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Tomlinson Makes the Best of It

November 28, 2005|From the Associated Press

LANDOVER, Md. — Instead of crowing about a victory over his former team, Marty Schottenheimer decided once and for all to proclaim LaDainian Tomlinson the greatest running back ever.

Tomlinson tied the game with a 32-yard run late in the fourth quarter and won it with a 41-yard scamper on the second play of overtime. He ran for 147 of his 184 yards after halftime Sunday in the San Diego Chargers' 23-17 victory over the Washington Redskins.

"I believe with a certainty, in my opinion, he is the finest running back I have ever seen in professional football," Schottenheimer said. "And I know people say: 'Well what about Jim Brown? And what about Gale Sayers?' That's all well and good, but I tell you what, in the era that we're in now where you have defensive linemen that weigh 300 pounds and run 4.75, and these mammoth guys that are playing linebacker, I think with a certainty, in my opinion, he is the finest running back that I have ever seen."

Tomlinson is reason No. 1 the Chargers (7-4) overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit, as well as quarterback Drew Brees' three interceptions, to beat Washington (5-6). San Diego won its fourth in a row and stayed two games behind Denver in the AFC West.

"We found something that was working," Brees said, "and we stuck with it."

Tomlinson became the seventh player to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first five seasons, and hinted at better things to come.

"I'm only in my fifth year, and we still have five games to go down the stretch, and the offensive line is just now getting healthy," Tomlinson said, "so I'm looking forward to what we have here in the future."

Schottenheimer also became the second ex-Redskin coach in two weeks to defeat his former team. Norv Turner was emotional after his Oakland Raiders won 16-13 last week, but Schottenheimer said he had no particular "anxiousness or nostalgia" because he was in Washington for only a year.

"Whatever emotions he has, he made that second to winning the game," guard Mike Goff said. "We knew what was at stake. It was good to win one for the coach."

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