"It's a great feeling to be able to score the first two touchdowns back here," Tolbert said. "It's indescribable."
Some of that might have had to do with Tolbert extensively briefing the defense about his former team.
"Now that the game is over, I can go ahead and say it. I gave a lot of tips to our defense about their offense, the keys, the checks, the audibles and stuff like that." Tolbert said. "I think that helped. I think they had less than 200 yards of offense. Our defense played great, so it definitely helped."
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Tolbert, who left San Diego as a free agent in March, capped Carolina's first two drives with 1-yard scoring runs.
Tolbert leaped over the top of the pile for his first TD to cap the game's opening drive, which went 80 yards in 13 plays.
"They don't think a little fat man can jump but I can definitely get up," Tolbert said.
Both times he did his TD dance, the Dougie.
"That's in my nature. I'm a guy that loves to have fun when I'm playing games, so I'm going to dance regardless," he said.
"You can't critique that," Newton said, who cut his right index finger just before halftime and twisted an ankle, but said he'll be OK. "He has a wild range of moves in his repertoire. I don't think even he knows what he's going to do."
Tolbert said his split from San Diego wasn't about money.
"Some things happened between myself and the front office that I'd rather not get into," Tolbert said, who's on a long list of players shown the door by Smith, in danger of losing his job because of glaring roster deficiencies. "Let's say things didn't happen the way we thought they were going to happen."
Tolbert doubled his touchdown production this season. His two touchdowns in a span of 3:35 were one more than San Diego running back Ryan Mathews has this season. Mathews broke his left collarbone in the second quarter. Mathews broke his right collarbone in the exhibition opener.
"Anytime you know about the personnel it helps you game-plan, especially on defense," Rivera said. "Knowing about Gates, knowing about Malcom Floyd, knowing about Philip, that was huge."
Said Newton: "It was kind of a gift or a curse to a degree because there was a lot of familiarity coming into this game with a lot of coaches on each other's staff before, knowing what they were trying to get done. But it came down to the players executing."
San Diego lost for the eighth time in 10 games, and dropped its third consecutive home game.
"I wasn't thinking about the playoff scenarios," Turner said. "When you are not able to handle the things you have to do on a day-to-day basis or game to game, it's hard to consider yourself a playoff team."
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Gates' TD allowed the Chargers to avoid their first shutout since a 34-0 loss at Kansas City on Oct. 31, 1999, a span of 211 regular-season games.
The Chargers had kept their faint playoff hopes alive with a 34-24 upset win at Pittsburgh a week earlier, but couldn't get out of their own way at home.
Rivers was 16-of-23 passing for only 121 yards, his fifth-lowest total as a starter. San Diego was outgained 372 yards to 164.
NOTES: Turner's son, Scott, is offensive quality control coach for the Panthers. ... Carolina G Zack Williams injured his knee during pregame warmups. ... Attendance was announced as 53,832 but there were fewer than that in the 70,000-seat stadium. It was the third consecutive TV blackout in Southern California and the fourth this season. ... At 2-5, the Bolts will have their first home losing record since 2003, when they were 2-6.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press