Chargers' streak hits 9

Last-minute TD is winner

Seattle clinches NFC West

Chargers 20 Seahawks 17

Nfl Week 16


December 25, 2006

SEATTLE -- The San Diego Chargers didn't need touchdowns from LaDainian Tomlinson to win. The Seattle Seahawks didn't need to win to capture the NFC West.

San Diego's record holder for touchdowns and favorite to win the league's Most Valuable Player award didn't score yesterday. Teammate Vincent Jackson did - twice - including on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers with 29 seconds left and the Chargers won their ninth straight game, 20-17 over the Seahawks.

The AFC West champion Chargers (13-2) set a team record for wins in a season. A victory at home against the Arizona Cardinals next week would give them the top seed in the conference for the first time since 1980. The Chargers already have an opening-round bye for the first time in 12 years, thanks to the Houston Texans beating the Indianapolis Colts earlier in the day.

Tomlinson was happy to give the spotlight to Jackson, who raced behind Michael Boulware for the winning score.

"I'm just as happy seeing other guys score than when I score," said Tomlinson, who has 31 touchdowns this season. "People expect me to score so much sometimes that it's kind of a relief when other people do it."

He wasn't the only one relieved after the game.

The Seahawks' sting of a tough loss was soothed by the Cardinals' victory over the San Francisco 49ers minutes earlier. That meant Seattle (8-7) clinched its third consecutive NFC West title despite its third straight loss.

Division-championship caps and T-shirts were in the Seahawks' lockers afterward, though linebacker Lofa Tatupu was the only player seen wearing any of the celebration gear.

"We may have won it by default, but the eight games we have won, we've earned it," Tatupu said while donning the white, division-title shirt that read "One game, one dream."

San Diego won despite Rivers missing on 19 of his first 26 passes. He finished 10-for-30 for 181 yards and is 18-for-53 in his past two games.

"I think struggle is a misused word," the first-year starter said. "I am not denying that I haven't played my best football ... but I think that the key stat is obviously we have won nine in a row."

Shaun Alexander, last season's MVP, ran for 140 yards and both Seattle touchdowns to rally the Seahawks from a 10-0 deficit in the second half. His spinning, 9-yard score put Seattle up 14-13 with 13 minutes left. Josh Brown added a field goal with five minutes to go.

San Diego 0 7 6 7-20

Seattle 0 0 7 10-17

Second quarter SD-V.Jackson 9 pass from Rivers (Kaeding kick), 3:18.

Third quarter SD-FG Kaeding 46, 12:12. Sea-Alexander 33 run (Brown kick), 6:10. SD-FG Kaeding 40, 2:24.

Fourth quarter Sea-Alexander 9 run (Brown kick), 12:58. Sea-FG Brown 33, 5:07. SD-V.Jackson 37 pass from Rivers (Kaeding kick), :29. A-68,174.

SD Sea

First downs 14 18

Total net yards 340 314

Rushes-yards 33-168 33-153

Passing 172 161

Punt returns 5-39 5-19

Kickoff returns 3-70 5-107

Interceptions ret. 2-15 0-0

Comp-Att-Int 10-30-0 17-37-2

Sacked-Yards lost 1-9 6-28

Punts 10-42.5 9-49.6

Fumbles-Lost 2-0 1-0

Penalties-Yards 10-85 6-50

Time of possession 27:09 32:51 Rushing-San Diego, Tomlinson 22-123, Turner 4-29, V.Jackson 2-8, Rivers 4-6, Neal 1-2. Seattle, Alexander 31-140, Hasselbeck 1-10, Morris 1-3. Passing-San Diego, Rivers 10-30-0-181. Seattle, Hasselbeck 17-37-2-189. Receiving-San Diego, V.Jackson 5-97, Gates 2-63, Tomlinson 1-10, Neal 1-7, McCardell 1-4. Seattle, Branch 5-61, Engram 4-65, Hackett 3-37, Stevens 2-24, Alexander 2-2, Morris 1-0. Missed field goals-None.

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