Chargers Deliver 'Gutsy' Win

In a star-studded game, it was Philip Rivers' and LaDainian Tomlinson's understudies who earned a spot in the Conference Championship. The Chargers took the turnover battle and won at the line of scrimmage to secure the 28-24 win.

--The Chargers upped the ante with their eighth consecutive win. San Diego's winning streak is the league's second-longest behind the undefeated New England Patriots, who the Chargers will face for the AFC title. This is the Chargers second straight season with 12 or more wins.

--The Chargers tallied more total yards (411), passing yards (312) and points (28) than any Colts opponent this season.

--Sunday's scoreboard changed leaders six times, the final time in the Chargers' favor.

--Billy Volek's go-ahead touchdown was just the third rushing touchdown of his eight-year career.

--LaDainian Tomlinson was forced to watch Michael Turner and Darren Sproles run out his role. Sproles hauled in a 56-yard touchdown catch for his first-ever receiving score. Turner rushed for 71 yards on 17 carries (4.2 ypc).

--The Chargers made good on the opening drive of the third quarter for the 11th consecutive game. Chris Chambers' touchdown marked the 10th time this year that San Diego opened the second half with a touchdown. Chambers has contributed at least two catches in every game since his arrival in October. San Diego is 10-2 since acquiring Chambers.

--Antonio Cromartie earned pick No. 11 with three seconds left in the first half. He returned the interception for 89 yards, although the return was negated by a highly questionable penalty. The pick marked Cromartie's fourth against Manning.

--Eric Weddle got involved in the turnover action. He earned his second-career interception and added five tackles.

--Mike Scifres hit his eighth punt of 60 or more yards in the last 12 games.

--Vincent Jackson tied the game in the second quarter with a 14-yard touchdown pass, but was seven yards shy of earning a second 100-yard playoff performance.

--The Chargers' offensive line continues to protect Philip Rivers. They have allowed four sacks in five games and just one in the playoffs.

Manning the Line

San Diego remains one of the only teams in the league able to keep Peyton Manning in check, but he held up better than his last meeting with the Chargers. Manning was more accurate (69 percent) than in the Nov. 11 meeting (61 percent) and threw four fewer picks.

Manning passed for his first 400-yard game this season. He cannoned out 402 passing yards, which marked the just third time in eight games that the Chargers' defense allowed more than 300 yards of total offense. Manning needed just 4 yards to become the eighth quarterback in playoff history to reach 3,500 passing yards. He reached the mark in 14 games, second-fastest in NFL history.

The Colts' high passing total was not for lack of effort by San Diego's defense. Shawne Merriman applied pressure to Manning early on. Merriman finished with five tackles and pressured Manning on a fourth-down pass late in the game that stalled a drive at the San Diego 5-yard line.

With 16 tackles against Indianapolis, Stephen Cooper celebrated his 15th double-digit tackle game of the season.

Amberly Richardson is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a correspondent for She has contributed to the official Web sites of Shawne Merriman, Lorenzo Neal, Shaun Phillips and others for Sixthman Communications.

SD Super Chargers Top Stories