought the Chargers would set up for the field goal to win the game, Tomlinson saw a hole and immediately burst through it for the winning score, a 19 yard run and a Charger victory in Oakland.

By allowing Tomlinson to run the ball, the Chargers were able to limit the Raiders time on the field. The Chargers easily won the time of possession battle, 35:51 to 27:47. The Raiders only had the ball 11 times; compared to the 14 the Chiefs had just a week before.

Run the ball, run it well. The Chargers did just that in a game where they needed to establish the physical side of their game in enemy territory. A game that has far more implications than just a win, it was a win in Oakland against a team they had not beaten in the last 6 tries.

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