Sweet Revenge in OT

The Chargers won their third overtime game of the year, after missed field goals by each team, to push their record to 8-4. The Chargers scored 24 points in the second quarter after being down 10-0 and the game ended 30-27 on the leg of a Steve Christie 27 yard field goal with three minutes left in the overtime session. Don't forget the 271 yards of total offense from LaDainian Tomlinson, 220 of which came on the ground.

Denver got on the scoreboard first with a Jason Elam 54 yard field goal despite a poor snap. Steve Beuerlein hit Rod Smith twice on the drive for first downs. On one of the passes Marcellus Wiley had a hold of Beuerlein's jersey but he was still able to deliver a strike to a crossing Smith as he beat Alex Molden who was covering him.

The Chargers had a chance to tie it up a series later but Steve Christie missed a 42 yard field goal, wide left. The Chargers got lucky on the drive when a Tim Dwight fumble that was recovered by Denver was nullified by an illegal hands to the face penalty. It looked like the Chargers would capitalize after Brees hit rookie Eric Parker who spun away from Dennard Walker and gained 30 yards. Two plays later Parker had his man, Tyrone Poole, beaten by a good three steps at the goal line, but Brees was slow to deliver the ball and the play was broken up.

The Broncos would capitalize on the missed field goal. Clinton Portis burst through a huge hole straight up the gut and took one 43 yards to the house for a 10-0 lead with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter. There was only one deep man back on the play and he could not catch up to Portis.

What could have been a blowout...

On the very next possession, LaDainian Tomlinson took the ball at the 18 and ran it 76 yards down to the Denver 6 as he was tackled with the help of a grabbed facemask by Poole. It was the longest run of the season and his career. Wilson and Kennedy missed tackles on the play. One play later, from the 3 yard line, Tomlinson ran it in behind a solid block by Fred McCrary to bring the score to 10-7. The score was his 10th touchdown of the season and he becomes the first Charger back to score 10 touchdowns two years in a row.

After a spirited effort by the defense which sacked Beuerlein and had two stops of running plays in the backfield, San Diego came right back with their attack. Tomlinson took a run to the left behind a Stephen Alexander block and made two Denver tacklers miss before being pushed out of bounds 24 yards later. With the play he passed 100 yards for the 5th time this season. Then Reche Caldwell set up first and goal on an out pattern despite having his jersey held by Walker. Tomlinson then took the ball and began a spin before he ever got touched and spun his way with twisting churning legs into the end zone for a 14-10 Charger lead.

Denver countered with an empty backfield on the next possession. Beuerlein dropped back to pass and with the solid coverage downfield Dequincy Scott was able to break free of his block and sack Beuerlein who fumbled from the impact. Adrian Dingle recovered the ball and that quickly the Chargers had the ball at the Denver 17. Two penalties on Denver on third downs, one for pass interference and the other a personal foul for hitting Drew Brees out of bounds, gave the Chargers first downs and new opportunities. Tomlinson would take the opportunity and score from 5 yards out for his third score of the day to up the Charger lead to 21-10.

Then the special teams of the Bolts which has been a sore spot all year proved they are no better than previous weeks. Wade Rickey, with the Chargers enjoying all the momentum, put the kickoff out of bounds giving the Broncos the ball at the 40.

Beuerlein promptly threw a 47 yard pass to Ed McCaffrey. The veteran McCaffrey had Jammer beat by more than 5 yards and if Beuerlein had not overthrown him it would have been an easy touchdown. Instead, McCaffrey had to make an acrobatic diving grab. Two plays later Portis ran one in from 5 yards out to bring the score to 21-17.

Brees then led the two minute drill to perfection. He had four completions for 48 yards that brought the Chargers into a first and goal situation before they had to settle for a field goal just before halftime to put the Chargers ahead by 7, 24-17.

Richey would try his best to help Denver again coming out of the half as he skipped his kickoff down the middle of the field to the 20 which was returned 15 yards giving Denver good field position again at the 35. Clinton Portis then put the offense on his back rushing 6 times and catching one ball for 52 yards total. He then gave way to Reuben Droughns who caught two consecutive touchdown passes on the drive. The first was called back on chop block penalty on Portis and on the second reception Droughns broke tackles by Donnie Edwards and Junior Seau to waltz into the end zone and tie the game at 24-24.

A new ball game and it remained tied entering the fourth quarter. 24-24 between two 7-4 teams that sit atop the AFC West. The game everyone envisioned going into Sunday.

On the first play of the fourth quarter Beuerlein threw a ball behind Rod Smith that he tipped into the hands of Alex Molden who snared his second interception of the season. Molden returned it to the 30 yard line of Denver. The Chargers would settle for a 41 yard field goal by Christie and a 27-24 lead on one of the ugliest field goals ever seen. Trevor Pryce appeared to get a fingertip on the ball to change its course. How it made it through the uprights is anyone's guess.

Edwards then picked up his 5th interception of the year after he stripped a reception away from Patrick Hape and tipped the ball up to himself before returning it to the Denver 30. The Chargers would not take advantage of the great field position and instead fail to make a 4th and inches play as Brees could not surge forward on a QB sneak.

With 1:39 left to play the Broncos would tie the game again, this time at 27-27 on a 25 yard Elam field goal. The play was made by possible by Denver going for it on a fourth and six and making it on a slant from Beuerlein to McCaffrey. Denver got the ball after Christie again missed a field goal from 50 yards out.

This game was destined for overtime and that is exactly what happened.

In overtime the Broncos got the ball and San Diego forced a three and out which included a sack on third down by Leonardo Carson. The Chargers then got the ball on their own 41 to start. It became the Tomlinson show from then as he busted off runs of 9 and 25 yards to get within field goal range. Steve Christie would miss a 38 yarder, his third miss of the game.

Not to fret, Denver's Jason Elam would then miss a 53 yarder and the Chargers would get the last shot they needed. Brees would connect on two passes, one to Caldwell for 11 yards and another to Alexander for 20. Then it rested on the shoulder of Tomlinson to set them up for yet another field goal.

This time Christie would make the one to win the game in the Chargers sweet redemption after losing earlier this year, and Christie's own redemption from missing three field goals.

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