In the end, how does Tomlinson compare to Payton?


In the end, how does Tomlinson compare to Payton?

The San Diego Chargers announced Sunday that running back LaDainian Tomlinsonwill sign a one-day contract with the team before announcing his retirement.In nine seasons with the Chargers, Tomlinson enjoyed spoils of success. In 2006, he won the NFL MVP award after rushing for 1,815 yards andscoring 31 touchdowns, a single-season record that still stands today. He played the final two seasons of his career with the New York Jets.So where does Tomlinson rank among the NFL's all-time great running backs? How does he compare with Chicago Bear great Walter Payton?TouchdownsPLAYERRUSH TDREC TDTOTAL TDTOMLINSON14517162PAYTON11015125Tomlinson's best argument as a top-tiered running back starts with his ability to find the endzone. In comparison to Payton, the most touchdowns from scrimmage Payton ever scored in a season was 16, both in 1977 and 1979. Tomlinson, on the other hand,scored more than 16 touchdowns five different times in his career. Clearly the touchdown edge goes to Tomlinson, but it is worth noting that Payton has a one-TD advantage in the throwing department (8 to 7).Rushing yardsPLAYERRUSH YDSYDSATTYDSGMTOMLINSON13,6844.380.5PAYTON16,7264.488.0Payton vs. Tomlinson in terms of rushing yardspaints a different picture than the touchdown debate. While Tomlinson last rushed for 1,000 yards in his fourth to last season (2008), Payton rushed for more than 1,300 yards in three of his last four seasons. It was only in his final season that Payton stumbled to the finish line with 533 yards on 146 carries.Payton's 88 yards per game rank eighth all-time, but longevity should count for something, too. At age 32, Payton rushed for 1,333 yards. Tomlinson? Just 280 yards as a 32-year-old. Tomlinson held two rushing titles in his career compared to Payton's one, but Payton's 1,852 rushing yards in 1977 topped any year Tomlinson had. Edge? Sweetness.ReceivingPLAYERRECYEARYDSYEARTOMLINSON56.7406PAYTON37.8349Of the top-15 leading rushers of all-time, Tomlinson comes in as the second best receiver to Marshall Faulk. Tomlison averaged 56.7 catches and 406 yards per year in his 11 seasons. He also caught 100 passes in 2003, the only running back to reach triple-digit catches in a single season.However, trailing closely behind Tomlinson on both of those lists is Payton. In a time when passing was not nearly as much of an offensive focus as it is now, especially with running backs, Payton averaged 37.8 catches for more than 349 yards per season.It's tough to call this one, given that both running backs were some of the best receivers of their era. Call it a draw, given Payton's impressive numbers in a different era.So what do you think? Would you rather have Payton with longevity, or the touchdown machine in Tomlinson?

Morning Update: Cubs tie up World Series with Game 2 win; Bulls begin season against Celtics

Morning Update: Cubs tie up World Series with Game 2 win; Bulls begin season against Celtics

Here are some of the top headlines happening in the Chicago sports world today...

Cubs roll over Indians to even up World Series

Could Kyle Schwarber force the World Series issue and start for Cubs in Wrigley outfield?​

Jake Arrieta brings his A-game as Cubs even up World Series

5 Things to Watch: Bulls open season against Celtics

Willson Contreras apologizes to Cubs fans on Twitter and again makes his presence felt in World Series

Bears running back by committee still a work in progress as ground game languishes

Blackhawks still trying to solve penalty kill issues

Cubs: Even Kyle Schwarber's teammates can't believe what they're seeing in World Series

Rookie Denzel Valentine believes he'll play in Bulls' season opener

Cubs Talk Podcast: Kyle Schwarber's impact on offense

Cubs offense settling into World Series groove

Cubs offense settling into World Series groove

CLEVELAND - It doesn't take long for the 2016 Cubs to rebound.

Their American League-style lineup is just simply too talented to keep down for an extended period of time, especially with Kyle Schwarber now added back into the fold.

They Cubs hitters are so confident, they even left Progressive Field feeling good about themselves despite being shut out in Game 1 of the World Series.

The Cubs got on the board early Wednesday night, plating a run on the third batter of the game as Anthony Rizzo doubled home Kris Bryant.

"Take the momentum away. Take the crowd out of it," Bryant said. "It's nice to score first. Especially when you're the visiting team, to get out there and score within the first three batters is huge."

The early lead helped the lineup settle in and keep their foot on the gas for a 5-1 victory to take the series back to Wrigley Field tied one game apiece.

"Especially with a young lineup, I think when you see a few guys go up there and take some good quality at-bats, one happens after the other and the other guys seem to do the same thing," Ben Zobrist said. "It takes a lot of pressure off. When you see other guys having good, quality at-bats, you don't feel like you have to take pitches and you can be aggressive early on. 

"Oftentimes when you're aggressive in the zone is when you take the tough ones. We did a good job tonight laying off some good pitches. When they made mistakes in the zone, we really hit the ball hard. Even though we scored five runs, obviously we had a lot of baserunners on and we could've scored a lot more."

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Zobrist has a point.

The night after leaving nine runners on base and going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, the Cubs left 13 runners on base and tallied just three hits in 12 tries with runners in scoring position.

Between nine hits and eight walks, there were Cubs on base all game. Indians pitchers didn't retire Cubs hitters in order in an inning until the seventh.

The Cubs also forced the Indians to throw 196 pitches in nine innings and worked starter Trevor Bauer to 51 pitches through the first two frames.

"That was good for us," Bryant said. "We saw a lot of their bullpen, so we have a lot of information to learn from and hopefully use in the next game."

Anthony Rizzo summed up the lineup's mentality simply:

"Grind out at-bats, work the pitcher's pitch count up and get the next guy up," he said.

That "pass the baton" mentality is what drives this offense and after a brief lull in that regard in Los Angeles when they were shut out in back-to-back games in the NLCS, the Cubs leave Cleveland feeling pretty good.

"When we're able to [get pitch counts up], you can kinda feel it - our offense really feeds off of that," Zobrist said. "We believe that we're going to break through eventually."