for this game

Chargers clinch homefield in AFC

Jan 1, 2007 - 2:28 AM SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- The AFC playoffs run through LaDainian Tomlinson's house.

Tomlinson failed to score a touchdown for a second straight game but it hardly mattered as the San Diego Chargers clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a 27-20 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

The Chargers (14-2) ended the season with a franchise-record 10-game winning streak and are the favorites to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XL on February 4.

"At the end of the day, we came in here with one sole objective, that was to win home field advantage and we have done that," said Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, who owns just a 5-12 career record in the postseason. "We wanted the best record in the conference, and at this juncture, we've got that. All in all, it's a pretty good day for the San Diego Chargers."

San Diego, which last had homefield advantage in 1980, when it lost to Oakland in the AFC title game, will host a divisional playoff game January 13 or 14.

"It feels good to reach the goal we set before the season started," said Chargers outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, who had a sack to finish with a league-leading 17 on the season. "We stuck to our goal and it worked out for us today."

Tomlinson was a major reason the Chargers finished with the league's best record. The Pro Bowl running back set a single-season record with 31 touchdowns despite failing to reach the end zone in his last two games.

On Sunday, Tomlinson rushed for 66 yards on 16 carries while sitting out a majority of the fourth quarter with the game in hand. He won his first rushing title, finishing the campaign with 1,815 yards.

"You always kind of have that hanging over your head when you haven't won the rushing title," Tomlinson said. "To win my first one feels real good because it's another accomplishment. This is special because this is what I do, I'm a running back. I think a lot of times with running backs you measure them by if they won the rushing title. All the great ones pretty much have. I think for me I'm very satisfied I'm able to win one."

Philip Rivers threw touchdown passes of 33 yards to tight end Antonio Gates and 14 yards to Vincent Jackson in the second quarter for the Chargers, who built a 17-7 halftime lead.

Rivers, who sprained his right foot in the first, was pulled in the fourth quarter with the contest well in hand. He completed 19-of-24 passes for 231 yards with an interception.

"Our team accomplished a lot today," Rivers said. "A big win for coach, LT obviously with the rushing title, the offense scoring as many points as we have, finishing 14-2, and most importantly, wrapping up (home field advantage), everything has to go through San Diego."

Tim Dobbins recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone for a touchdown less than three minutes into the third quarter, giving the Chargers a 24-7 advantage.

The Cardinals did mount a rally in the fourth quarter, pulling within 27-20 with 3:23 remaining on Neil Rackers' 20-yard field goal.

But with their backups still in, the Chargers were able to run out the clock.

Starting in place of rookie Matt Leinart (shoulder), Kurt Warner completed 22-of-32 passes for 356 yards and a touchdown for the Cardinals (5-11), who finished with five wins for a second straight season.

"I thought our guys played hard," said Cardinals coach Dennis Green, who is 16-32 in three seasons with the franchise. "We had some legitimate chances and didn't quite pull it out."








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARIZONA 7 0 3 10 20
    SAN DIEGO 3 14 10 0 27 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ARI - TD, EDGERRIN JAMES 8 YD RUN (NEIL
    RACKERS KICK), 8:39. Drive: 9
    plays, 78 yards in 3:59. Key plays:
    Ayanbadejo 3-yard run on 3rd-and-1
    to San Diego 34; Warner 37-yard
    pass to Boldin to

    Dec 31 7:05 PM
  • 20
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 8 roots

    Cardinals vs. ChargersDec 31 7:00 PM
  • 12
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 4 roots

    Cardinals vs. ChargersDec 31 6:56 PM
  • 16
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 4 roots

    Cardinals vs. ChargersDec 31 6:55 PM


  • NFL
    FG ARI
    NEIL RACKERS 21 YD
    ARIZONA 20
    SAN DIEGO 27 3:23 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Cardinals vs. ChargersDec 31 6:53 PM
  • 12
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 12 roots

    Cardinals vs. ChargersDec 31 6:53 PM


  • NFL
    TD ARI
    LARRY FITZGERALD 9 YD PASS FROM KURT WARNER
    (NEIL RACKERS KICK)
    ARIZONA 17
    SAN DIEGO 27 9:06 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Cardinals vs. ChargersDec 31 6:37 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARIZONA 7 0 3 10
    SAN DIEGO 3 14 10 27 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ARI - TD, EDGERRIN JAMES 8 YD RUN (NEIL
    RACKERS KICK), 8:39. Drive: 9
    plays, 78 yards in 3:59. Key plays:
    Ayanbadejo 3-yard run on 3rd-and-1
    to San Diego 34; Warner 37-yard
    pass to Bo

    Dec 31 6:26 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARIZONA 7 0 3 10
    SAN DIEGO 3 14 10 27 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ARI - TD, EDGERRIN JAMES 8 YD RUN (NEIL
    RACKERS KICK), 8:39. Drive: 9
    plays, 78 yards in 3:59. Key plays:
    Ayanbadejo 3-yard run on 3rd-and-1
    to San Diego 34; Warner 37-yard
    pass to Bo

    Cardinals vs. ChargersDec 31 6:26 PM


  • NFL
    FG ARI
    NEIL RACKERS 28 YD
    ARIZONA 10
    SAN DIEGO 26 1:31 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Cardinals vs. ChargersDec 31 6:20 PM


  • NFL
    FG SDG
    NATE KAEDING 35 YD
    ARIZONA 7
    SAN DIEGO 26 6:23 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Cardinals vs. ChargersDec 31 6:10 PM


  • NFL
    TD SDG
    TIM DOBBINS RECOVERED BLOCKED PUNT IN END ZONE
    (NATE KAEDING KICK)
    ARIZONA 7
    SAN DIEGO 23 12:25 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Cardinals vs. ChargersDec 31 6:00 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARIZONA 7 0 7
    SAN DIEGO 3 14 17 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ARI - TD, EDGERRIN JAMES 8 YD RUN (NEIL
    RACKERS KICK), 8:39. Drive: 9
    plays, 78 yards in 3:59. Key plays:
    Ayanbadejo 3-yard run on 3rd-and-1
    to San Diego 34; Warner 37-yard
    pass to Boldin

    Dec 31 5:34 PM


  • NFL
    TD SDG
    VINCENT JACKSON 14 YD PASS FROM PHILIP RIVERS
    (NATE KAEDING KICK)
    ARIZONA 7
    SAN DIEGO 17 1:49 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Cardinals vs. ChargersDec 31 5:23 PM


  • NFL
    TD SDG
    ANTONIO GATES 33 YD PASS FROM PHILIP RIVERS
    (NATE KAEDING KICK)
    ARIZONA 7
    SAN DIEGO 10 10:25 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Cardinals vs. ChargersDec 31 5:00 PM


  • NFL
    ARIZONA 7
    SAN DIEGO 3 0:00 LEFT, 1ST QTR
    SDG BALL ON SDG 24 YD LINE
    1ST AND 10

    Dec 31 4:49 PM


  • NFL
    FG SDG
    NATE KAEDING 47 YD
    ARIZONA 7
    SAN DIEGO 3 2:23 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Cardinals vs. ChargersDec 31 4:41 PM


  • NFL
    TD ARI
    EDGERRIN JAMES 8 YD RUN
    (NEIL RACKERS KICK)
    ARIZONA 7
    SAN DIEGO 0 6:21 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Cardinals vs. ChargersDec 31 4:31 PM