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Panthers eliminate Chargers from playoff contention

  • By Associated Press
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SAN DIEGO -- Mike Tolbert scored twice against his former team and DeAngelo Williams turned a tipped pass from Cam Newton into a 45-yard touchdown reception as the Carolina Panthers eliminated the San Diego Chargers from playoff contention with a 31-7 victory Sunday.

Carolina (5-9) won consecutive games for the first time since last December.

The Chargers (5-9) clinched their first losing season since 2003, when they were an NFL-worse 4-12. Coach Norv Turner is expected to be fired at season's end, most likely along with general manager A.J. Smith.

The game was played before thousands of empty seats on a dreary, misty afternoon.

Tolbert, who left San Diego as a free agent in March, capped Carolina's first two drives with 1-yard scoring runs. His second TD was set up when Philip Rivers lost a fumble, his 21st turnover this season and 46th in less than two full seasons.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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