Chargers 30

(9-3, 5-1 away)

Browns 23

(1-11, 0-5 home)

Coverage: CBS

4:05 PM ET, December 6, 2009

FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH 

1 2 3 4 T
SD 10 3 14 330
CLE 7 0 0 1623

Top Performers

Passing: P. Rivers (SD) - 373 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: L. Tomlinson (SD) - 20 CAR, 64 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: A. Gates (SD) - 8 REC, 167 YDS

Tomlinson climbs to 8th on career rushing list in win over woeful Browns

Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- LaDainian Tomlinson walked back into San Diego's locker room to meet the special guest who wanted to offer congratulations.

Jim Brown was waiting for him.

"Yeah, a perfect day," Tomlinson said as he headed toward the Chargers' team bus. "I've thought a long time about this day. If I was going to pass Jim, I wanted to do it here in Cleveland, and I wanted to talk to him in the locker room after the game."

Fast Facts

• The Chargers have won seven in a row and four straight on the road. They've also won four straight vs. the Browns and 15 straight overall in December.

• Cleveland has lost seven in a row and 19 of its last 21.

• LaDainian Tomlinson reached 150 TDs in his 137th game, 23 games faster than Emmitt Smith and 30 faster than Jerry Rice. They are the only three players with 150 TDs. He also passed Jim Brown for eighth place on the all-time rushing list.

• Antonio Gates had 167 receiving yards, a career-best.

• Bloggers' wrapups

-- ESPN Stats & Information

Tomlinson stiff-armed Cleveland's Hall of Famer out of eighth place on the career rushing list and scored his 150th career TD on a 4-yard run as the Chargers won their seventh straight and 15th in a row in December, beating the Browns 30-23 on Sunday.

In moving past Brown, Tomlinson fulfilled a childhood dream that began with games of touch football in Texas.

"As a kid playing football in the yard, I looked up to all the great running backs," Tomlinson said. "But there were a lot of days I was Jim Brown out there on the football field. To do it here in Cleveland is extra special. I can't even tell you what it means because it seems like it was supposed to happen here in Cleveland."

After Tomlinson passed Brown on an 11-yard burst up the middle in the fourth quarter, San Diego's running back pointed toward the 73-year-old who was sitting in a luxury suite. He patted his heart and offered a salute.

"He's a class guy," Brown said. "We love each other. I came back here because I wanted to show my respect. My position in history doesn't matter to me, but the respect that I get and the respect I give is highly important. I could never do what a Barry Sanders or a Walter Payton or a Hugh McElhenny could do. They were totally different than me. I would break my legs trying to move like Barry Sanders."

Antonio Gates set a career high with 167 receiving yards for the Chargers (9-3), who dragged their cleats early and only led 13-7 at halftime. But quarterback Philip Rivers led San Diego on touchdown drives of 85 and 83 yards in just over nine minutes in the third quarter to open a 27-7 lead.

Tomlinson's TD with 5:58 left in the third put the Chargers up by 20, and placed the running back in elite company among NFL greats.

Tomlinson reached 150 TDs faster than any player in league history, hitting the milestone in his 137th game. Emmitt Smith needed 160 games to reach 150 and Jerry Rice didn't score his 150th until his 167th.

"I've always really enjoyed scoring touchdowns more than anything," Tomlinson said. "Part of the reason is that's how you win the game -- scoring touchdowns. I've always said that if I'm scoring touchdowns, then I think we're winning. So that's pretty special."

So, which was better, No. 150 or surpassing Brown?

"Passing Jim Brown. He transcended generations," Tomlinson said. "I can remember my father talking about Jim Brown as a kid. He loved him. Everybody loved Jim Brown and rightfully so. Even today when you talk about the great running backs, the majority of people will say Jim Brown is the best ever."

Tomlinson finished with 64 yards on 20 carries and has 12,321 yards. Tony Dorsett (12,739) is seventh all-time.

Rivers threw two TD passes -- both on short routes to running backs -- as the Chargers continued their surge following a 2-3 start.

With Dallas and Cincinnati looming on the schedule, San Diego couldn't afford to overlook the Browns (1-11), who have lost seven straight amid mounting injuries.

At halftime, San Diego seemed to be in trouble.

At the end of the third quarter, the Chargers had little concern.

"It got a little close," Rivers said. "Close enough to where you weren't too comfortable."

San Diego thoroughly dominated the Browns in the third, outgaining Cleveland 208-10 -- 164-0 in passing yards -- while holding the ball for 12:06.

Rivers was 7 for 8 in the quarter with four completions going to Gates for 114 yards. The highlight of San Diego's aerial assault came when Gates, the former Kent State basketball star, boxed out Abram Elam and Hank Poteat for a 56-yard reception.

"He never ceases to amaze me," Tomlinson said. "He's just so dominant, you can't cover him one on one. He looks like when he played basketball. When the ball is in the air, his mindset is, 'It's mine.' "

Brady Quinn threw three TD passes for the Browns, who have lost a franchise-record 10 straight home games and must get ready to play an angry Pittsburgh squad on Thursday. The Steelers lost at home to Oakland 27-24 on Sunday.

"They made a lot of big plays," Browns linebacker David Bowens said. "That was the key to the game. They have a lot of weapons. L.T.'s a great player and Gates made some big catches."

The Browns, who had a costly turnover in the first half, made the score respectable by scoring 16 in the fourth as Quinn hit running back Jerome Harrison for two TDs.

Phil Dawson's 49-yard field goal with 39 seconds left made it 30-23, but Tomlinson recovered an onside kick with 38 seconds remaining.

"That was the No. 1 play of the day, because that sealed the victory," Tomlinson said.

And his perfect day.

Game notes

Nate Kaeding kicked field goals of 32, 42 and 22 yards for the Chargers. ... Browns Stadium was less than half full at kickoff and any late arrivals missed the Browns' first TD, Quinn's 11-yard pass to Mohamed Massaquoi. Quinn went 6 for 6 for 61 yards on the scoring drive, Cleveland's first for a TD on an opening possession since Nov. 11, 2007 -- a span of 35 games. ... Browns DT C.J. Mosley injured his right leg in the first half. He left the stadium on crutches.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs2124
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays5969
Total Yards477372
Yards per play8.15.4
Total Drives109
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-33-4
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

cleTD8:43Mohamed Massaquoi 11 Yard Pass From Brady Quinn (Phil Dawson Kick is Good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 72 yds, 6:23
sdFG3:03Nate Kaeding 32 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 12 plays, 55 yds, 5:38
sdTD0:58Mike Tolbert 66 Yard Pass From Philip Rivers (Nate Kaeding Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 66 yds, 0:00
sdFG0:02Nate Kaeding 42 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 6 plays, 46 yds, 0:33
sdTD10:41Darren Sproles 31 Yard Pass From Philip Rivers (Nate Kaeding Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 85 yds, 4:30
sdTD6:02Ladainian Tomlinson 4 Yard Run (Nate Kaeding Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 83 yds, 3:22
cleTD9:23Jerome Harrison 8 Yard Pass From Brady Quinn (Phil Dawson Kick is Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 68 yds, 4:30
sdFG4:16Nate Kaeding 22 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 10 plays, 77 yds, 5:03
cleTD2:00Jerome Harrison 8 Yard Pass From Brady Quinn (Brady Quinn Run For Two-Point Conversion is No Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 58 yds, 2:17
cleFG0:43Phil Dawson 49 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 28 yds, 1:16