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Chargers Continue Strong Run

Times Staff Writer

The sky was dark and the weather cool but for local fans it was all sunshine and warmth Sunday as the surging San Diego Chargers beat the New Orleans Saints, 43-17, in front of 59,662 at Qualcomm Stadium.

The Chargers (6-3) remained tied for first place in the AFC West Division, defying predictions.

“We’re still in the process of surprising a lot of people,” free safety Jerry Wilson said.

“We’re playing with a lot more energy,” said fullback Lorenzo Neal, who played on last season’s 4-12 team.

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Drew Brees completed 22 of 36 passes for 257 yards, including three touchdown passes to tight end Antonio Gates and one to receiver Kassim Osgood.

Jesse Chatman had 51 yards in seven carries, and Nate Kaeding had field goals of 40 and 27 yards.

The Saints (3-5) trailed, 14-0, before they could muster a first down. It was their fourth loss in five games.

“It’s frustrating,” said Deuce McAllister, who had 58 yards in 15 carries. “We have to stick together and keep fighting.”

McAllister scored a touchdown on a two-yard run in the second quarter. In the fourth, tight end Boo Williams caught a six-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Brooks, who completed 16 of 29 passes for 173 yards.

San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson, still recuperating from a strained groin, had 36 yards and a touchdown in 17 carries.

“This is the first time being 6-3 at this point in my career,” seventh-year linebacker Steve Foley said. “I’m just living it and loving it.”


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