American Football: Cincinnati sinking as Rivers keeps Chargers rolling on

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The Independent Online

In one of the wildest games of the season, the San Diego Chargers scored six touchdowns in the second half to edge out the Cincinnati Bengals 49-41, a result which maintains the Chargers' status as Super Bowl contenders but which also confirms that the once-fancied Bengals are in disarray.

Having lost four of their last five games, Cincinnati's players had begun to question each other but in the first half on Sunday they took a 28-7 lead. Everything changed in the second half, however, as the visitors ran riot. The running back LaDanian Tomlinson equalled a personal best with four touchdowns, while the young quarterback, Phillip Rivers, completed 24 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns.

The Bengals' Chad Johnson set a franchise record with 260 receiving yards but spoke of the turmoil within the team. "There are a lot of unhappy people here," he said. "There are reasons why we lost today."

The Chicago Bears overcame a slow start to beat the New York Giants 38-20. Devin Hester returned a missed field goal 108 yards for a touchdown, which tied the all-time NFL record set a year ago by another Bear, Nathan Vasher. The only unbeaten team, the Indianapolis Colts, maintained their run, but failed to impress in a dour 17-16 struggle with the Buffalo Bills.