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Washington at San Diego

Chargers ride backups past Redskins for 11th consecutive victory

CBSSports.com wire reports

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Chargers head into the playoffs on an 11-game winning streak, courtesy in large part to their backups.

Jim Zorn faces unemployment after yet another Washington Redskins loss.

Billy Volek threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to fullback Mike Tolbert with 35 seconds left to rally San Diego to a 23-20 victory against the Redskins on Sunday in Zorn's last game as their coach.

The Redskins (4-12) plan to fire Zorn on Monday, an official within the NFL told the Associated Press during Sunday's game. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement has been made. Zorn's dismissal has been expected for months.

Redskins-Chargers videos

Jim Zorn asked about future

Redskins-Chargers links

Official: 'Skins to fire Zorn on Monday

Postgame reports: Redskins | Chargers

Zorn said he hasn't been told he's being fired.

"I'm still reeling from this loss. Anything that I say about what my future here would just be babbling along," he said.

The AFC West champion Chargers (13-3) already clinched the AFC's No. 2 playoff seed and a first-round bye and had nothing to play for except to avoid injuries. After the starters went out, the game had the feel of an exhibition.

San Diego deactivated five starters who had been playing hurt, and quickly pulled most starters, including Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers, running back LaDainian Tomlinson and the offensive line.

"You work hard to get to this point," said Chargers coach Norv Turner, who was fired by the Redskins after 13 games in the 2000 season. "You work hard to position yourself. You work hard to get the bye and the home game. Now we want to take advantage of that."

Those sitting out to heal were outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, wide receiver Vincent Jackson, fullback Jacob Hester, safety Eric Weddle and defensive end Jacques Cesaire.

San Diego took a 10-0 lead after its first two possessions and Rivers made way for Volek, who hadn't had significant playing time since leading the winning drive in a 28-24 divisional-round playoff victory at Indianapolis two seasons ago.

"It feels good to get hit again," Volek said.

Volek was largely unimpressive until the final drive, when he moved the Chargers from their 42 with 4:25 left. He was 19 of 30 for 216 yards, with one interception.

"Hopefully I won't play in the playoffs," said Volek, who nearly was intercepted five plays before the winning TD. "I want Philip to stay healthy, but if my number is called, I have to go out and execute the plays that are called. We've been waiting a while to get back on the field. It was good for us to get an opportunity to show people what we can do."

The Chargers jumped ahead on Nate Kaeding's 47-yard field goal and Rivers' 12-yard scoring pass to Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates. Rivers, who had a handful of overthrows, was 9 of 15 for 99 yards.

"Anytime you suit up, you want to win," Rivers said. "We've got guys in here that got more playing time than normal, but also guys that, as we've seen all year, you never know when they can get called on as we head to the playoffs. Now we've put together 11 in a row. It doesn't mean anything as we go forward, necessarily, because we all get a clean slate, but it was great to win."

The Redskins looked inept early, including choosing to punt from the Chargers' 34 late in the first quarter.

Kaeding's 24-yard field goal early in the second quarter gave San Diego a 13-0 lead.

The Redskins scored on consecutive drives in the second quarter to take a 14-13 lead. Jason Campbell threw a 2-yard TD pass to Todd Yoder midway through the quarter. On the first play of the Skins' next drive, he threw an 84-yard pass to Malcolm Kelly to the Chargers' 4. Three plays later, Campbell found Mike Sellers wide open in the back of the end zone.

Graham Gano kicked field goals of 22 and 26 yards for the Redskins in the second half, and Kaeding kicked a 45-yarder.

Campbell was 28 of 42 for 281 yards.

"It's a bad loss," Kelly said. "It's a terrible loss. With everything that has been going on with this whole team, today kind of sums it all up. You get to the end again and you have a game won and lose again. We have to find a way to put it together. I think we will. I think we should have done it a whole lot sooner this year."

Firing Zorn likely won't be the only change with the Redskins.

"The team is going to be broken up in a lot of ways," Campbell said.


  • San Diego's Malcom Floyd had nine catches for a career-high 140 yards. Craig Davis started for Jackson and had six catches for 52 yards.
  • Washington defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin was shaken up after a helmet-to-helmet collision with teammate London Fletcher on San Diego's winning drive.
Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Chargers fullback Mike Tolbert strolls into the end zone with the winning score late in the 4th.
Chargers fullback Mike Tolbert strolls into the end zone with the winning score late in the 4th. (Getty Images)


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Sun. Jan. 3Final
San Diego
Pass: J. Campbell (28-42, 281) B. Volek (19-30, 216)
Rush: Q. Ganther (12-27) M. Bennett (11-28)
Rec: M. Kelly (5-109) M. Floyd (9-140)
Scoring Summary
FGNate Kaeding 47 Yd, 11:22. Drive: 8 plays, 46 yards in 3:38.
TDAntonio Gates, 12 Yd pass from Philip Rivers (Nate Kaeding kick is good), 6:36. Drive: 11 plays, 61 yards in 3:43.
FGNate Kaeding 24 Yd, 11:34. Drive: 11 plays, 74 yards in 5:06.
TDTodd Yoder, 2 Yd pass from Jason Campbell (Graham Gano kick is good), 5:16. Drive: 12 plays, 75 yards in 6:18.
TDMike Sellers, 3 Yd pass from Jason Campbell (Graham Gano kick is good), 0:39. Drive: 4 plays, 88 yards in 2:12.
FGGraham Gano 22 Yd, 9:06. Drive: 9 plays, 45 yards in 3:50.
FGNate Kaeding 45 Yd, 12:06. Drive: 8 plays, 59 yards in 3:01.
FGGraham Gano 25 Yd, 4:33. Drive: 14 plays, 69 yards in 7:33.
TDMike Tolbert, 2 Yd pass from Billy Volek (Nate Kaeding kick is good), 0:35. Drive: 12 plays, 58 yards in 3:58.

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Players of the Game

M. Floyd
Rec 9
Yds 140
Avg 15.6
TD 0

J. Campbell
Att 42
Comp 28
Yds 281
TD 2
J. Campbell28/4228120
Q. Ganther122709
M. Mason626017
J. Campbell3804
R. Cartwright1303
M. Kelly5109084
S. Moss655016
F. Davis646015
A. Randle El320012
R. Cartwright119019
M. Sellers31216
Q. Ganther1707
M. Mason1707
M. Mitchell1404
T. Yoder1212
San Diego
B. Volek19/3021611
P. Rivers9/159910
M. Bennett1128014
D. Sproles218012
C. Davis1404
L. Tomlinson2101
B. Volek1-10-1
M. Floyd9140050
M. Bennett462033
C. Davis652011
K. Osgood117017
L. Tomlinson217015
A. Gates112112
M. Tolbert3917
B. Manumaleuna1303
K. Wilson1303
Complete Player Stats
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TEN 17 Final
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CIN 0 Final
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PIT 30 Final
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