Broncos
Chargers
21 - 52 Final
  for this game

Tomlinson helps Chargers clinch AFC West, top Broncos

Dec 29, 2008 - 5:53 AM By Tim Powers PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for three touchdowns and Philip Rivers threw for two more as the San Diego Chargers pounded the Denver Broncos, 52-21, on Sunday to win their fourth straight and complete an improbable comeback to capture their third straight AFC West Division title.

San Diego (8-8) becomes the first team to make the postseason after starting 4-8, and Denver (8-8) the first since division play began in 1967 to relinquish a three-game lead with three to play. The Broncos held sole possession of the AFC West lead for all 16 weeks prior to the collapse.

The Chargers, who advanced due to their 5-1 record in the division, secured the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs and a home date against the fifth-seeded Indianapolis Colts (12-4) on Saturday night.

"It's a great feeling and it's a tribute to the guys that kept believing and kept fighting," Tomlinson said. "We have very prideful guys in that locker room. At the point that we were 4-8, we didn't know what was going to happen with Denver, but for us it was about how we wanted to finish."

Tomlinson scored twice in the first half as San Diego built a commanding 24-6 lead, scoring on each of its four possessions without being forced to punt.

Rivers hit Brandon Manumaleuna and Darren Sproles, who had two scores of his own, on touchdown strikes and also passed the 4,000-yard passing plateau on the season. The 26-year-old Rivers finished the game going 15-for-20 with 207 yards and two touchdowns.

"It's exciting," Rivers said. "It's obviously history, the way we trailed in the division and how we've now won it. Obviously, we all had the expectation to get here, but we went a different route than we thought we would."

The one blemish for San Diego came when Tomlinson exited in the fourth quarter due to a possible groin strain. He was held out of the game for precautionary reasons and will undergo an MRI on Monday.

"I don't know how bad it is, I think it's just a strain," said Tomlinson, who missed most of last season's AFC Championship game with knee injury.

"I'm not going to jump to any conclusions or say anything more about it because I really don't know at this point."

The Denver defense stopped San Diego just once in the contest and quarterback Jay Cutler's two interceptions contributed to a frustrating all-around game for the Broncos.

"We had our ups and downs this year on both sides of the ball," Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall said. "It definitely was rough, but we tried to make the best of it but came up short. We didn't get it done this year, simple as that."

Cutler did throw one touchdown - a 25-yard strike to Tony Scheffler with 13:01 remaining in the fourth - and finished 29-for-45 with 282 yards in the game.

"Obviously, I'm very disappointed," Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan said. "Give San Diego credit; they really pulled us apart and did everything they had to do to win. I thought we would play much better than that. Obviously, I didn't go a good enough job getting these guys ready to play at the level we need to play to win."

Tatum Bell had touchdown runs of 26 and 37 yards and rushed for 86 yards on eight carries.






  • 45
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    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Broncos 21, Chargers 52  FinalDec 29 5:17 AM


  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DENVER 6 0 7 8 21
    SAN DIEGO 10 14 14 14 52 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SDG - FG, NATE KAEDING 28 YD, 3:19. Drive: 6
    plays, 60 yards in 3:19. Key plays:
    Jackson 17-yard run to San Diego
    47; 52-yard pass interference
    penalty on Broncos' Webster to
    Denver 11. SAN

    Dec 28 11:18 PM


  • NFL
    TD SDG
    JACOB HESTER 4 YD RUN
    (NATE KAEDING KICK)
    DENVER 21
    SAN DIEGO 52 1:15 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Broncos 21, Chargers 52  4th - 1:15Dec 28 11:15 PM


  • NFL
    TD SDG
    DARREN SPROLES 2 YD RUN
    (NATE KAEDING KICK)
    DENVER 21
    SAN DIEGO 45 9:47 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Broncos 21, Chargers 45  4th - 9:47Dec 28 10:55 PM


  • NFL
    TD DEN
    TONY SCHEFFLER 25 YD PASS FROM JAY CUTLER
    (JAY CUTLER RUN FOR TWO-POINT CONVERSION)
    DENVER 21
    SAN DIEGO 38 13:01 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Broncos 21, Chargers 38  4th - 13:01Dec 28 10:45 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DENVER 6 0 7 13
    SAN DIEGO 10 14 14 38 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SDG - FG, NATE KAEDING 28 YD, 3:19. Drive: 6
    plays, 60 yards in 3:19. Key plays:
    Jackson 17-yard run to San Diego
    47; 52-yard pass interference
    penalty on Broncos' Webster to
    Denver 1

    Dec 28 10:39 PM
  • alacy52 Our defense has been horrible ever since they fired Larry Coyer. That was a big mistake by Shanahan.

    Broncos 13, Chargers 31  3rd - 9:41Dec 28 10:19 PM


  • NFL
    TD SDG
    LADAINIAN TOMLINSON 14 YD RUN
    (NATE KAEDING KICK)
    DENVER 13
    SAN DIEGO 38 9:41 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Broncos 13, Chargers 38  3rd - 9:41Dec 28 10:19 PM


  • NFL
    TD SDG
    DARREN SPROLES 13 YD RUN
    (NATE KAEDING KICK)
    DENVER 13
    SAN DIEGO 31 9:59 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Broncos 13, Chargers 31  3rd - 9:59Dec 28 10:14 PM


  • NFL
    TD DEN
    TATUM BELL 37 YD RUN
    (MATT PRATER KICK)
    DENVER 13
    SAN DIEGO 24 12:47 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Broncos 13, Chargers 24  3rd - 12:47Dec 28 10:07 PM
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    DialH Added 5 roots

    Broncos 6, Chargers 24  3rd - 14:54Dec 28 10:06 PM
  • savbyroy it's official... Broncos=the suck

    Broncos 6, Chargers 24  3rd - 14:54Dec 28 10:06 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DENVER 6 0 6
    SAN DIEGO 10 14 24 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SDG - FG, NATE KAEDING 28 YD, 3:19. Drive: 6
    plays, 60 yards in 3:19. Key plays:
    Jackson 17-yard run to San Diego
    47; 52-yard pass interference
    penalty on Broncos' Webster to
    Denver 11. S

    Dec 28 9:48 PM
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    #1 Cards Fan Added 10 roots

    Broncos 6, Chargers 24  2nd - 2:00Dec 28 9:42 PM


  • NFL
    TD SDG
    LADAINIAN TOMLINSON 4 YD RUN
    (NATE KAEDING KICK)
    DENVER 6
    SAN DIEGO 24 3:32 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Broncos 6, Chargers 24  2nd - 3:32Dec 28 9:31 PM


  • NFL
    TD SDG
    BRANDON MANUMALEUNA 12 YD PASS FROM PHILIP RIVERS
    (NATE KAEDING KICK)
    DENVER 6
    SAN DIEGO 17 11:30 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Broncos 6, Chargers 17  2nd - 11:30Dec 28 9:12 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DENVER 6 6
    SAN DIEGO 10 10 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SDG - FG, NATE KAEDING 28 YD, 3:19. Drive: 6
    plays, 60 yards in 3:19. Key plays:
    Jackson 17-yard run to San Diego
    47; 52-yard pass interference
    penalty on Broncos' Webster to
    Denver 1

    Dec 28 9:01 PM


  • NFL
    TD SDG
    LADAINIAN TOMLINSON 1 YD RUN
    (NATE KAEDING KICK)
    DENVER 6
    SAN DIEGO 10 2:52 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Broncos 6, Chargers 10  1st - 2:52Dec 28 8:52 PM


  • NFL
    TD DEN
    TATUM BELL 26 YD RUN
    (PAT FAILED)
    DENVER 6
    SAN DIEGO 3 7:36 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Broncos 6, Chargers 3  1st - 7:36Dec 28 8:42 PM


  • NFL
    FG SDG
    NATE KAEDING 28 YD
    DENVER 0
    SAN DIEGO 3 11:41 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Broncos 0, Chargers 3  1st - 11:41Dec 28 8:31 PM
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