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Advent Calendar - Day 4: October 3, 2004

LaDainian Tomlinson becomes San Diego’s leading rusher

This is a great time of year to be thankful for what we have, where we have been, and what the future holds. Although the Chargers have lost their way a bit in recent years, the month of December used to hold such incredible promise! This advent calendar is an attempt to hearken back to these days of December joy. Each day will bring a new advent from the Bolts’ history that make it wonderful to be a Chargers fan.

Dec. 4: October 3, 2004

October 3 is a day of great dignity, much like 300 and more various days in the year. However, for Chargers fans, it should hold special significance.

In just his 52nd career game, Ladainian Tomlinson rushed for 147 yards against the Tennessee Titans to pass Paul Lowe and become San Diego’s all-time leading rusher.

Don’t tell me that you don’t know who Tomlinson is or why he’s special. You’re better than that. Instead, we’ll revisit what made this day special in Chargers history.

The San Diego Chargers were dueling with the Tennessee Titans that day, one of the less threatening franchises in that day and age. That day was more than just a christening for Tomlinson, it also cemented Drew Brees as a Chargers great. In this game, Brees was exceptionally good: he went 16 for 20, completing 80% of his passes, tying Dan Fouts for 2nd all time for the Chargers.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher (does that name sound familiar?) was sore after the loss. He had used 3 different QBs that day, and the Titans were previously considered a force that year. The Chargers were not so dissimilar, and Drew Brees was trying to keep his job safe from 3rd string QB Philip Rivers who was promoted to backup QB for this game.

Antonio Gates had an 11-yard touchdown in the second quarter. There were a lot of names in this game that are still relevant today.

And yet, to those who were busy watching other teams that day, it was just another game. The Titans were 1-3 and the Chargers were 2-2. Neither team was such a force that this was to be MUST SEE TV. However, when the dust settled, records were broken, and Ladainian Tomlinson was no longer a name that teams could worry about on tape-day. He was his franchise’s leading rusher, and his 147 yards would be a typical run that season for LT.

This was as good a date as any to mark the start of a great era of Chargers football.

-Jason “Dates are sweet, but ” Michaels