LA Chargers News

Top 5 season-opening performances in Los Angeles Chargers’ history

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 13: Wide receiver Keenan Allen #13 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates after a Chargers touchdown against the Detroit Lions at Qualcomm Stadium on September 13, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 13: Wide receiver Keenan Allen #13 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates after a Chargers touchdown against the Detroit Lions at Qualcomm Stadium on September 13, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 11: Runningback Mike Tolbert #35 of the San Diego Chargers makes a touchdown catch against the Minnesota Vikings during their season opener on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 11: Runningback Mike Tolbert #35 of the San Diego Chargers makes a touchdown catch against the Minnesota Vikings during their season opener on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

No. 5: September 11, 2011

One Charger has scored three touchdowns in a Week 1 game in team history. Just one. Few fans would guess that the player who accomplished that is Mike Tolbert.

Undrafted out of Coastal Carolina in 2008, Tolbert is a former running back for the team who was built much more like a fullback. But he was a secret weapon for the Chargers for years, spending four seasons with the team.

When the Chargers opened the 2011 campaign against the Minnesota Vikings, the purple-clad team from the NFC North was not ready for the bowling-ball style runner.

Tolbert had 93 total yards in the game (35 rushing, 58 receiving), but it was the little things he did that led to the team getting off to a 1-0 start that season.

Tolbert was Philip Rivers’ security blanket that day, catching nine passes. He scored on a 1-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter before hitting the end zone on a 7-yard run later in the game. In the fourth quarter with the game tied at 17, Rivers hit Tolbert out of the backfield and he rumbled into the end zone to complete a 19-yard score, which ended up being the game-winning points.

Tolbert spent just four seasons in San Diego and if he had to recall his finest performance as a Charger, it’s quite likely he’d refer back to this game, the No. 5 performance on our list.

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