Tomlinson gets trifecta

Charger notches TD by run, pass, catch in victory

? Drew Brees might need to feel threatened about his job security. It’s not first-round pick Philip Rivers breathing down his neck, it’s star running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

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 it hasn’t since Al Davis was on the Chargers’ side.

The Chargers 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.

San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson throws for a second-quarter touchdown in the Chargers' 27-14 victory against the Raiders. Tomlinson tied an NFL record by scoring a touchdown in his 18th straight game, and then became the seventh player to run, catch and throw for a touchdown in the same game on Sunday in Oakland.

“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 four-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.”

San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson rushes for a first-quarter TD in the Chargers' 27-14 victory against the Raiders. Tomlinson tied an NFL record by scoring a touchdown in his 18th straight game, and then became the seventh player to run, catch and throw for a touchdown in the same game on Sunday in Oakland.

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 blown coverage.

Tomlinson came out of the backfield uncovered and caught a pass from Brees 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 seven, 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.”

Buccaneers 27, Dolphins 13

Tampa, Fla. – Ricky Williams is back, but it could be some time before the Dolphins can boast the same about their offense. Michael Pittman ran for 127 yards and a touchdown, leading Tampa Bay (5-1) to a victory that ruined Williams’ return from a one-year retirement and four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

Cowboys 16, Giants 13, OT

Irving, Texas – After four turnovers and two missed field goals, the Cowboys overcame it all with a 45-yard field goal by Jose Cortez on the opening drive of overtime. Eli Manning, who struggled all game, led the Giants on two long fourth-quarter drives. The first was killed when rookie Brandon Jacobs fumbled at the Dallas one. But New York (3-2) got the ball back and drove the Giants 52 yards to a tying TD on a 24-yard pass to Jeremy Shockey with 19 seconds left in regulation.

Broncos 28, Patriots 20

Denver – Jake Plummer hit on throws of 72 and 55 yards to give the Denver passing game big-play power for the first time this season in a victory against the two-time defending champions. Tatum Bell had a 68-yard run and finished with 114 yards, surpassing 100 yards for the second straight week. The Broncos (5-1) won their fifth straight.

Jaguars 23, Steelers 17, OT

Pittsburgh – If the Steelers didn’t realize the value of Ben Roethlisberger before, they do now. Rashean Mathis scored on a 41-yard return of a Tommy Maddox interception in overtime, and Jacksonville took advantage of four Maddox turnovers against the injury-thinned Steelers. The Steelers (3-2) lost their second straight at home. They looked to be in position to win following Quincy Morgan’s 71-yard kickoff return to start the overtime. But Maddox fumbled the ball away at the 27 with Jeff Reed readying to attempt a game-winning field goal on the next play. After the Jaguars punted, Maddox looked to his left, then went back to his right to try to find Morgan on a second-and-10 play from the Steelers’ 35, but Mathis cut in front and scored without being touched.

Miami's Ricky Williams, center, comes up without his helmet after taking a handoff during the first quarter against the Buccaneers. The Dolphins lost, 27-13, Sunday in Tampa, Fla.

Falcons 34, Saints 31

San Antonio – The itinerant New Orleans Saints still can’t get a break. Todd Peterson’s 36-yard field goal won it for Atlanta in the final seconds. But only after a miss from 41 yards was negated by a holding penalty on Saints defensive end Tony Bryant, a play that had no effect on the miss.

Bills 27, Jets 17

Orchard Park, N.Y. – Kelly Holcomb threw two touchdown passes in winning his second straight start. Willis McGahee had a career-high 143 yards rushing and a score, while receivers Eric Moulds and Jonathan Smith also scored touchdowns for Buffalo (3-3). The Bills defense had five sacks and forced three turnovers, including Terrence McGee’s interception in the end zone with three minutes remaining.

Bengals 31, Titans 23

Nashville, Tenn. – With a game they needed to win on the line, the Bengals found a way to get the ball to their top receiver. Carson Palmer tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Chad Johnson with 4:19 left that gave Cincinnati the lead for good, and the Bengals bounced back from their first loss of the season. The Titans (2-4) had won nine of the last 10 in this series between old AFC Central rivals, and Cincinnati (5-1) hadn’t won since the 2001 season finale.

Ravens 16, Browns 3

Baltimore – The Ravens forced three turnovers and sacked former teammate Trent Dilfer four times. Todd Heap scored the only touchdown for the Ravens (2-3), who bounced back from their worst start in franchise history after being penalized 21 times last week in a defeat at Detroit.

Bears 28, Vikings 3

Chicago – While the Vikings’ season continued to spiral out of control, the Bears might have saved theirs. Brian Urlacher had two sacks and led the Bears over a Vikings team reeling after allegations of drunkenness and sexual misbehavior on a charter cruise last week. It was the fourth loss in five games for Minnesota. Thomas Jones rushed for 89 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries for the Bears (2-3).

Panthers 21, Lions 20

Detroit – Playing in his first game since 2002, Chris Weinke threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Proehl with 32 seconds left for the victory. Weinke relieved Jake Delhomme, who was knocked out of the game on the game-winning drive when he was hit hard by safety Kenoy Kennedy. Weinke took over at midfield with 2:56 left and calmly led the Panthers (4-2) down the field. He completed five of seven passes for 47 yards.

Seahawks 42, Texans 10

Seattle – The NFC West-leading Seahawks methodically plundered Houston with Shaun Alexander’s four touchdown runs, dropping the NFL’s only winless team to 0-5. Seattle set a franchise record 320 yards rushing. Alexander ran for 141, and his backup, Maurice Morris, added 104. The Seahawks continued to separate themselves from the inconsistent Seattle teams of the last decade.