LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles each ran for two touchdowns and Philip Rivers threw for two more to spark San Diego past Tennessee 42-17 on Friday. San Diego's 10th victory in a row secured the Chargers (12-3) a first-round bye in the NFL American Conference play-offs, trailing only the undefeated Indianapolis Colts. The Chargers, who will have a conference semi-final game at home next month, can match the club-record win streak from 1961 with a home victory on January 3 against the Washington Redskins in their final game of the regular season.
Tennessee, trying to become the first team to reach the play-offs after losing their first six games, fell to 7-8, dooming their quest for the unprecedented salvation. "I was disappointed in the way we played," said the Titans' coach, Jeff Fisher. San Diego's 18th win in a row in December matched Miami for the NFL's all-time record in the pivotal month, although the run will have to wait until 2010 to be extended.
"It was nice to get the two seed, keep the streak in December going and position ourselves the best we can going into the post-season," Rivers said. The Titans opened the scoring on a 46-yard Rob Bironas field goal, but Vince Young threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and Tennessee incurred penalty after penalty to cripple their cause. "We couldn't get in a rhythm," Young said. "Too many turnovers. I can't do that for us to have a chance to win."
The Chargers finished 7-1 in road games, a club record, and earned praise from their coach Norv Turner for keeping their focus despite the distractions of playing on Christmas Day. "I'm proud and appreciate the way they prepared," Turner said. "Our guys have been unbelievable about not letting anything distract them." * With agencies