'LT' is letter-perfect

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Still Chargin
Staff member
Mar 5, 2006

By Bill Coats

SAN DIEGO — With nary a 100-yard rushing performance since the season opener, frustrated San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson was trying to remain patient.

"It wasn't difficult," he said. "But a thousand questions start to come when you don't have 100 yards. People start to wonder if you're getting old or you've lost a step."

The Rams will testify that no such worries are warranted. Not after Tomlinson shredded them for 240 yards from scrimmage — 183 rushing and 57 receiving — and scored three touchdowns Sunday in the Chargers' 38-24 triumph.

"We knew he was one of the best coming into the game, and he showed us that he was," Rams linebacker Brandon Chillar said. "He can do it all. You've got to give it to him."

The speedy and elusive Tomlinson, who at 5 feet, 10 inches and 221 pounds also is deceptively strong, provided San Diego with a 14-0 first-quarter lead by scoring on runs of 2 and 38 yards. His 25-yard touchdown reception gave the Chargers their biggest lead, 38-17, with 3 minutes, 58 seconds remaining.

"He's truly a double-threat as a running back ... kind of like what Marshall Faulk used to be for the St. Louis Rams," Rams defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said. "He sees a spot and he takes it. And then, obviously, he has the ability to make people miss."

Tomlinson averaged nearly 1,500 yards in his first five NFL seasons. But after gashing Oakland for 131 on Sept. 11, he had contributed just 68.4 per outing over the next five games. A local newspaper asked Sunday: "Anyone seen the Chargers' running game?"