Chargers Backups Rally for 11th Straight Win

WR Kassim Osgood (Jeff Gross/Getty)

San Diego's starters spotted the Chargers a 10-0 lead. The reserves took over from there, enduring a 17-0 Redskins run and rallying in the fourth quarter to give the Chargers a 23-20 victory, tying the franchise record for most consecutive wins in a season at 11.

Philip Rivers made the most of his cameo appearance. He led the Chargers to scores on their first two drives, a 47-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding and 12-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Gates, to give his team a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.

The passing TD extended Rivers' streak of consecutive games with a touchdown to 13. It also gave Gates eight scores on the year, a total he's hit in six straight seasons.

Billy Volek subbed in late in the first quarter and finished 19-of-30 for 216 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Five of Volek's 19 completions went to Malcom Floyd, who finished with career bests of nine catches and 140 yards.

Starting opposite Floyd was Buster Davis, who played in place of Vincent Jackson and Legedu Naanee, who both sat with foot injuries. Davis made the most of his first appearance of the season, catching six passes for 52 yards; running once for 4 yards; and returning four kicks for 76 yards. The six catches were a personal best, topping his total for the entire 2008 season (four).


FB Mike Tolbert
Jeff Gross/Getty
The Chargers extended their streak of consecutive games with 20-plus points to 22, the longest active mark in the league. This despite playing a second-string offensive line for most of the game: LT Brandyn Dombrowski, LG Tyronne Green, C Dennis Norman, RG Louis Vasquez and RT Jon Runyan.

On defense, San Diego's starters played well and kept the Redskins off the board, including forcing a three-and-out on Washington's opening drive. But the subs had their share of problems, which were exasperated by sloppy tackling and missed opportunities.

Jason Campbell attacked Antoine Cason's soft coverage; Dante Hughes dropped a pick; and Tim Dobbins ceded an easy score to Mike Sellers.

However, the Chargers' reserves rallied late, just as the team's starters have done so many times this season. Washington went three-and-out on two of its last three drives; the other drive in that stretch ended with a goal line stand, when the Redskins were forced to settle for a field goal after moving the ball to the San Diego 3-yard line.

That goal-line stand set up the game-winning drive for the Chargers, on which Volek led the team on a 12-play march that culminated with a 2-yard TD pass to Mike Tolbert. It was Tolbert's fourth score in the last eight weeks.

Lightning Quicks

--LaDainian Tomlinson ran two times for 1 yard before being pulled. His replacement, Michael Bennett, finished with 11 carries for 28 yards and four catches for 62 yards.

--Pro Bowler Kassim Osgood caught his first pass of the season, which was good for 17 yards. He nearly had another catch earlier in the game but was ruled out of bounds. Norv Turner challenged the play, but the original call was upheld.

--Kaeding hit on all three field goal attempts, including a 47-yarder and a 45-yarder. He converted better than 91 percent of his attempts this season, a personal best.

--Kevin Burnett played after missing the previous two games with a neck injury. He finished second on the team with five solo tackles.

--Marques Harris picked up his second sack since returning to the Chargers, celebrating with his trademark back flip.



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Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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