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Pro Football

Chargers Capture AFC West

TBO.com The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: May 22, 2013 at 04:59 PM

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SAN DIEGO -

The mild, mild AFC West belongs to LaDainian Tomlinson, Philip Rivers and the rest of the Chargers.

San Diego won the NFL's weakest division with an 8-8 record, becoming the first team to go from 4-8 to the playoffs by routing the Denver Broncos 52-21 Sunday night.

Tomlinson, who didn't return after straining an abdominal muscle in the third quarter, had his first three-touchdown game of the season. Rivers threw his 33rd and 34th touchdown passes to break Hall of Famer Dan Fouts' 1981 team single-season record.

"It was really a playoff game tonight, so we knew we had to win to keep going and that was all we needed," Tomlinson said. "Really it was about pride for ourselves more than anything."

Denver (8-8) completed a monumental collapse, becoming the first team since division play began in 1967 to miss the playoffs after having a three-game lead with three weeks to go. Needing just one win to wrap up the division, the Broncos lost at Carolina, at home to Buffalo and then to San Diego.

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