In the end, how does Tomlinson compare to Payton?

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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?

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' shutout win over Bruins

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' shutout win over Bruins

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 1-0 victory over the Boston Bruins on Friday night:

1. A sluggish start.

The Blackhawks have gotten off to some solid starts lately, scoring the game's first goal in the opening frame in five of their last six contests heading into Friday. But they were lucky to get out of the first in a 0-0 tie this time.

They had 15 shot attempts (six on goal) through the first 20 minutes while the Bruins had 30 attempts (17 on goal). Fortunately for the Blackhawks, Scott Darling stopped all of them that came his way.

Boston's third line of Ryan Spooner, Riley Nash and David Backes dominated possession, leading all skaters with a plus-12 Corsi in the period.  

2. Scott Darling steals two points.

Joel Quenneville decided to go with Darling in an effort to give a slumping Corey Crawford a chance to reset, and the Lemont native an opportunity to play in front of his father away from home, where he's used to watching him shine. It's safe to say he made his papa proud by putting on a great show.

Darling turned aside all 30 shots he faced, including 17 in the first period, for his second shutout of the season and fourth of his career. He has now allowed two or fewer goals in eight of his last 12 starts. 

Asked after the game whether he will earn a second straight start Sunday when the Blackhawks host the Vancouver Canucks, Quenneville responded, "We'll see."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

3. Special teams not a factor.

In a game that featured only one goal, you'd think the way to crack the scoresheet would be on the man advantage. That didn't happen.

The Blackhawks went 0-for-3 on the power play, while the Bruins failed to cash in on their only two opportunities. Boston entered the contest by going 7-for-17 on the power play in their previous five games, good for a 41.2 success rate.

It was a nice bounce-back game for the Blackhawks' penalty kill unit, which allowed a goal on the man advantage in their previous two games.

4. Third line steps up at crucial moment.

The Blackhawks' third line of Vinnie Hinostroza, Marian Hossa and Tanner Kero had the worst possession numbers among all skaters, each registering a 24 percent Corsi or below. But when their team needed them the most, they stepped up.

With 1:26 left in regulation, Hossa ended his 10-game goal drought by burying home a terrific feed from Kero to snap a 0-0 tie and give the Blackhawks their second consecutive win. It's Hossa's 17th goal of the campaign, which ties Artemi Panarin for second on the team, and his fifth game-winning goal of the year. His 83 career game-winning goals now ranks 24th in NHL history, surpassing Mike Bossy, and remains fifth among active players.

Hossa's goal also moved him within a tie of Pierre Turgeon for 37th on the all-time goals list with 516.

Kero has six points in his last six games, while Hinostroza has two goals and one assist in his past two.

5. Despite recent struggles, Bruins in good hands with Claude Julien.

It seems like this is a discussion every year, but firing Julien would be a huge mistake for a Bruins team that fell to 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. They're still the No. 1 possession team in the NHL, controlling 55.42 percent of the even-strength shot attempts, and give up the fifth-fewest high danger scoring chances with 326, according the naturalstattrick.com. They average the second-most shots on goal per game at 33.9, and allow the second-fewest at 26.5.

To back it up, their PDO is 97.5 percent, the sum of a team's even-strength save percentage and shooting percentage that usually works it way toward 100, which indicates they're due for a fairly large correction. They're not getting bounces right now, but they're playing the right way and a change behind the bench would be a step in the wrong direction, considering Julien is easily a top-five coach in the NHL.

Bulls lifeless in Atlanta despite fourth quarter rally

Bulls lifeless in Atlanta despite fourth quarter rally

The bus was warm before the game started, as the Bulls looked like they wanted no parts of the Atlanta Hawks.

It was evident from the jump that playing with a full and healthy squad for one of the few times this season wasn't enough to arouse their competitive juices, as they put together arguably their worst 48-minute showing in a 102-93 loss at Philips Arena, dropping them to 21-23.

Fred Hoiberg, fed up with the starters, ran with the reserves for the fourth quarter and outscored the Hawks by nearly 25 points, bringing the lead to 95-90 with a minute left before a Dennis Schroeder jumper restored order with 52.6 seconds left.

Four Hawks scored in double figures led by Schroeder's 25 points and six assists and Paul Millsap scored 14 while making all four of his shots in just 22 minutes of run.

Perhaps it's the Hawks being the same kryptonite to the Bulls that the Bulls are to the Toronto Raptors — except the Bulls simply frustrate the Raptors, not embarrass them.

The Hawks shot over 60 percent for most of the night until the game devolved into what amounted to a pickup game late. After all, the Hawks seemed to be battling boredom by half, leading 65-36 and shooting 68 percent from the field and hitting 67 percent from three.

The Bulls weren't about to make it any more suspenseful than it had to be, as they started off missing their first 11 3-pointers, often missing multiple open looks on the same possession.

It wasn't relegated to just shooting as the Bulls squandered easy opportunities in easy situations, like Denzel Valentine turning a three-on-one fast break into an airballed finger-roll attempt that he caught himself — a violation, of course.

This one was over a few minutes into it, as the Bulls looked like a lifeless squad with no direction and very little fight, short of a minor dustup between Dwight Howard and Robin Lopez in the third quarter.

At that point, though, all Howard had to do is point at the scoreboard, where a 30-point lead did all the necessary talking.

The Bulls trailed by 20 even before Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a 35-footer to end the first quarter, sending the Hawks off on a high and seemingly demoralizing the Bulls.

Even Jimmy Butler's 19-point night, hitting six of his eight shots in 29 minutes, rang hollow. The Bulls could've trotted out a D-League team for the second half to gear up for Saturday's game against the Sacramento Kings and been better off than how they performed Friday night.

And for the Bulls, they can’t simply just go back to the drawing board. There looks to be something fundamentally wrong with this bunch — either that, or the Atlanta night got the best of them Thursday.