Chargers fumble away playoff dream to Seahawks

November 26, 1990|By T.J. Simers | T.J. Simers,Los Angeles Times

SAN DIEGO -- If the San Diego Chargers still intend to go to the playoffs, it appears they now will need tickets.

On a night in which they had talked about starting a five-game winning streak, the Chargers went belly up to the Seattle Seahawks, 13-10, in overtime in front of a national television audience and 50,097 fans in San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.

In hindsight, it will be a game no more costly than the one the Chargers (5-7) lost in Dallas on a fake punt. But for now, it is their season.

"It's an empty feeling," safety Vencie Glenn said. "We've lost some games since I've been here, but this one hurts a little more than any other. It's a game we had won; a game we shouldn't have lost."

It was all but over. The Chargers were ahead 10-3, had the ball, and had Marion Butts, who ran for 128 yards on 28 carries. They were t-h-a-t close to talking about real playoff possibilities.

But on second-and-nine at the Seattle 49-yard line with just a little more than 10 minutes to play, quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver threw an interception.

Seattle's Eugene Robinson intercepted Tolliver's pass at the Seattle 30, returned it to the San Diego 40, and 10 plays later, Derrick Fenner dived over from the 1 to tie it up.

And still it was the Chargers' game to win.

"I thought we were going to win it," defensive end Burt Grossman said. "We were in field goal range, and then the fumble happened."

The Chargers had marched back and were on the Seahawks' 32-yard line and in position to attempt a game-winning field goal with less than a minute to play.

But after catching a short pass from Tolliver at the 25, tight end Arthur Cox fumbled at the 21, and the ball was recovered by Seattle.

The Chargers won the toss in overtime, but were pushed back to their 12 after drawing a holding call on the kickoff.

Then on third-and-six from his 16, Tolliver went looking for that man Cox again.

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