Eagles 20, Chargers 17
A big play from their much-maligned special teams saved the Philadelphia Eagles on a day their once-potent offense was ordinary again.
Quintin Mikell blocked a field goal, and Matt Ware returned it 65 yards for a touchdown with 2 minutes 25 seconds left, leading the Eagles to a 20-17 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
"All year, we've had some bad breaks on special teams and some silly mistakes. But to come out and put it all together and make a play was great," Mikell said.
LaDainian Tomlinson was held to a career-low seven yards rushing on 17 carries and his NFL record-tying streak of games scoring a touchdown ended at 18. The Chargers are 3-0 when Tomlinson has 20 or more carries, 0-4 when he doesn't.
San Diego's four losses have been by a total of 12 points.
Drew Brees rallied the Chargers from a 10-0 deficit with a pair of touchdown passes, but San Diego couldn't put the game away after the Eagles failed on fourth and one at their 30.
Mikell leaped to swat away Nate Kaeding's 40-yard attempt, Ware picked it up after one bounce and raced into the end zone.
"Usually it takes a funky bounce after a block, but this one came right up and it was, 'Whoa, Look at this!' " Ware said. "I said, 'This is it,' and started running. You know, high knees and pumping arms, and the guys were blocking for me. It's been since high school that I scored a TD. I saw the fans down in that end zone going crazy and they were getting closer and closer and the people were getting bigger."
The Chargers drove to the Eagles 19-yard line on the ensuing possession, but Sheldon Brown stripped Reche Caldwell and Darwin Walker recovered.
In a strange game that featured a ton of flags, including several that weren't penalties, the stadium's fire alarm went off late and fans were asked to leave. Very few complied and there was no delay. The sirens were set off accidentally, team officials said.
Donovan McNabb set an Eagles record with 35 completions on 54 attempts for 287 yards and one touchdown pass, and Terrell Owens caught his 100th career touchdown pass.
McNabb, playing through a sports hernia that will require surgery, broke Randall Cunningham's record of 34 completions against Washington in 1989 as the Eagles' offense had just 10 rushing attempts, excluding McNabb's scrambles and kneel-downs. Philadelphia has one touchdown on offense the last two games.
"You have to run the ball more, but when you get into a rhythm, you have to stay with what's working," McNabb said.
In his worst game as a pro, Tomlinson, who came in with 652 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns combined, lost yards on each of his first four carries and didn't have positive yards until the fourth quarter. He shares the NFL record for consecutive games scoring touchdowns with Baltimore's Lenny Moore, who scored in 18 straight from 1963 to '65.
"It's not so much a disappointment," Tomlinson said. "I've had a great run at it."
Shut down for the first 21/2 quarters, the Chargers relied on Brees's short passing to come back from a 10-0 deficit. Brees tossed a 19-yard scoring pass to Keenan McCardell to make it 10-7 late in the third quarter, and Antonio Gates's eight-yard touchdown grab on the third play of the fourth quarter gave San Diego a 14-10 lead.
The Chargers (3-4) were seeking to win their second game against a conference champion on the road. They had a 41-17 victory over two-time Super Bowl champion New England on Oct. 2 that ended the Patriots' 21-game home-winning streak.
"We're a good team," Chargers Coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "As long as we continue to play with that kind of effort and energy that we're playing with, we're going to be able to do the things we set out to do."
The Eagles (4-2) are 7-0 after a bye week under Coach Andy Reid.