Chargers Defeat Redskins, 23-20
BERNIE WILSON | 1/3/2010, 8:05 p.m.
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The Washington Redskins couldn't even hold off San Diego's backups in Jim Zorn's last game as coach.
Billy Volek threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to fullback Mike Tolbert with 35 seconds left to rally the playoff-bound Chargers to a 23-20 win over the Redskins, San Diego's 11th straight victory.
The Redskins (4-12) plan to fire Zorn on Monday, an official within the NFL told The Associated Press on Sunday, Jan. 3. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement has been made. Zorn's dismissal has been expected for months.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'd been playing hurt, and quickly pulled most starters, including Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers, running back LaDainian Tomlinson and the offensive line. 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.
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.
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.
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.
AP Sports Writer Joseph White in Ashburn, Va., contributed to this story.