Tomlinson threw his second touchdown pass of the season and added scores running and catching the ball in a performance for the record books, leading the San Diego Chargers to a 27-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
“In the celebration in the end zone I said, ‘Superman, you can do it all,”’ Brees said. “He can do a lot of things. Obviously, he had a big game today.”
Tomlinson delivered another big performance against the Raiders (1-4)—he has 620 yards rushing in the last four meetings—to help San Diego (3-3) dominate this rivalry in a way they haven’t since Al Davis was on the Chargers’ side.
They have won four straight over the Raiders for the first time since taking the first six meetings from 1960-62, when Davis was their defensive ends coach. Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer improved to 24-7 in his career against the Raiders.
“Marty hates the Raiders. I don’t know why,” safety Terrence Kiel said. “He told us that last night. It’s something personal.”
The Raiders, who had been competitive in their first three losses, regressed coming out of the bye week and struggled after losing Randy Moss with bruised ribs and a strained groin in the first quarter.
Oakland committed penalties to extend San Diego’s first two touchdown drives, Kerry Collins was just 24-for-48 for 292 yards and threw his first interception of the season, and the Raiders had only 39 yards rushing.
“You don’t feel good about anything when you played the way we played,” Raiders coach Norv Turner said.
Tomlinson showed off his all-around skills with 140 yards rushing and 39 yards receiving. But his biggest thrill came from his 4-yard touchdown pass to Justin Peelle late in the second quarter.
He is now 4-for-5 with three TD passes in his career, including two against the Raiders. He is the first player to pull off the touchdown trifecta— running, catching and throwing for a score in one game—since David Patten did it for New England in 2001.
“I always take pride in throwing a touchdown because as a running back it’s not something you’re supposed to do,” Tomlinson said. “So I really enjoy throwing the football.”
Operating out of the no-huddle offense at times, the Chargers scored 24 points in the opening half. After a third-down holding call on Nnamdi Asomugha gave San Diego a first down on its second drive of the game, the Chargers took advantage of a blown coverage.
Tomlinson came out of the backfield uncovered and caught a pass from Brees at about the 20 and jogged into the end zone, tying Lenny Moore’s NFL record by scoring a touchdown in his 18th straight game. Brees was 14-for-20 for 164 yards.
“When you make mental mistakes you give yourself no chance,” Raiders linebacker Danny Clark said. “Physically I don’t feel like a team can beat us. It’s about mental things. I take full responsibility on the play where 21 flared open and got that ball with no one covering him. No one is good enough to overcome that.”
On Oakland’s next play from scrimmage, rookie Shawne Merriman drilled Collins as he threw deep to Moss. The ball was intercepted by Bhawoh Jue and returned 20 yards to San Diego’s 45. The Chargers drove down to the 7, aided by a roughing the passer call on Derrick Burgess.
Tomlinson then ran it in from there, extending his NFL record of consecutive games with a rushing touchdown to 18.
“We tried different ways to get him the ball,” Schottenheimer said. “If you give him the ball enough times he’s going to make plenty of yards.”
Oakland lost Moss late in the first quarter when Collins underthrew him on a deep pass. Moss leaped in between two defenders before falling awkwardly to the ground. Moss was attended to by trainers and limped off the field. He played only one more play the rest of the game, finishing with no catches. He underwent X-rays and his status for next week isn’t known.
“When he left the game, it gave us more of an edge,” Merriman said. “They tried to hit us two times for big plays. When they finally figured out they weren’t going to beat us with 60 or 70-yard plays, they had to change their game.”
Tomlinson became the first player in NFL history to have at least 10 rushing TDs in each of his first five seasons. … Collins had gone a career-high 150 consecutive passes without an interception, dating to last season.