SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The boos and rude chants came thundering down
on Eli Manning from the moment he ran onto the field, rising up
every time he lined up under center.
San Diegans got their payback, and it was raucous.
"I knew it was going to be loud," said Manning, who spurned
the Chargers 17 months ago, then lost to them as San Diego defeated
the New York Giants 45-23 on Sunday night.
While the sellout crowd of 65,373 delighted in tormenting
Manning, it also exhorted the Chargers and LaDainian Tomlinson, who
ran for 192 yards and three touchdowns, and threw for another score
on a night that left thousands of ear drums ringing, especially
Drew Brees threw two touchdowns for the Chargers (1-2), who had
485 total yards. Manning threw for a career-high 352 yards and two
touchdowns for the Giants (2-1), who gained 424 yards.
A few days before the 2004 draft, Manning's camp told the
Chargers to take someone else with the No. 1 pick, and implied the
Ole Miss star would sit out if San Diego selected him.
General manager A.J. Smith took Manning anyway, then traded him
to the Giants for quarterback Philip Rivers -- taken at No. 4 -- and
a handful of picks.
Chargers defenders said all week they were more concerned about
getting a win than getting even with Manning.
After Manning had to call a timeout early in the second quarter
deep in New York territory, the players egged on the crowd. When
Donnie Edwards sacked Manning on the next play, fellow linebacker
Steve Foley jumped all over Edwards in celebration.
Fans brought signs such as "Hey Eli, Nobody Likes You,"
"Drew's Your Daddy," and "Daddy's Little Girl," a shot at
Manning and his father, Archie.
In the front row behind the Chargers' bench, fans pummeled a
mannequin that was dressed in Manning's No. 10 jersey and a Giants
Stashed in Edwards' locker was a T-shirt imprinted with the same
phrase fans had been chanting.
"I saw my name on a few things," Manning said. "I'm sure they
made a good profit on T-shirts and things."
Edwards said he took Manning's slight personally.
"I was born and raised here in San Diego. It's almost like a
slap in the face for us. I think a lot of people took it that
way," he said.
"Hopefully we can put all that's happened with the Chargers in
the past," Manning said.
Edwards said it was so loud he had to use hand signals to make
the defensive calls. At one point, he was tempted to plug the ear
holes in his helmet with his fingers.
"The energy was awesome today," he said.
"They really gave the Giants a hard time, especially Eli,"
Tomlinson said. "It was an electrifying event out there and it was
like a playoff game."
Manning did quiet the crowd by leading the Giants on three
scoring drives late in the second quarter to pull the Giants to
21-20. Manning finished 24-of-41, both career bests, and was sacked
But the Chargers scored on their first three possessions of the
second half to put it away.
Early in the third period, Brees pitched to Tomlinson and the
running back rolled right and threw a scoring pass to Keenan McCardell, who for the second time in the game was isolated on a
"I thought I threw it too far but I guess the old man's still
got some legs," said Tomlinson, who also threw a TD pass to Brees
San Diego came back with a clock-eating drive that Brees
finished with a 14-yard touchdown pass to tight end Antonio Gates.
It was the first score of the year for Gates, who set an NFL record
for tight ends with 13 touchdown passes in 2004.
Brees was 19-of-22 for 191 yards.
Tomlinson scored on a 5-yard run to make it 42-23, and Nate Kaeding added a 44-yard field goal.
Tomlinson scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards in the first half.
The Chargers scored on their first three possessions to take a
21-3 lead. Tomlinson's touchdown runs bookended a 15-yard scoring
catch by McCardell, who easily outmatched linebacker Reggie Torbor.
Manning threw two touchdown passes in the span of 1:39 in the
second quarter, 5 yards to Plaxico Burress and, after Tomlinson
fumbled after making a catch and New York's Osi Umenyiora
recovered, to David Tyree from the 4.
New York's Jay Feely kicked a 40-yard field goal with 11 seconds
left before halftime.
San Diego had its highest point total since beating Miami
45-20 on Dec. 27, 1993. ... The Giants allowed the most points
since losing 45-7 at New Orleans on Dec. 14, 2003. ... Burress was
held out of the first two series because he was late for two
meetings during the week, coach Tom Coughlin said. ... San Diego's
268 rushing yards were third-highest in team history.
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