Final

Rams 24

(4-3, 2-2 away)

Chargers 38

(5-2, 3-0 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:05 PM ET, October 29, 2006

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA 

1 2 3 4 T
STL 0 7 3 1424
SD 14 0 10 1438

Top Performers

Passing: M. Bulger (STL) - 327 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: L. Tomlinson (SD) - 25 CAR, 183 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: I. Bruce (STL) - 5 REC, 105 YDS

Tomlinson runs wild in Chargers' rout of Rams

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- For those who might have been thinking there was something wrong with LaDainian Tomlinson, there isn't.

Tomlinson reminded everyone just how good he is when he rushed for a season-high 183 yards and scored three more touchdowns to lead the San Diego Chargers to a 38-24 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

Scouts Inc.'s take ...
After a long week that they would rather forget, the Chargers bounced back in a big way. For San Diego, its stars led the way. LaDainian Tomlinson (right) topped the 100-yard mark for the first time since Week 1, Philip Rivers was efficient at QB and the Chargers finally found that offensive balance they were looking for. Defensively, Shawne Merriman led the way with three sacks despite facing the reality of an upcoming four-game suspension.

This was a bad loss for St. Louis. They moved the ball offensively at times but the Rams could not convert. Defensively, the Rams were dominated in all facets as the Chargers' offense was able to exploit St. Louis' undersized defensive front and outmanned defensive secondary.

"So many questions start to come when you don't have 100 yards," said Tomlinson, who has scored 11 touchdowns in helping the Chargers to a 5-2 record. "People start to wonder, are you getting old or have you lost a step? For me, it's all motivation.

"If I lost a step and had a day like this today, I'd hate to see if I was a young man what I would have done today with the kind of holes I ran through."

Tomlinson surpassed 8,000 yards rushing for his six-year career, and tied his boyhood idol, Emmitt Smith, as the second-fastest players to score 90 touchdowns, in 86 games. The quickest was Jim Brown in 81 games.

Tomlinson, who carried 25 times, reached 90 career TDs by scoring on the ground to cap the Chargers' first two drives. He added his 91st when he caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers with 3:58 left in the game.

The star running back also had three catches for 57 yards, and recovered an onside kick after the Rams pulled to 31-17 midway through the fourth quarter.

Rivers also has heard the talk about Tomlinson's production falling off.

"I was trying to find that step that he lost, out there today," Rivers joked. "He was awesome. That's the L.T. that we've known we've had all year. I mean, he's not going to go for 150 or whatever he went for today, every week. It ain't going to happen. If teams do that, they're crazy for it. They're not going to let it happen.

"Him back there, he does a lot of things. Even when he doesn't touch it, he does a lot of things."

The Chargers rebounded from a 30-27 loss the week before at AFC West rival Kansas City.

St. Louis (4-3), coming off its bye, lost consecutive games for the first time this year.

Tomlinson cracked 100 yards rushing for the first time since he had 131 in a 27-0 laugher at Oakland on Sept. 11. Although his yards rushing are down, he has been a crucial part of San Diego's passing game. He has a team-high 35 catches for 303 yards.

Tomlinson scored on runs of 2 and 38 yards in the first quarter to give the Chargers a 14-0 lead.

He broke a 51-yard run late in the third quarter to set up Nate Kaeding's 31-yard field goal.

Outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, who's facing a four-game suspension for a positive drug test, played with his usual urgency, sacking Marc Bulger three times, followed by his spasmodic "Lights Out" dance.

Merriman tested positive for the steroid nandrolone, which his attorney blamed on a tainted nutritional supplement. An appeal hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 7, which would allow Merriman to also play in next Sunday's home game against Cleveland.

But Merriman seems to be considering dropping the appeal and beginning the suspension.

"Like I said on Day 1, it will be a for-the-team decision if anything like that were to occur," he said. "My teammates want me to do what's best for myself. I want to do what's best for the team. I have to make the best decision possible."

As for his big day, "I play every play like it's my last one," Merriman said. "That's how I've always taken the game of football. You'll never feel like you've left anything on the field."

Said Rams running back Steven Jackson: "We're a tough opponent. I had a feeling he wanted to play against us."

With the Chargers nursing a 14-7 lead early in the third quarter, Chargers safety Marlon McCree came up big for a defense missing two injured starters when he returned a fumble 79 yards for his second career touchdown.

"If you play a team like this on the road, you have to basically play mistake-free football," Rams coach Scott Linehan said.

Merriman had two sacks in the first quarter and got his third on the opening possession of the second half, which forced the Rams to punt.

On their next possession, the Rams were at the Chargers 29 thanks to Isaac Bruce's 37-yard reception. Stephen Davis fumbled on the following play when he was hit by Jacques Cesaire. McCree emerged from the pile with the ball, broke one tackle and was gone, giving San Diego a 21-7 lead.

Bulger was 27-for-40 for 327 yards and two touchdown passes, both in the fourth quarter.

Game notes


Bruce had five catches for 105 yards, all in the second half, to push his career total to 12,771 yards. He passed Art Monk (12,721) and into 10th place on the all-time list. ... The Rams lost for just the 10th time in 34 games against AFC teams since 1998.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
St. Louis
San Diego
1st Downs2321
3rd down efficiency
5-127-13
4th down efficiency
1-10-1
Total Yards412419
Yards per play6.47.1
Total Drives21
Passing311203
Comp-Att
27-4015-23
Yards per pass
7.88.8
Interceptions thrown
00
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-161-3
Rushing101216
Rushing Attempts
2135
Yards per rush
4.86.2
Penalties4-203-43
Turnovers10
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
00
Possession29:0630:54

Passing Leaders

STLC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Bulger27/403278.2203-16
SDC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Rivers15/232069.0101-3

Rushing Leaders

STLCARYDSAVGTDLG
Jackson18844.7112
Davis2189.0014
SDCARYDSAVGTDLG
Tomlinson251837.3251
Turner5285.6114

Receiving Leaders

STLRECYDSAVGTDLG
Bruce510521.0044
Curtis77911.3122
SDRECYDSAVGTDLG
Gates56613.2027
Tomlinson35719.0126

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERSTLSD
TD7:55Ladainian Tomlinson 2 Yd Run (Nate Kaeding Kick)
Drive: 12 plays, 80 yds, 7:55
07
TD11:27Ladainian Tomlinson 38 Yd Run (Nate Kaeding Kick)
Drive: 3 plays, 56 yds, 1:37
014
SECOND QUARTERSTLSD
TD2:34Steven Jackson 3 Yd Run (Jeff Wilkins Kick)
Drive: 11 plays, 74 yds, 6:07
714
THIRD QUARTERSTLSD
TD6:04Marlon Mccree 79 Yd Fumble Return (Nate Kaeding Kick) 721
FG7:42Jeff Wilkins 34 Yd
Drive: 6 plays, 68 yds, 1:38
1021
FG11:43Nate Kaeding 31 Yd
Drive: 8 plays, 70 yds, 4:01
1024
FOURTH QUARTERSTLSD
TD3:16Michael Turner 14 Yd Run (Nate Kaeding Kick)
Drive: 8 plays, 84 yds, 4:12
1031
TD8:21Shaun Mcdonald 7 Yd Pass From Marc Bulger (Jeff Wilkins Kick)
Drive: 11 plays, 80 yds, 5:05
1731
TD11:02Ladainian Tomlinson 25 Yd Pass From Philip Rivers (Nate Kaeding Kick)
Drive: 5 plays, 42 yds, 2:41
1738
TD13:29Kevin Curtis 6 Yd Pass From Marc Bulger (Jeff Wilkins Kick)
Drive: 9 plays, 75 yds, 2:27
2438