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Baltimore Sunk, August 31, 2008
Losman to Rescue Again: Bolts Beat Albany, 20-14
Notch First Win as Defense Clamps Down in 2nd Half
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Hartford Crude Rant, August 31, 2008
One Yard Short: Comets Fall, 6-3, to Charleston
Townsend Pick Blunts Brady’s Only Sustained Drive
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Wilmington Snooze-Terminal, August 31, 2008
Cherries Jar Washington, 27-24, in Last Minute of OT
Kasay Gets 2nd Chance After Bad Miss, Thanks to Sheppard, Tomlinson
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New York Slimes, August 31, 2008
Washington Ignites Rally; Empires Take Down Providence, 28-23
Pair of 4th Quarter Picks Keep Winless Steam Roller at Bay
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Harrisburg Pay and Rot Ooze, August 31, 2008
Hershey Bars Topple Richmond, 33-15, Behind Jennings
Wideout Thrills Crowd with 95- and 64-Yard TD Catches
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Syracuse Posed Standee, September 1, 2008
Carr, Crush Sputter, Lose 19-13 to Philadelphia
Lakers Cash in on Westbrook Fumble in 4th Quarter to Go Up By 12
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Wilmington Snooze-Terminal, August 31, 2008

Rip Snorter

Tomlinson Carried Cargo in the Clutch

As a team the Cherries had to give 125 percent to beat the Caps 27‑24 in an emotionally draining overtime thriller. That would be 100 percent for the four quarters of regulation and another 25 for what was just shy of the entire allotment of overtime.

Of all 45 Delaware players, none better exemplified giving that 125 percent than LaDainian Tomlinson. In overtime alone he took the leading role in a 10-play, 64-yard drive that should have won the game with 1:15 left. Then, when that didn’t pan out because John Kasay missed a chip shot, Tomlinson set up the winning score a minute later with a huge 36-yard catch-and-run. He finished with 172 rushing yards on 28 trips, including a couple of touchdowns, and 7 catches for 93 yards, for a total production of 265 yards.

That’s a formidable output even for five quarters.

Even though the winning points weren’t produced in that near-miss drive, which began with 6:36 left in overtime, it’s worth recounting Tomlinson’s clutch contributions, for the drive did keep the ball out of Washington’s hands for five minutes:

After Kasay missed his 25-yard field goal attempt, it was Washington’s turn to try to move into scoring position. They did it when rookie Adrian Peterson blew by Na'il Diggs and ran 35 yards to the Delaware 30. Fortunately, Lito Sheppard bailed out the Cherries on the next play when he snatched Tarvaris Jackson’s pass intended for the atypically quiet Hines Ward; it was Delaware’s only takeaway of the game.

At that point there was but 0:45 left and a tie seemed imminent. Brams recalled being concerned at the time that Rivers, who earlier had thrown two costly interceptions leading to 14 Caps points, might turn the ball over to the Caps in Cherries territory. Brams’ revulsion for ties won out, however, and he pulled out the stops offensively. The outcome was sweet, largely due to Tomlinson.

On 1st down at the Cherries 38 with just 0:30 left, Washington double-teamed three of Delaware’s four wide receivers. That enabled Tomlinson to cut between Bryan Thomas and Dawan Landry, take Rivers’ pass in stride just inside the 50, turn on the after-burners and motor all the way to the Caps’ 26. Washington had been offsides on the play, so it didn’t really matter that Tomlinson was dragged down in bounds by Chris Harris — the clock stopped with 0:22 left.

Brams wanted to move the ball closer for Kasay, so, while crossing his fingers against the spectre of a fumble, Brams called on the out-of-breath Tomlinson to run up the middle. The snap and exchange were clean. The sure-handed Tomlinson securely cradled the ball and moved it four yards closer. Rivers signaled for a timeout and out came Kasay again. The veteran kicker’s opportunity for redemption was unexpected and very welcome, and he made the most of it.

Tomlinson was pretty damn good in regulation, too. In the third quarter, he scored his first touchdown untouched on a perfectly executed 17-yard draw play to cut what had been Washington’s largest lead, 10 points, to 17‑14. Then in the fourth quarter, with the score tied, his contributions were instrumental on a 91-yard drive that temporarily put the Cherries back in front with 3:14 remaining in the fourth quarter:

The lead was, as I said, temporary because Delaware’s “prevent” defense prevented the Cherries from winning in regulation, allowing Jackson and the Caps to go on a 13-play, 74-yard drive — a drive excruciating from this Delaware partisan’s standpoint — to score the tying touchdown on a 9-yard pass to Chris Cooley with under a minute left.

S'okay, though. Had that defensive lapse been prevented, Tomlinson would have been prevented from working more clutch cargo-carrying magic in overtime.

And hey, he had some help. Rivers (26-for-44, 344 yards), Chris Chambers (5 catches, 80 yards, TD), Heath Miller (5 catches, 80 yards) weren’t bad either for a Delaware offense that produced 31 first downs and 521 yards — pretty good even when spread over nearly five quarters. Tighten up the defense and this three-game winning streak could go on for awhile.