SAN DIEGO - LaDainian Tomlinson took over the NFL rushing lead and also scored on a 17-yard run to help the AFC West champion San Diego Chargers post a 23-3 triumph over the Denver Broncos last night.
The win was San Diego's fifth in a row and ninth in 11 games. They had also beaten Denver by a score of 41-3.
Tomlinson came into the game with 1,311 rushing yards, 5 shy of Pittsburgh's Willie Parker, who broke his lower right leg Thursday and is out for the rest of the season. Tomlinson finished the night with 107 yards before giving way to his backups in the second half.
Philip Rivers completed 17 of 25 passes for 189 yards. He connected with Chris Chambers for a 14-yard TD pass in the third quarter that opened up a 23-0 lead.
On Denver's opening drive, Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler fumbled after getting hit by defensive lineman Luis Castillo deep in Chargers territory, and linebacker Shawne Merriman recovered the football. Castillo was playing his first game after a six-game layoff following ankle surgery.
Former Eagles safety Clinton Hart had a sack and an interception for San Diego, while linebacker Shaun Phillips (Willingboro High) contributed a sack.
Buffalo left tackle Jason Peters will miss the season finale against the Eagles on Sunday because of a groin injury that also could keep him from playing in the Pro Bowl in February.
Coach Dick Jauron said yesterday that Peters would have tests this week to determine the severity of the injury suffered in the second quarter of the 38-21 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday.
Without Peters, Buffalo allowed three sacks, ending a franchise record-tying string of three games without a sack.
A fluke injury on a crazy play has ended New Orleans cornerback Mike McKenzie's season.
Coach Sean Payton said McKenzie tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while nearly recovering Donovan McNabb's fumble in what ended up being Philadelphia's first touchdown in the Eagles' 38-23 victory Sunday.
McKenzie, who had been the Saints' best defensive back this season, has been placed on injured reserve, as has reserve running back Jamaal Branch, who fractured his right leg during kickoff coverage.
Payton said Reggie Bush might return after missing three games with a partial tear of a ligament in the back of his left knee, an injury that normally requires about a month of rehabilitation.
Tennessee cornerback Eric King, also a key special-teams player, had season-ending surgery on his broken left forearm yesterday, an injury that will require up to six weeks for recovery. He was hurt making a tackle.
With Cleveland desperately needing a win to have any hope of making the playoffs, the Browns put starting nose tackle Ethan Kelly and backup safety Mike Adams on injured reserve with knee injuries suffered during Sunday's loss to Cincinnati. Adams is a product of the University of Delaware.
To replace running back Willie Parker, Steelers re-signed Verron Haynes, primarily a third-down back for them from 2002 to 2006.
Ravens. Willis McGahee will miss the season finale against the Steelers with two fractured ribs.
McGahee was hurt in Sunday's 27-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Besides McGahee, the Ravens (4-11) lost tight end Quinn Sypniewski (concussion), offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden (hamstring) and running back Mike Anderson (strained quad). Defensive tackle Kelly Gregg also left with a foot injury.
Carolina center Justin Hartwig sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee in a loss to Dallas and will miss the final week of the season. Rookie Ryan Kalil likely will start Sunday against Tampa Bay.
A torn knee ligament will keep Detroit running back Kevin Jones out of the team's final regular-season game this weekend and could sideline him until the start of training camp.
Jones, a Cardinal O'Hara High product, leads the Lions with 581 yards and eight touchdowns on 153 carries.
Reserve wide receiver Maurice Stovall (Archbishop Carroll) broke his right arm during the first half of Sunday's 21-19 loss at San Francisco and is finished for the season.
Stovall caught 10 passes this year. He is a second-year player from Notre Dame.