Stopping LT the key to beating Chargers

LaDainian Tomlinson downplayed his past success against the Raiders on Thursday but it's clear Oakland has to shut down San Diego's ultra-talented running back if it is to have a chance in Monday's season-opener.

Tomlinson has rushed for more yards (1,906) and touchdowns (19) against the Raiders than any other team. He has topped the 100-yard mark against Oakland six times alone at the Coliseum, site of Monday night's season opener.

He's been the biggest factor in San Diego's current 11-game winning streak against the Raiders.

"I don't necessarily going into the game thinking I'm going to have a big game," Tomlinson said during a conference call with Bay Area reporters on Thursday. "I just go into the game and take what they give me a lot of times. I've just been fortunate enough to have some good games, especially at an earlier point of my career. But I will say the last few times they actually have played us really well against the run."

Tomlinson specifically credited Oakland's linebacking duo of Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard as reasons why the Raiders have played him tougher recently.

The veteran running back also knows the Raiders will have a much different look if and when Richard Seymour shows up. The five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle hasn't reported to Oakland four days after he was traded in exchange for a first-round draft pick in 2011.

Tomlinson said Seymour could have an impact immediately.

"He's a pro for one," Tomlinson said. "He knows how to play football and he knows how to turn it on when it's time to turn it on. I think he can absolutely have an effect on the game."

Former Raiders head coach Norv Turner agrees.

"A guy who's that good a football player, I think you find a spot, whether it be as an end pass rushing on third down, whatever those things might be," Turner said. "But certainly, it's hard to fit a guy in and get him going in a short period of time."

No matter who Oakland has in the lineup, it's paramount the team stop Tomlinson and put the game in the hands of San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers. While Rivers has progressed nicely during his career, he is not yet an elite-level quarterback and has benefited greatly by having a running back like Tomlinson to ease the pressure and focus on him.


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