Redskins 3

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Chargers 30

(1-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:15 PM ET, September 9, 2001

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA 

1 2 3 4 T
WSH 0 0 3 03
SD 10 10 0 1030

Turner's offense pounds his old team

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- One after another, the San Diego Chargers' newcomers ran off the field with mementos for their trophy cases.

LaDainian Tomlinson

LaDainian Tomlinson had a lengthy holdout, but his franchise rookie-record 36 carries Sunday showed San Diego believes in him.

Rookie LaDainian Tomlinson kept the two balls he carried in for touchdowns in San Diego's 30-3 win Sunday over the Washington Redskins.

Tim Dwight held onto the ball he carried 84 yards for a TD on a punt return. Cornerbacks Ryan McNeil and Alex Molden, newcomers to a secondary that was beaten for 33 touchdowns last year, each intercepted Jeff George.

These sure aren't the same ol' Chargers.

It was the first game of the post-Ryan Leaf era, and the Chargers didn't look anything like the team that was an embarrassing 1-15 in 2000. They needed just one afternoon to get their first win of the season, not three months like last year.

"When they all play hard, you have a chance," said general manager John Butler, who tore apart the roster after he was hired in early January.

Question on the Redskins: What went wrong on defense for Washington?
Cerrato: Everything that's gone wrong in the preseason. I don't see any intensity, I don't see any desire, I don't see any hunger -- it doesn't look like they're really enjoying the game or wanting to get after it. I think they looked the same as they looked in the preseason: horrible.

Question on the Chargers: How satisfying was this win for offensive coordinator Norv Turner?
Cerrato: I think Norv Turner sat back, smoked a cigar, drank a glass of champagne and toasted himself. It was a great win for Norv, and he's been preparing for it for a while. It's certainly satisfying for the ex-Redskins coach and for Norv Turner fans everywhere.

Vinny Cerrato,'s NFL analyst, has served as director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.

It was Butler who traded the first pick in April's draft to Atlanta, which took Michael Vick. The Chargers ended up with Dwight and the fifth pick, which they used on Tomlinson.

Despite missing most of training camp in a contract holdout, Tomlinson ran for 113 yards on 36 carries and scored on runs of 3 and 1 yards. He was San Diego's first 100-yard rusher in 17 games.

Tomlinson's performance helped Norv Turner, the Chargers' offensive coordinator, exact revenge on the Redskins, who fired him as head coach with three games left to play last season.

"I knew my job was to come in and run the football," Tomlinson said. "I knew Norv was going to give it to me and give me the opportunity. I knew I had to step up to the challenge whether I was ready or not. I made myself ready before camp."

Dwight scored on his punt return just 3:29 into the game, and Wade Richey, who replaced longtime kicker John Carney, had three field goals.

Quarterback Doug Flutie, who at 38 finally doesn't have to look over his shoulder, had an average day in his Chargers debut. He completed 10 of 18 passes for 129 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

Junior Seau and safety Rodney Harrison led a smothering defense that allowed only Brett Conway's 40-yard field goal with 38 seconds to play in the third quarter.

The Redskins had just 161 yards total offense, and Stephen Davis, one of 19 running backs who rushed for more yards last year than the entire Chargers team, was held to 35 yards on 14 carries. He fumbled three times, losing one.

"We're going to stay humble," Seau said. "We're the 1-15 Chargers until we prove otherwise."

Still, it's a vast change from last year, when the Chargers went 0-11 before winning their first game.

San Diego might have had a shutout if not for two turnovers deep in its own territory. A lost fumble by Tomlinson was negated when Harrison recovered a fumble by Davis at the Chargers 5. But wideout Curtis Conway fumbled after a catch two plays later, setting up Brett Conway's kick.

The Redskins' new coach, Marty Schottenheimer, returned from a two-year hiatus to take over a team that badly underachieved last year, going 8-8 when it thought it could reach the Super Bowl.

The Skins started 2001 much the way they finished last year. They fumbled seven times, recovering five, and finished with four turnovers.

George lost a fumble to go with his two interceptions, and he was 8-of-18 for 66 yards before Tony Banks replaced him in the third quarter.

Schottenheimer wouldn't say who will start the Redskins' home opener against Arizona next Sunday. George refused to speak to reporters.

"This is Jeff George's team and it's going to stay that way until someone tells me otherwise," said Banks, who's been with the Skins only three weeks, since Dallas cut him.

San Diego, which led the NFL with 50 turnovers last year, also had four turnovers.

Dwight needed just one block to spring him on his 84-yard return of Bryan Barker's punt.

Tomlinson scored on a 3-yard run in the second quarter that made it 17-0. He also scored on a 1-yard run with 4:16 left in the game.

Richey, shaky in the exhibition season, had field goals of 21, 48 and 32 yards. He replaced Carney, whose 52-yard field goal with just more than two minutes left gave San Diego its only win last year, 17-16 over Kansas City on Nov. 26.

Game notes
Tomlinson's 36 carries were the most by a Chargers rookie and tied for third-highest in team history. ... Skins rookie CB Fred Smoot, who beat out 19-year veteran Darrell Green, had his first interception. ... Chargers TE Freddie Jones got debris in his eyes from on-field fireworks that were shot off during introductions and had to be helped to the bench so the trainers could clean it out. ... San Diego won for the first time in seven games against Washington. ... The last Chargers punt return TD was by Eric Metcalf against Denver on Nov. 30, 1997.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

Drive info: 0 plays, 0 yds, 0:00
Drive info: 3 plays, 2 yds, 0:45
sdFG0:59Wade Richey 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, -60 yds, 1:44
wshFG1:24Brett Conway 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 3 plays, 16 yds, 0:-04
sdTD9:22LaDainian Tomlinson, 3 yd run
Drive info: 6 plays, 45 yds, 2:09
Drive info: 6 plays, 45 yds, 2:09
sdFG11:13Wade Richey 10 yd Field Goal323
sdFG3:51Wade Richey 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, -35 yds, 5:31
sdTD4:42LaDainian Tomlinson, 1 yd run
Drive info: 8 plays, 70 yds, 5:07
Drive info: 8 plays, 70 yds, 5:07