Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson seems to love to take on the Oakland Raiders, and Sunday at home vs the Silver and Black, Tomlinson once again put on the costume of of Raider killer. The MVP back accounted for all the Chargers points as he matched a career high with four rushing touchdowns in a 28-14 win that puts San Diego back at .500 at 3-3. On the day, Tomlinson ran for 198 yards on 24 carries, and scored on runs of 3, 27, 13 and 41 yards.
San Diego has finally produced solid back to back games, and did it against AFC West opposition. Last week they dominated the Broncos 41-3 in Denver, and now they took care of the Raiders at home. All the talk about the Chargers being back may finally be true, as San Diego finally appears to be responding to new coach Norv Turner, who finally seems to be getting the message – give L.T. the ball.
All the talk after the game though was about Tomlinson and his dominance over Oakland, a team that has seen the back run for 1,142 yards and 12 rushing TD’s against them. “”I don’t know, but I like it,” quarterback Philip Rivers said about Tomlinson vs Oakland. “He was outstanding. He’s really starting to get going. Our offense is really starting to get going. When we can throw it in that 18-25 window and run the ball and be efficient, we can be pretty tough.”
The Charger defense also did it’s job, harassing Raiders QB Daunte Culpepper, and making him look more like the thrower in Miami last season that had all sorts of trouble. Culpepper was sacked six times, picked off twice and lost a fumble. Overall he was 24-for-37 for 230 yards with one score and the two INT’s. The defining moment of the day for Culpepper came with the Raiders at the Chargers one-yard line looking to tie the game at 14. The QB was sacked twice fumbling the second time and killing the Raiders chances of a comeback.
Oakland was outgained 362 yards to just 246, and ran the ball for just 53 yards, averaging 2.3 yards per carry. The rushing game never got on track, and the offense overall looked about as bad as it did last season when the Raiders won just two games. The Chargers get next week off and then get set to try and go over .500 for the first time since being 1-0 when they host the Houston Texans on September 28th.