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When we look at Tomlinson's numbers since coming into the league back in 2001, we begin to see a trend emerge; while LT sometimes starts off a bit slow, he almost always bounces back in the second half of the season. Tomlinson tends to be more productive on the ground in the last eight games of the season.
A number of reasons could explain this trend; LT usually sits during the preseason, and as a result the San Diego Chargers' running game takes longer to get into sync. Also, the NFL is a league where the running game takes on more importance as the season progresses. The weather is colder in November and December. Teams are pretty banged up at this point of the year. A physical running game will usually overpower depleted defenses.
Lets look at Tomlinson's rushing numbers since 2001 to put this trend into context:
First half of season - 602 YDS
Second half of season - ???
First half of season - 657 YDS
Second half of season - 817 YDS
First half of season - 828 YDS
Second half of season - 987 YDS
First half of season - 728 YDS
Second half of season - 734 YDS
First half of season - 653 YDS
Second half of season - 682 YDS (DNP week 17)
First half of season - 780 YDS
Second half of season - 865 YDS
First half of season - 845 YDS
Second half of season - 838 YDS
First half of season - 651 YDS
Second half of season - 585 YDS
So before claiming that Ladainian Tomlinson has lost a step and is breaking down, and before you try to trade LT off your fantasy team, keep in mind the quote that #21 gives us every year: A fast horse runs fast but he doesn't run long!
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