|FBG Mobile Home|
Week 1 vs. CHI
Passing: 1 - 1, 17 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 17 / 25 / 1
Receiving: 7 / 51 / 0 on 10 targets
It is clear that the San Diego game plan was to force-feed the ball to Tomlinson every chance they could. And it was just as clear that the Bears defensive gameplan was to ensure Tomlinson's running wouldn't beat them. Yet even the best-laid plans can go awry, as Tomlinson beat the Bears in another way --- with his arm. He threw the seventh touchdown pass of his career, which puts him just one behind all-time leader (and his idol) Walter Payton on the non-QB passing touchdown list. Tomlinson was bottled up by Chicago defenders for just about the entire afternoon, but managed to find TE Antonio Gates on a designed roll-out pass, a play borrowed from the Cam Cameron playbook of the past few years. Roughly six minutes later, Tomlinson scored on the ground from seven yards out, proving that it's possible for him to have an excellent fantasy game even when he is being all but shut down by the opposition. His ten passing targets tied a game high, and his touchdown run later in the game was a combination of power and agility, as he broke two tackles and maneuvered around another on his way for the score.
Week 2 vs. NE
Rushing: 18 / 43 / 0
Receiving: 4 / 15 / 0 on 7 targets
Tomlinson found little running room and struggled to gain 43 yards. He caught four passes for 15 yards. With the Chargers falling behind quickly, the Chargers offense tried to pass its way back into contention, but the Patriots defense clearly had him targeted as the one player they had to stop.
Week 3 vs. GB
Rushing: 22 / 62 / 0
Receiving: 3 / 33 / 1 on 5 targets
Perhaps the only person more frustrated at this point than a LaDainian Tomlinson owner is the man himself. The normally reserved, soft-spoken Tomlinson lashed out on the sideline against QB Philip Rivers late in the third quarter following an incomplete pass on third down. It was unclear what it was about, but it was very out of character for Tomlinson. Perhaps he was simply frustrated by his own lack of productivity, which once again rendered his rushing duties almost meaningless (62 yards on 22 carries for a paltry 2.8 YPC). Tomlinson did manage to salvage a halfway decent fantasy game by adding another score in the passing game. He took a short screen from Rivers and scampered 21 yards to the end zone about midway through the third quarter. But that was far and away the highlight of his day, as the Green Bay run defense did a very solid job of bottling him up all game long. One other note: one of Tomlinson's receptions/targets was a ball that was batted up in the air at the line of scrimmage and wasn't actually intended for him --- but he gets the target and the stats anyway. The play ended up being a 14 yard gain.
Week 4 vs. KC
Rushing: 20 / 132 / 1
Receiving: 5 / 22 / 0 on 7 targets
Based upon his tone in the postgame press conference, Tomlinson is clearly growing more than a bit agitated with the constant struggles of the team. Based upon his performance in the game, there may be little he can do to avoid them. Tomlinson turned in a vintage first half performance in this game, gaining 116 yards and a touchdown on 14 first half carries. Yet while he was finally able to get himself going, the rest of the team was stalling. Despite the proficient run game, one never got the feeling that San Diego was in complete control of the game. They consistently turned it over, couldn't play defense, and effectively phased the running game out of their playbook after halftime. Tomlinson ran just six times for 16 yards in the entire second half, and never came close to the end zone. His first touchdown run was a simple five yard carry off of the left tackle as he was basically untouched. He nearly added a second score later in the first half but was just tripped up from behind during a 37 yard scamper. But he never saw such success in the second half. There was a pass intercepted that was originally intended for Tomlinson, but he never saw the ball coming as his head was turned the other way. That's not the first time that has happened this season, and it's yet another example of the blatant lack of offensive cohesion and the glaring miscommunication going on between the players right now. On San Diego's final possession, Philip Rivers had a wide open Tomlinson in the flat on third down from the five yard line, but never threw him the ball. There were a couple of defenders near the goal line so it wouldn't have necessarily been a touchdown, but it wouldn't exactly have been the first time Tomlinson made someone miss in the open field. It was very odd to see Rivers not even consider throwing him the ball, despite seeing him twice on the play and then just checking off to someone else.
Week 5 vs. DEN
Rushing: 21 / 67 / 0
Receiving: 3 / 73 / 0 on 5 targets
The Chargers force fed the ball to Tomlinson early and often, and not surprisingly the end result was a win for the Chargers. The team gave him the ball in all situations, including a third down and four which garnered them a first down run early in the first half. He caught passes out of the backfield, and seemed to have a little extra bounce in his step --- likely due to the offensive line creating numerous running lanes for him to work with. He looked great in space on two separate screen passes and almost never went down on the first hit. About the only two negatives on his day were: 1) He failed to reach the end zone, instead watching Philip Rivers take a naked bootleg off the right side for the two yard score, and 2) He didn't play at all in the fourth quarter because the game was a blowout.
Week 6 vs. OAK
Rushing: 24 / 198 / 4
Receiving: 3 / 16 / 0 on 4 targets
In Tomlinson's case the statistics paint an exact portrait of how well Tomlinson did. He tied a career high with four rushing touchdowns, passing John Riggins and tying Jim Brown on the all-time rushing touchdown list. His third carry of the game went for 23 yards, and by then it was already on. He finished with a season high 198 yards on the ground, with separate touchdown runs of 27 and 41 yards. His first score of the game was a leaping maneuver that combined awesome leaping ability with precise balance, as he shot up over the pile and maintained control all the way to the ground. He was untouched on the second score of the game. The third touchdown was a pitch to the left side against the formation on which he dragged a tackler into the end zone with him. And his final score of the game was supposed to be a simple run off of the right tackle to pick up a first down. But no Oakland defenders got anywhere near him, and once he got past the first level of defenders he was gone for the score. He fought off tacklers, made people miss in the open field, and generally looked a lot like the player who set the league's all time touchdown mark a year ago. If you haven't been able to pry Tomlinson away from a panicky owner in your league yet, it appears that that opportunity is all but gone.
Week 8 vs. HOU
Rushing: 17 / 90 / 0
Receiving: 1 / 1 / 0 on 1 targets
It was a rare, fairly quiet performance for Tomlinson. He gained 91 yards from scrimmage on a mere 18 touches, which works out very well for San Diego in that they got a big victory without having to wear out their meal ticket. Of course, even on a quiet afternoon Tomlinson still evoked comparisons to legendary Hall of Famers Earl Campbell and Walter Payton on a particularly bruising 15 yard burst up the middle during a third quarter carry. He also showed remarkable concentration and agility on a second quarter carry, despite the fact that the play began with a lack of concentration. He took a pitch from Rivers on a sweep to the right side and looked upfield before he had secured the ball. He juggled it not once, but twice, before quickly regaining a firm grip on it. Despite the momentary stumble, he still managed to regain his composure and turn upfield for a nine yard gain. As if you need us to tell you -- Tomlinson's pretty good.
Week 9 vs. MIN
Rushing: 16 / 40 / 1
Receiving: 6 / 37 / 0 on 10 targets
Facing one of the league's best run defenses, Tomlinson had trouble finding any room to run at all. His big gain of the day went for 11 yards, but his other 15 carries totaled just 29 yards. He did manage to find the end zone, but even that was a struggle as he was stuffed at the goal line both on first and second down. The touchdown was the 107th score of his career, passing the great Jim Brown on the league's all-time touchdown list. While his highlight reel for the game won't compare to counterpart Adrian Peterson, Tomlinson did show terrific skill and concentration late in the fourth quarter with a one-handed grab on a crossing route that was thrown behind him.
Week 10 vs. IND
Rushing: 21 / 76 / 1
Receiving: 4 / 21 / 0 on 5 targets
Tomlinson carried the ball 21 times for 76 yards, with a five yard touchdown in the second quarter. He caught four of his five targets for 21 yards. With the Chargers jumping out to such a large lead early, Tomlinson was leaned on often, though did not find a lot of room to run. Philip Rivers could not provide a threat through the air, so the Colts were able to stack the box and limit Tomlinson's effectiveness. Had the Chargers been able to move the ball with any regularity, he likely would have seen even more touches in this game.
Week 11 vs. JAX
Rushing: 16 / 62 / 1
Receiving: 5 / 93 / 0 on 6 targets
Tomlinson started play needing 91 rushing yards to reach 10,000 for his career. He currently stands 29 yards shy now. While he was obviously unable to do much in the running game, he had huge contributions in the short passing game. He picked up 93 yards on five receptions, and showed a bevy of great open-field moves. He also found the end zone for the tenth time this season, making him one of only three players in the history of the league to score at least ten touchdowns in each of his first seven seasons (Jim Brown and Emmitt Smith are the others). The touchdown also put him one behind Walter Payton on the league's all-time rushing touchdown list, and the milestones he is putting up at this young age are mind-boggling. He gave his owners a bit of a scare when he gingerly walked off the field briefly during the second quarter, but he returned soon after looking no worse for wear. What was probably more damaging to Tomlinson was the affect the loss had on his psyche. On two occasions, his frustrations were very evident. On a third and one handoff to FB Lorenzo Neal, Neal was stuffed in the backfield short of the first down. On the ensuing replay, Tomlinson was visibly upset as he walked off. Later, on a fourth down option pass, Tomlinson was unable to lose the defenders and simply ran out of bounds for a turnover on downs. When shown on the sideline, he appeared to be very dejected on the bench.
Week 12 vs. BAL
Rushing: 24 / 77 / 0
Receiving: 6 / 45 / 0 on 8 targets
Tomlinson had a hard time getting into a groove against a focused Ravens rush defense. He finished with just over a 3 yard per rush average. His long run of the game was 36 yards. Tomlinson finished third on the team in receiving yards, and tied with Antonio Gates to lead the team in receptions. Despite being contained by the Ravens, he still produced a good fantasy game.
Week 13 vs. KC
Rushing: 23 / 177 / 2
Receiving: 3 / 20 / 0 on 4 targets
Tomlinson enjoyed a fantastic second half en route to one of his best games of the season. In the process, he tied and then surpassed his idol, former Chicago Bears RB Walter Payton, on the league's all time rushing touchdown list. After the game, an emotional Tomlinson reflected on how much it meant for him to even be mentioned in the same breath as the legendary Payton. What the humble Tomlinson failed to mention is how legendary his own statistics are starting to appear. He went over the 100 yard mark for the game midway through the third quarter, and broke the 1,000 yard milestone with a nice 34 yard run up the sideline later on. He showed his customary shiftiness and elusiveness in the open field, and Kansas City had a lot of trouble getting a good hand on him. On the second touchdown run, the entire Chiefs defense knew Tomlinson would be getting the ball on a third and one call from the Kansas City 28 yard line. But Kansas City sold out so hard on the run that once he broke through the first wall of tacklers, there was no one left in the defensive backfield and he waltzed into the end zone basically untouched. Anyone who is still concerned with Tomlinson's off season can take solace in the knowledge that after this game he's now currently on pace for a shade under 2,000 total yards (1,968) and 16 total touchdowns --- and with games still remaining against the likes of Detroit, Denver, and Oakland.
Week 14 vs. TEN
Rushing: 26 / 146 / 1
Receiving: 5 / 27 / 1 on 8 targets
For about 50 minutes, Tomlinson looked like one of the most miserable football players in the history of football. His team was trailing by two touchdowns, his offensive line wasn't opening any holes, his quarterback was throwing the ball everywhere but to the receivers, and the defense was being gashed by the likes of LenDale White and Chris Brown. Tomlinson showed a couple of very uncharacteristic examples of his frustration boiling over. Late in the first half, following his best run of the game to that point, he shoved Cortland Finnegan in the face after a play had already ended, resulting in a 15 yard penalty that all but wiped out a 16 yard run. Then in the second half, he was seated on the bench on the sideline when Philip Rivers came over and sat next to him. No sooner was Rivers seated than Tomlinson shot up out of his seat without acknowledging his quarterback. Perhaps it was mere coincidence that Tomlinson just really wanted to get up and stand about 12 feet away from where he just was, but the two certainly didn't seem to be buddy-buddy at the time. Fortunately for Tomlinson, Rivers had enough strength to fight through his leg injury and lead San Diego on two separate touchdown drives towards the end of regulation to tie the game. During those drives, Tomlinson was featured prominently, picking up 36 yards from scrimmage (including the first touchdown). In overtime, the Titans got a very healthy dose of Tomlinson, picking up 36 yards on his six overtime carries including the game winner from 16 yards out.
Week 15 vs. DET
Rushing: 15 / 116 / 2
Receiving: 2 / 7 / 0 on 2 targets
Tomlinson put up an astounding fantasy game, and it becomes even better when you realize that he did it all in half a game. He never left the bench during the second half, except to congratulate Darren Sproles on his touchdown runs. That aspect of the game was very telling for Tomlinson, as he truly seemed to be enjoying himself on a day when the Chargers could essentially do no wrong. Aside from the obvious terrific statistics, Tomlinson enjoyed a few milestones along the way. On his second carry of the game, he joined Eric Dickerson as the only two backs in league history to rush for at least 1,200 yards in each of their first seven seasons. Then during the game, he tied and subsequently passed legendary Jim Brown on the league's all-time touchdown list by scoring the 126th and 127th touchdowns of his career. Additionally, he passed two recent greats, Eddie George and Tiki Barber, to move into 19th on the all-time rushing yardage list. The only thing that could be seen as a negative was when he was given two carries from inside the five yard line late in the second quarter and was unable to punch either one in. Later, he busted a 49 yard run all the way to the nine yard line but was run out of bounds at the end. Still, we doubt many of his owners are complaining with 24.3 points in one half of play.
Week 16 vs. DEN
Rushing: 19 / 107 / 1
Receiving: 2 / 7 / 0 on 3 targets
Tomlinson passed Willie Parker of the Steelers and opened up a large lead on Minnesota's Adrian Peterson for the league's rushing title. In his last four contests, he has 546 yards on just 83 carries (6.6 YPC) and six rushing touchdowns. He's added another 61 receiving yards and another score in the passing game. In this game, he once again put up the bulk of his damage in the first half before mostly giving way to the backups once the Chargers got out to a big lead. Right from the outset of this one, it was pretty apparent that Tomlinson was going to have his way with the Denver defense. He had several nice open field runs featuring spin moves, cut-backs, and his previously reported hamstring issue was not a concern at all. However, he did come up barely grabbing at his hamstring late in the second quarter and it was reported afterwards that he did re-aggravate it just a bit. He said after the game that he wanted to go back in, but HC Norv Turner opted to err on the side of caution and only give Tomlinson four more carries the remainder of the game before calling it a day. He reached the 100 yard mark for the fourth game in a row and the sixth time this season by the midpoint of the third quarter. And to top it all off, Tomlinson also added his 15th touchdown on the year, marking the fourth consecutive season he's reached that milestone.
Week 17 vs. OAK
Rushing: 16 / 56 / 0
Receiving: 1 / 7 / 1 on 1 targets
Tomlinson didn't come close to the 198 yards and four touchdowns he had the first time these teams played earlier this season, but he did manage to find the end zone on a reception and he also managed to reach a few milestones along the way. He beat out Minnesota's Adrian Peterson to win his second consecutive rushing title, the first player since Edgerrin James to accomplish the feat. And in so doing, he also became the 21st player in league history to go over 14,000 yards from scrimmage in his career. The Raiders swarmed to the ball at every opportunity, and bottled him up for most of the afternoon. Still, considering he had 63 combined yards and a touchdown in roughly two and a half quarters of action, it wasn't an entirely awful performance. Yes, the running lanes were scarce. And he had a very frustrating afternoon on a personal level. But as usual, Tomlinson managed to produce something worthwhile for fantasy owners and it's that consistency from week to week that most players crave from their top picks.
Week 18 vs. TEN
Rushing: 21 / 42 / 1
Receiving: 3 / 19 / 0 on 5 targets
Tomlinson had one of his toughest games, individually speaking, as a professional. His six yards at halftime was the second lowest rushing total in one half in his career, and the Titans clearly were making a concerted effort to ensure that they wouldn't allow Tomlinson to beat them. There was literally no room to maneuver, and he had to fight hard for every one of those 42 yards he picked up. And, as usual, despite a meager stat line, Tomlinson still managed to please fantasy owners by finding the end zone. He took a third down pass down to the one yard line and it was unclear whether the Chargers would kick the field goal and go up 13-6 or opt to try for the touchdown. HC Norv Turner elected to go for the score, and it worked. It was a controversial score, as Tomlinson leapt up and over the pile and was seemingly stopped. He was initially knocked back by LB Stephen Tulloch, but a second effort (with a little help on a shove from behind) resulted in the ball breaking the plane of the end zone for the score. That touchdown put the Chargers up 17-6 and put the game out of reach.
Tomlinson probably could have scored earlier in the game when he was wide open in the flat from five yards out, but Rivers never saw him. However, if the Chargers had scored there then it's unlikely they'd have gone for it on the fourth down run, so it's not like he missed out on a potential two touchdown day.
Week 19 vs. IND
Rushing: 7 / 28 / 0
Receiving: 1 / 20 / 0 on 1 targets
In what was probably the biggest game of his career to this point, Tomlinson didn't stick around very long to play in most of it. He had a nondescript beginning to his afternoon when he took an inside handoff to the six yard line. Tomlinson was spun down awkwardly and fumbled the football, which was recovered by San Diego. But more importantly, Tomlinson's left knee was either banged into or twisted under the pile and he was forced from the game. He was seen on the sideline rubbing the knee and trying to work the problem out by riding on the stationary bike. At one point, he was jogging and doing some quick cuts and was seemingly ready to come back in. But when the second half began, Tomlinson remained on the sideline (in uniform) and never came back in. After the game, it was revealed that he had suffered a bruised knee and will be listed as questionable for next week's AFC Championship Game. Judging by the way he was walking around on the sideline and the fact that he remained on the sideline for the entire second half, it seems like he'll be able to play in the game. But at this point, that is just speculation and we'll obviously have a more definitive word on his status as the news comes in throughout the week.
Week 20 vs. NE
Rushing: 2 / 5 / 0
Tomlinson, who was questionable to even play in the game after suffering a hyperextended knee, ran for five yards on his first two carries. He then caught a one yard pass to the sideline on the second possession before exiting the game for good. It was initially reported as a coach's decision to remove him from the game and that he hadn't been injured, but that was perhaps the least believable bit of news any of us have ever heard. He remained on the sideline for the duration of the contest, helmet and visor covering his face, wrapped in a parka, and seemingly expressionless. It is unknown how badly he was hurt, though he revealed afterwards that he re-aggravated the knee on the first play of the game. If it was significant enough to force him out of the biggest game of his professional career, then it's something we'll keep an eye on during the offseason and let you know if it's something to concern yourself when making 2008 fantasy draft plans.
For what it's worth, unlike last season Tomlinson did go out onto the field and offered congratulations to several Patriots players. If you recall, at the end of last year's playoff loss to New England, Tomlinson hurriedly left the field after what he deemed a classless lack of respect being shown by several Patriot players for mocking Shawne Merriman on the Charger logo at midfield.