At San Diego, LaDainian Tomlinson scored on a 3-yard run and Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes, including a 59-yarder to Vincent Jackson, to give the San Diego Chargers a 34-7 victory against the Oakland Raiders on Thursday.
It was San Diego’s 11th straight win over their archrivals in a series dating to the birth of the American Football League in 1960.
The Chargers (5-8) snapped a three-game losing streak and won for just the second time in seven games. Once considered favorites to reach the Super Bowl, they’re still going to need a miracle to reach the playoffs. They trail Denver by 2.5 games in the American Football Conference West, and the Broncos have four to play.
San Diego’s Darren Sproles caught two TD passes. His 87-yard touchdown on a punt return in the fourth quarter was called back after rookie Antoine Cason was called for an illegal block in the back.
Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell was intercepted twice by linebacker Stephen Cooper and also lost a fumble, leading to 17 points for the Chargers. Russell didn’t get up right away after throwing his second interception and was later taken to the locker room on a cart with an injured right ankle.
Andrew Walter replaced Russell at the start of the third quarter.
Walter was intercepted by Matt Wilhelm late in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders (3-10) reached double digit losses for the sixth straight year. They are 22-71 since being routed by Tampa Bay and former Raiders coach Jon Gruden in the Super Bowl in San Diego on Jan. 26, 2003.
Tomlinson’s TD midway through the first quarter was the 137th of his brilliant eight-year career, moving him into sole possession of fifth place on the career list. He had been tied with Marshall Faulk, who was at the game working for the NFL Network.
Tomlinson had 91 yards on 25 carries. He has 1,906 career rushing yards and 22 total touchdowns, 19 on the ground, in 16 games against the Raiders. They are his most yards and touchdowns against any opponent.
■ SUSPENSIONS OPPOSED
AP, MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota
A federal judge was yesterday to be asked to decide whether five suspended NFL players deserve a chance to play this weekend.
At issue is whether the league had a duty to notify its players and their union that a dietary supplement the five took contained a banned ingredient. The NFL Players Association argues in a lawsuit filed on Thursday that the NFL knew about the tainted supplement but failed to share that information with players whose careers were on the line.
The union filed the lawsuit to block the suspensions of five of the six players who were banned this week for violating the league’s anti-doping policy. The union wants Kevin Williams and Pat Williams of the Minnesota Vikings, and Charles Grant, Deuce McAllister and Will Smith of the New Orleans Saints, to be eligible to play tomorrow.
Union attorneys were to go before US District Judge Paul Magnuson in St Paul yesterday to ask for a preliminary injunction. They said in filings that the players are critical to their teams’ playoff hopes.
“Not only these players, but their teammates and fans will suffer irreparable harm if the wrongful suspensions are not enjoined,” the memo said.
The five players were suspended for four games — the rest of the regular season — for testing positive in training camp in July and August for the banned diuretic bumetanide, which can be used as a masking agent for steroids. The drug was in the dietary supplement StarCaps even though the label did not list the diuretic as an ingredient.