New Orleans loses to Washington. Come on. Jacksonville lose to Tennessee. But Karl The Birdman was flying high over the Adultfyi pool with a glittering 13-2 record. However pool leader Mike Dickinson did well enough with an 11-4 mark to increase his lead by three games over runner-up Plus One who went 10-5 for games that started Thursday night. Both gents have Cincinnati in the Monday night game. But San Diego and LaDainian Tomlinson were the overall story this weekend.
San Diego- Fate has been friendly to LaDainian Tomlinson. Karma has been kind. Luck loves the Chargers’ running back like a tot loves a new toy.
Talent helps, too.
Pro football’s touchdown factory continues to operate close to capacity, and last night lengthened his listings in the NFL record book with two more scores worth three new records. But if there were any doubt that LT is leading a charmed life, consider the second of his two touchdowns in the Chargers’ 20-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Chargers long snapper David Binn grabs the ball after the Chiefs blocked a punt. The Chargers retained possession on the unusual play.
The run spanned 85 yards – Tomlinson’s longest as a professional – and if he got touched en route to the end zone, it must have been by an angel.
You know Dame Fortune is infatuated with you when you get a punt blocked, yet maintain possession. This was the case for the Chargers last night, on the play immediately previous to LT’s long touchdown.
“Whenever you get a punt blocked, a lot of it comes on the punter,” Chargers punter Mike Scifres said. “I probably could have sped it up a little bit and gotten it out of there. But it made it a little easier to swallow when LT goes to The House.”
Footballs are known to take funny bounces, but this one belonged on Comedy Central. Kansas City’s Bernard Pollard got a hand on a Scifres’ punt late in the second quarter – a game-turning development in most games – only to have his handiwork undone by teammate Derrick Ross.
Because the deflected punt traveled past the line of scrimmage, Ross’ failure to field it cleanly was tantamount to a fumble. Since the ball was then covered by Chargers long snapper David Binn, the Bolts retained possession despite a punt that measured a measly four yards.
Chargers linebacker Donnie Edwards blunts a first-quarter Kansas City drive with his third interception of the season.”I heard the ball get blocked and then I looked and I just saw the ball on the ground,” Binn said. “To me, it looked like it was close to the line of scrimmage. . . . I figured I might as well make a play.
“We touch on it every year in training camp, usually, but it hasn’t been mentioned for a little while. Usually, if a ball gets tipped, it carries downfield a good 20-30 yards. Everybody knows to get away from it then. When it’s blocked – really blocked – and it’s going backward, everybody knows you can advance it.”
Neither Scifres nor Binn immediately understood, however, that this chain of events would allow the Chargers to keep moving the chains. When the ball’s on the ground, football players are trained to surround it before they calculate its proximity to the line of scrimmage.
“We were all shocked,” said Chargers guard Kris Dielman. “I didn’t know what was going on. I just knew we had to punt. We were upset about it. We got it blocked. We were even more upset about that. Then the next thing we know, we’re going out there for another series.
“Give this group some credit. We’re resilient.”
Once the officials had completed their calculations, and the Chargers offense returned to the field, it took only 12 seconds for Tomlinson to make maximum use of the reprieve. On the next play from scrimmage, he found a seam on the left side and streaked down the sideline with unfettered fury.
LT got so far out in front, in fact, that he was able to downshift momentarily to consider the angles taken by potential tacklers and the surest route to the end zone.
And still, no one came close to catching him. Give this guy an inch and he takes 85 yards.
“That was one of those plays that you draw up on the chalkboard,” Tomlinson said. “That was how it was supposed to happen – it was absolutely perfect. I don’t know if you can draw it any better than the way it happened. Everybody got their block; (fullback) Lorenzo (Neal) blew through the hole and just killed the linebacker. Once I saw the crease and I saw the safety take a bad angle, it felt like I was running track again.”
After 14 games, LT is still as fresh and appealing as a cinnamon roll when it leaves the oven.
“He’s a freak show,” said Chargers center Nick Hardwick. “To be that fast at this point in the season with tired legs, it says a lot about his conditioning and the way he works.”
The two touchdowns were Nos. 30 and 31 of Tomlinson’s extraordinary season. They moved him past Paul Hornung for the NFL’s single-season scoring record (186); past Shaun Alexander and Priest Holmes for the single-season rushing touchdown record (28); and past John Riggins for consecutive games with multiple touchdowns (8).
“I can’t keep up (with the records) any more,” Tomlinson said. “To be quite honest, I don’t want to keep up with them.”
The way he’s going, it would be easy to lose track.