Lions Can't Stop Losing Skid

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- LaDainian Tomlinson and the San Diego Chargers left no doubt.
The Chargers repeated as AFC West champions by beating the punchless Detroit Lions 51-14 on Sunday, their fourth straight win and eighth in 10 games.
Tomlinson had 116 yards and two scores on 15 carries to continue his climb up the career rushing and touchdown charts. The rout was so complete that L.T. got the second half off, which allowed Darren Sproles to run for 122 yards and two TDs. It was the first time in Chargers history that two backs rushed for more than 100 yards in the same game.
Quarterback Philip Rivers, playing on a sprained left knee sustained a week earlier, joined Tomlinson on the sideline after playing the first series in the third quarter.
Detroit's Jon Kitna tied his career-high with five interceptions. Three of them came in the span of six plays in the first half, leading to 17 points.
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie broke a 46-year-old Chargers record with his 10th interception of the season, tops in the NFL. Cromartie's 10 picks have come in the last nine games, and he's been a starter for the last six. Cromartie also recovered a fumble on a kickoff.
Detroit had six turnovers, setting up 27 points.
With their third division crown in four years secured, the Chargers (9-5) need simply to win out to secure the AFC's No. 3 playoff seed. It's been a nice turnaround for a team that stumbled to a 1-3 start in Norv Turner's first season as coach.
The next challenge, of course, is finding a way to win in January. The Chargers have dropped four straight postseason games dating to their embarrassing Super Bowl loss to San Francisco on Jan. 29, 1995. Since then, it's been one-and-done three times, including last year's pratfall against New England after they went an NFL-best 14-2 under Marty Schottenheimer.
It's a sure thing they won't be facing a team as awful as the Lions (6-8) come the first weekend of January. Detroit has lost six straight following its 6-2 start.
Tomlinson passed Eddie George and Tiki Barber and took over 19th place on the career rushing list with 10,487 yards. His two touchdowns give him 127, moving him past Jim Brown (126) for seventh place all time. He also joined Eric Dickerson as the only players in NFL history to rush for more than 1,200 yards in their first seven seasons.
Sproles had one carry for minus-1 yard in the first half. He carried 24 times in the second half, scoring on runs of 1 and 11 yards. His 56-yard touchdown reception from Billy Volek was called back after tackle Shane Olivea, who recently lost his starting job, was whistled for being an ineligible receiver downfield.
Tomlinson, the reigning NFL MVP, scored on a 6-yard run to cap San Diego's opening drive and on a 2-yard run after the first of Kitna's interceptions.
That first pickoff went to safety Clinton Hart after bouncing off the hands of wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
After Tomlinson capped the short scoring drive, Kitna completed three straight passes to his teammates before throwing one right to Chargers linebacker Matt Wilhelm. That set up Nate Kaeding's 22-yard field goal.
On the first play of Detroit's next series, outside linebacker Shaun Phillips deflected Kitna's pass, leaped to catch the ball and returned it 18 yards for a 27-0 lead with 8:23 still to play before halftime.
Rivers threw a 1-yard scoring pass to Brandon Manumaleuna to make it 34-7 at halftime.
Kitna threw touchdown passes of 9 yards to Brandon Middleton and 17 to Shaun McDonald.


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