Tomlinson gets two TDS, reaches 26 on seasonDec 3, 2006 - 9:42 PM ORCHARD PARK, New York (Ticker) -- LaDainian Tomlinson continued his march toward history at the expense of the Buffalo Bills.
Tomlinson rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns as the San Diego Chargers extended their winning streak to six games with a 24-21 victory over the Bills.
Continuing to stamp himself as the NFL's best running back, Tomlinson has 26 touchdowns, two shy of matching Shaun Alexander's single-season record set last season. His TDs are tied with Marshall Faulk for the third most in a season.
"The record, I really don't like to talk about it, because who knows what's going to happen," Tomlinson said. "I'm within two but there's still four (games) to go and anything can happen."
"I can't think of anyone playing better than him (Tomlinson) right now," Bills defensive tackle Larry Triplett said.
It was the sixth straight 100-yard game for Tomlinson, who leads the league with 1,324 rushing yards. He also joined Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson as the only player in NFL history to reach at least 1,200 yards in his first six seasons.
Tomlinson broke off a 51-yard TD run in the first quarter and scored on a two-yard run with 3:26 remaining in the fourth, giving the Chargers a 24-14 lead.
Tomlinson enjoyed the cold weather and snow showers throughout the game.
"Every once in awhile, it's fun playing in weather like this," Tomlinson said. "Living in California, obviously we don't get weather like this where it's snowing and cold and you could actually look forward to games like this, because they don't happen much. I think it goes back to when you're a kid and grow up and see NFL games, like in Chicago, where guys are playing and it's snowing and cold. They have smoke coming out of their mouth and it's cool.
"I'll tell you, growing up in Texas, there were days where we had weather like that and you'd try to play and be like Walter Payton with the smoke coming out."
The Chargers also welcomed back Shawne Merriman, the NFL's reigning Defensive Player of the Year, who had missed the last four games for violating the league's steroids policy. Merriman came up big, registering two sacks and forcing a pair of fumbles from his outside linebacker position.
"Playing football is like riding a bike, you never really forget how to do it," Merriman said.
Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates had seven catches for 90 yards and a touchdown for San Diego (10-2), which tied Indianapolis for the AFC's best record.
J.P. Losman threw for a pair of touchdowns but also was intercepted twice and lost a fumble for the Bills (5-7), who failed in their bid for their first three-game winning streak of the season.
Losman completed 21-of-37 passes for 184 yards.
After the Chargers built a 17-0 halftime lead, they did their best to give it back in the third quarter.
Losman threw a four-yard TD pass to backup tight end Robert Royal and Jim Leonhard 32-yard punt return later in the period led to Willis McGahee's two-yard TD run that pulled the Bills within 17-14.
"We just started too slow, offensively," Losman said.
McGahee managed just 26 rushing yards on 16 attempts.
"Everybody came to the ball," McGahee said. "They did a great job. Sometimes you can't do anything about it."
"We never got anything going consistently and it certainly hurt us," Bills coach Dick Jauron said. "We don't one to be one dimensional, nobody does."
Tomlinson's two-yard TD run with 3:26 left, capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive, which gave the Chargers a 24-14 advantage.
On his scoring run in the opening quarter, Tomlinson outraced Ko Simpson down the left sideline. Philip Rivers found Gates for an 11-yard touchdown with 24 seconds left in the first half, giving the Chargers a 17-0 lead.
Rivers completed 17-of-29 passes for 160 yards.
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