In recent years, the formula for Chargers running back LaDanian Tomlinson has been simple.
1. Produce a great regular season.
2. Get injured during the playoffs.
This year, as L.T. commences his fourth decade on the planet and vows to be as good as ever, the injury came not in January but in September. He twisted an ankle on a first-half play that also included his first lost fumble since the 2006 season.
Thereafter, he made only periodic cameo appearances.
Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Tomlinson was “limping badly” (what, no one has ever taught him how to limp properly?) after the game.
“It wasn’t bad enough I couldn’t play,” Tomlinson said. “Toward the end, it really got tight on me.”
Tomlinson finished with 13 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown. His $6 million understudy, Darren Sproles, had nine carries for 23 yards, five catches for 43 yards, and the game-winning touchdown run.
Tomlinson’s status for Sunday, when the Chargers host the Ravens, isn’t known, and it surely will be a subject of much discussion in the next five days.
And that’s the way we like it.