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Brees throws 2 TDs as Chargers blow out Raiders

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- It isn't even close anymore, this rivalry
between the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders.

But hey -- at least it's clean.

Drew Brees threw two touchdown passes and LaDainian Tomlinson
bounced back from an injury scare as the Chargers ran their winning
streak to five games and brightened their playoff hopes with a
34-10 win Sunday night.

The most amazing thing, though, was that there was only one
penalty -- against the Chargers, not the Raiders, the NFL's
most-penalized team.

"I cannot remember the last time I coached a football game in
the NFL that there was only one penalty," said San Diego's Marty
Schottenheimer, who's in his 19th full season as a head coach and
improved to 25-7 against the Raiders. "That is absolutely
remarkable, and unfortunately we had the one."

Chargers center Nick Hardwick was whistled for unnecessary
roughness in the third quarter. Oakland's Fabian Washington was
called for illegal contact, also in the third quarter, but it was
declined.

"You could have made a lot of money betting that,"
Schottenheimer said about the Raiders' clean slate. "I couldn't
believe it."

The Chargers (8-4) pulled within one victory of the AFC
West-leading Denver Broncos.

The Broncos lost 31-27 at Kansas City, which is tied for second
place -- as well as the last wild-card spot -- with the Chargers. The
defending division champion Chargers beat the Chiefs 28-20 on Oct.
30, and the teams will play again in Kansas City on Dec. 24. The
Chargers will host Denver in the season finale on Dec. 31.

Of course, San Diego must still play at undefeated Indianapolis,
on Dec. 18.

The Raiders (4-8) lost their fifth straight to the Chargers.
Oakland is 0-5 in the AFC West.

"We've been able to get up on them and just continue to pound
them and pound them," Brees said. "I think we know that if we go
out and play our game and execute that that should be the result."

San Diego got a scare when Tomlinson came out with a rib injury
late in the second quarter. After talking with the team's medical
staff on the sideline, he jogged to the locker room, accompanied by
a doctor, with 22 seconds left before halftime.

A few seconds later, Michael Turner ran in from the 2 to put the
Chargers ahead 17-10.

Tomlinson was back for the start of the second half, carrying on
the Chargers' first two plays. He finished with 86 yards on 25
carries.

"He wanted to finish but I decided it was time to give Michael
a few shots," Schottenheimer said.

San Diego safety Clinton Hart, subbing for the injured Terrence
Kiel, put the game away when he intercepted Kerry Collins' pass and
returned it 70 yards for a score with 6:29 to play. Oakland didn't
get its first first down of the second half until that drive.

"Their defense took control in the third quarter," Collins
said. "They forced us three-and-out and put pressure on the
quarterback."

The Chargers had gone up 24-10 on Brees' 1-yard throw to Eric
Parker in the third quarter. Brees was 4-for-4 for 49 yards on the
13-play, 57-yard drive.

Nate Kaeding added a 32-yard field goal. He kicked a 41-yarder
in the first quarter.

Brees was 17-of-22 for 160 yards with no interceptions. He was
coming off one of the worst games of his career, when he threw
three interceptions and was just 22-of-44 for 215 yards and no
touchdowns in a 23-17 overtime win at Washington.

Keenan McCardell became the 13th player in NFL history with 800
catches, reaching the milestone with an 8-yard reception late in
the second quarter.

The Chargers' first touchdown came courtesy of instant replay.

Tight end Antonio Gates caught a 6-yard pass from a scrambling
Brees before falling out of the back of the end zone early in the
second quarter, but the nearest official ruled that he was juggling
the ball.

Coach Marty Schottenheimer threw his red flag, and, after
reviewing the play, referee Bill Vinovich ruled it a score, giving
San Diego a 10-3 lead.

That drive was set up when Hart forced LaMont Jordan's fumble,
which was recovered by Randall Godfrey at the Oakland 34.

The Raiders came right back as Collins picked apart the
Chargers' defense on a crisp eight-play, 67-yard drive, capping it
with a 16-yard TD throw to tight end Courtney Anderson to tie it at
10.

Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 37-yard field goal in
the first quarter.

Game Notes
Mike Scifres' 71-yard punt in the first quarter tied for
third-longest in Chargers history. Paul Maguire, who had the
longest punt in club history, 82 yards in 1962, broadcast the game
for ESPN.