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Tomlinson fastest in NFL history to 100 TDs

Nov 20, 2006 - 4:41 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- LaDainian Tomlinson's march toward history has put the San Diego Chargers in control of the AFC West.

Tomlinson rushed for three touchdowns and caught another score in his latest scintillating performance as the San Diego Chargers rallied for a 35-27 victory over the Denver Broncos.

Already arguably the NFL's best running back and having drawn comparisons to the legendary Jim Brown, Tomlinson has 22 touchdowns - 19 rushing - in just 10 games. His TDs are more than 18 teams in the league.

Tomlinson became the fastest player in league history to reach 100 career touchdowns, accomplishing the feat in his 89th game, four games quicker than Brown and Emmitt Smith.

"I'm going along for the ride," Tomlinson said. "I've got to give credit to our offensive line and the way they've played. They love to battle and they love to take something out of the defense every time they hit them."

Tomlinson is on pace to shatter Shaun Alexander's single-season record of 28 TDs set in 2005.

"He's as fresh and ready to play as any time that I can remember him being since I've been here," said Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, who improved to just 4-13 in his career at Denver. "We started four to six weeks ago before he started his tear on reducing his practice reps and I think that's the contributing factor. He looks fresh and at full speed every time he's got the ball in his hands."

"Every down he brings it. Whether he's blocking or catching or running, his value to us can not be measured," Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said.

Tomlinson also became the first player in NFL history with four TDs in back-to-back games. Last week, the three-time Pro Bowler had all four of his TDs on the ground as the Chargers rallied from a 21-0 deficit in a wild 49-41 victory at Cincinnati.

Thanks to Tomlinson, the Chargers (8-2) staged another improbable rally to move ahead of the Broncos (7-3) for sole possession of first place.

"Resilient bunch of guys," Tomlinson said. "Our team, we're never out of it, and I think this is a very special team because no matter what happens, no matter how much we're down, we're never out of the football game.

"We feel like we can score on anybody, no matter how many points we're down. We can score points."

San Diego has won four straight games, scoring 154 points during that span. The latest explosion came against the NFL's top-ranked scoring defense that entered having allowed 12.3 points per game.

After cornerback Darrent Williams returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown with 9:25 left in the third quarter to give the Broncos a 24-7 lead, Tomlinson took over.

Tomlinson had a three-yard touchdown run with 5:10 left in the third quarter and a 51-yard TD reception less than two minutes later to pull the Chargers within 24-21. He sealed the victory with a one-yard TD run with 74 seconds remaining.

In the first quarter, Tomlinson capped a 99-yard drive with a three-yard TD run.

"In my eyes, he's the best," Williams said. "It's everything. Competitiveness, speed, quickness, ability to break tackles. He's always making the big play."

Tomlinson surpassed 1,000 rushing yards on the season by gaining 105 on 20 carries. He had rushed for 264 yards on 77 carries with two TDs in his five previous games at Denver, all losses.

The Chargers became the first team in history to win back-to-back games after trailing by 17 or more points and also the first team to win four straight when allowing at least 24 points in each game.

Philip Rivers gave the Chargers the lead for good at 28-27 with a five-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson with 6:45 remaining. The 6-5 Jackson made a leaping catch in the back of the end zone over Williams, and was able to get his feet in bounds.

On the Broncos' ensuing possession, they were faced with a 4th-and-4 from their own 38. But Jake Plummer had his pass intended for Rod Smith intercepted by cornerback Drayton Florence, who broke off a 23-yard return to the Denver 23.

Plummer completed 13-of-28 passes for 183 yards.

"San Diego stepped up and played and coached a better game than we did," Denver coach Mike Shanahan said. "We had our opportunities to put them away and we didn't. We didn't take advantage of those opportunities. It was a tough one to take."

Five plays after the interception by Florence, Tomlinson plowed into the end zone.

After Tomlinson reached the end zone in the first quarter, the Broncos got a pair of three-yard touchdown runs from rookie Mike Bell in the second quarter to take a 14-7 lead.

Seeing a majority of the work in place of Tatum Bell, who was inactive, Mike Bell rushed for 90 yards on 22 carries.

Jason Elam kicked a 42-yard field goal with 10:48 left in the third quarter to give the Broncos a 17-7 advantage.

Just under 90 seconds later, Williams stepped in front of Rivers' pass intended for Keenan McCardell and raced untouched down the left sideline for a 31-yard TD.

"You make a critical error like that on the road; you usually don't win the game," said Rivers, who completed 19-of-26 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. "Nobody panicked and I put it behind me and said, `I have to keep playing.' That's a credit to our team and our maturity. We are a special bunch."

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