- The Washington Times - Monday, October 8, 2007

DENVER (AP) — The San Diego Chargers figured the formula for turning their season around included holding on to the ball and getting a tide-turning takeaway on special teams.

They did all that and much more in handing the Denver Broncos their worst home loss since 1966, a 41-3 drubbing yesterday fueled by reigning MVP LaDainian Tomlinson and backup Michael Turner.

L.T. amassed 140 yards, including 73 on three receptions, and Turner added 147 yards on 10 carries, highlighted by a 74-yard touchdown trot along the Broncos’ bewildered sideline in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Philip Rivers even got into the act with the first rushing touchdown of his career. His 2-yard run on a naked bootleg was followed 11 seconds later by San Diego’s second score.

Brian Clark, re-signed last week after the Broncos gave up on kick returner Domenik Hixon, failed to follow his blockers and fumbled on a hard hit by Carlos Polk after Rivers’ touchdown. Brandon Siler snared the ball in the air and sprinted to the end zone, punching it past the left pylon for a quick 14-0 lead.

It was big, Tomlinson said. It definitely gained some confidence and momentum for us, something we definitely needed. We had talked about it last night, possibly hoping to get a turnover on special teams. But we did better than that; we got a touchdown. So that got us off on a good start. I think they never recovered.

Chargers coach Norv Turner, heavily criticized during his 1-3 start with basically the same team that went 14-2 under Marty Schottenheimer last season, said Tomlinson’s 36-yard gain on a screen pass after two rushes netted minus-2 yards on the Chargers’ first drive loosened up his tight team, as did Rivers’ touchdown run.

Then, the big hit on the kickoff return, we score bang-bang. You can feel our guys’ confidence come back, Turner said. We have more work to do, but we made progress.

And the Broncos (2-3), losers of three straight, slipped further into a funk that threatens to spoil their season. The fans braved the cold and windy weather at Invesco Field but could not deal with Denver’s dismal defense, emptying out before the fourth quarter had begun.

One week after committing four turnovers, the Chargers (2-3) had none in ending their three-game skid by winning consecutive games in Denver for the first time since 1967-68. They handed the Broncos their worst home loss since the Kansas City Chiefs’ 56-10 thumping Oct. 23, 1966.

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