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On This Date in Sports January 13, 2008: Charged Up

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Despite losing LaDainian Tomlinson and Phillip Rivers to injury, the San Diego Chargers stun the Indianapolis Colts 28-24 in the Divisional Playoff Round. The Colts were the defending Super Bowl Champions and seemed on target for another showdown with the New England Patriots. However, the pesky Chargers continued to have their number as Billy Volek replacing Rivers, scored on a quarterback sneak with 4:50 left in the final game at the RCA Dome. The Chargers season would end in the AFC Championship Game as they lost to the Patriots 21-12. 

Led by Tony Dungy, Indianapolis finally broke through and won Super Bowl XLI after knocking at the doorstep for the previous five years. The Colts raced out of the gate looking to defend their crown as they won their first seven games. The Colts' first loss came at the hands of the Patriots in a battle of unbeaten teams at the RCA Dome. A week later, the Colts were upset by the Chargers in a game that turned their season around. The Colts would win their next six games before a meaningless loss in Week 17 as they had the playoff bye with a record of 13-3. 

The San Diego Chargers had the best season in franchise history in 2006. They went 14-2 with first-year starter Phillip Rivers. LaDainian Tomlinson had one of the best offensive seasons in NFL history as he scored a record 31 touchdowns. However, in the playoffs, the Chargers showed no spark, as they were stunned by New England 24-21. The playoff letdown led to the dismissal of coach Marty Schottenheimer. Under new coach Norv Turner, the Chargers struggled at the start of the 2007 season, losing three of their first four games. After a win over the Colts, the Chargers finished strong, finishing 11-5 to win the AFC West as they closed the year with six straight wins. 

The game started great for Indianapolis as they went down the field and scored on the first possession of the game, with Dallas Clark catching a 25-yard pass from Peyton Manning. The Chargers' first possession ended with Kelvin Hayden intercepting Phillip Rivers. The Colts were driving for another score after the interception as Marvin Harrison fumbled near the red zone. After the fumble, the Chargers went on a long drive that ended with Vincent Jackson catching a 14-yard pass from Rivers in the second quarter to tie the game. The Colts regained the lead on a 46-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri. Nate Kaeding meanwhile missed a 48-yard kick as the Chargers failed to answer. The Colts would drive into Chargers territory again, but Manning was picked off by Antonio Cromartie, who had a pick-six. However, the return was wiped out by a holding call as the Colts held a 10-7 lead at the half. 

The Chargers scored on the first drive of the second half as Chris Chambers caught a 30-yard pass from Philip Rivers. The Chargers were without LaDainian Tomlinson, who sprained his knee in the second quarter. Trailing 14-10, the Colts drove down to the Chargers' goal line, but Peyton Manning was picked off Kenton Keith. The Chargers were unable to take advantage of the turnover as the Colts got the ball and quickly regained the lead, with Reggie Wayne catching a nine-yard touchdown pass that was originally ruled out of bounds. The Chargers regained the lead on the last play of the third quarter as Darren Sproles caught a Rivers screen pass and raced 56 yards for a touchdown. 

The Chargers had a 21-17 lead as the fourth quarter began, but Phillip Rivers was hurt on the final play of the third quarter, leading Billy Volek to end the game. After a pair of punts, the Colts regained the lead as Peyton Manning connected with Antony Gonzalez on a 55-yard pass. The Chargers injury woes continued as Antonio Gates was sidelined with a toe injury. This left San Diego without their three biggest offensive weapons as the game hit the final stretch. With Michael Turner carrying the ball for Tomlinson and Volek playing for Rivers, the Chargers drove down the field and scored with the backup quarterback sneaking the ball over the goal-line. Looking to answer, down 28-24, the Colts drove to the Chargers' seven but were turned away. They would get one more possession but failed to move the ball as the Chargers held on for the upset win.