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Several Chargers approach milestones

Posted Dec 14, 2011

San Diego’s offensive power brokers – Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson and Ryan Mathews – all are in range of significant statistical benchmarks as Baltimore comes to town Sunday.

SAN DIEGO – By Monday morning, the Chargers may be able to boast a 4,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver.

It would be just the third time in franchise history (1981, 2008).

Philip Rivers (3,745 passing yards), Ryan Mathews (943 rushing yards) and Vincent Jackson (952 receiving yards) all are approaching benchmarks, though they’ll have to do it against a defense allowing less than 280 yards per game.

Rivers can become the third quarterback in NFL history with four consecutive 4,000-yard seasons (Peyton Manning and Drew Brees).

Mathews can be the 10th Chargers running back ever to top 1,000 rushing yards in a season and the first since 2008.

Antonio Gates also can become the most prolific receiver in team history. He needs five catches to overtake assistant coach and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Charlie Joiner. Gates enters Sunday with 582 career receptions to Joiner’s 586.

“It’s pretty amazing. I always talk to our players about it when we’ve had players who have had those types of milestones,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “To end up being the leading receiver – obviously he’s going to be at some point in the next month – the leading receiver of all time with the San Diego Chargers, that’s saying an awful lot.

“If you look at what he’s been through over the last three years in terms of his health and fighting back through everything, it just adds that much more to it. I think all our guys are happy for (Gates) because I think everyone sees him every week getting better and getting more comfortable and being himself.

“He made a couple moves after the catch (Sunday) that were outstanding. I don’t know that a month ago or two months ago he was comfortable putting his body in that position.”

Gates also lacks two touchdowns to extend his NFL record streak of eight scores in seven consecutive seasons.

RIVERS NOMINATED: Philip Rivers is one of three nominees for the FedEx Air Player of the Week. Fans can vote for the Chargers quarterback at www.nfl.com/FedEx.

Rivers completed 24-of-33 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns Sunday in a 37-10 win against Buffalo.

The other nominees are New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (400 passing yards, two touchdowns in a 37-34 win at Dallas) and Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan (320 passing yards, four touchdowns in a 31-23 win at Carolina).

TEMPORARY NAME: Qualcomm Stadium will become Snapdragon Stadium for 10 days in a move that will be officially announced Friday.

Snapdragon is a Qualcomm subsidiary and a brand of mobile processor. The signage at the stadium will reflect the name change during Sunday’s prime-time game between the Ravens and Chargers, and the change will remain for the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (Dec. 21) and the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl (Dec. 28).

The advertising campaign and renaming the stadium without changing naming rights is thought to be a first-of-its-kind effort.

HOLIDAY SPIRIT: Several Chargers spent Tuesday giving back to the community.

Luis Castillo and the rest of the defensive line helped distribute 1,000 Christmas dinners at a Chula Vista Wal-Mart in the morning.

Steve Gregory delivered gingerbread houses and toys to children at Kaiser Children’s Hospital with his SG Squad foundation and partnership with Athletes for Education.

Mike Scifres helped local law enforcement deliver teddy bears to Rady Children’s Hospital.

In the afternoon, a group of players including Vincent Jackson, Vincent Brown, Antonio Garay, Jacques Cesaire, Vaughn Martin and Corey Liuget surprised students from Doris Miller Elementary School with new bikes purchased by the team.

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