PANTHERS 6LaDainian Tomlinson ran right, smack into a Carolina defender. He went left and was tackled again. Almost everywhere the San Diego running back went, the Panthers' maligned run defense was there to stop him.
Only once did Tomlinson have any running room, and that was enough.
Tomlinson scored on an eight-yard touchdown run Sunday to lift San Diego to a 17-6 win over Carolina that equaled the Chargers' (4-3) win total from last season.
It was a disheartening loss for Carolina (1-5). The defending NFC champions have lost four straight and had pointed to this game as one that could turn around the season.
Trailing 10-6 with 6 minutes 29 seconds to play, the Panthers used three long pass plays to Keary Colbert to move into scoring range.
But after a sure touchdown slipped through Muhsin Muhammad's fingers in the end zone, the Panthers seemed to panic. They ran Nick Goings for five yards gain on second and 15 at the 30, then handed off to rookie Joey Harris on third and 10.
Harris barely gained a yard, seemingly setting Carolina up for a John Kasay field goal. Instead, the Panthers went for it and Muhammad failed to make a catch to keep the drive alive.