San Diego Chargers — 2006 AFC West Champions!!!

The San Diego Chargers have defeated the Denver Broncos, 48-20, behind a record-setting three touchdown performance by LaDainian Tomlinson and two additional scores by Antonio Gates, along with punishing “Lights Out” defense for a great deal of the game.

This victory gives San Diego the AFC West title, and with the Colts’ loss today, puts them in sole control of the first seed in the AFC. If the playoffs started today, San Diego would have a first-round bye and would play their entire postseason schedule at home.

What can be said about LT that hasn’t been already said? Today he set more records, most notably becoming the all-time leader in touchdowns (29) for a runningback. I love the way he went about it, too, because Denver’s D — and this is a major credit to that unit — was giving him a hard time all game. He kept chipping and chipping away, though. It’s great to see a runner so explosive also be so patient with his attack. That’s what’s most impressive about his play.

I also like how Cutler rallied the Broncos in the third quarter. His growing pains will continue but I can see him and Rivers having many more epic duels in the next few years, because he showed me a lot today.

Next week will bring the Chiefs into San Diego — let’s hope San Diego can run the table and get that #1 seed. At this point they really control their own destiny, so they must continue to play as physically and with as much emotion as they did today.

Monitoring today’s NFL action…

Of the two games I can get right now, Colts @ Jaguars has been a much more compelling contest than the latest Panthers humiliation, at home against the Giants. This is a very, very interesting game — the Jaguars are up 37-17 right now, with 11:13 to go in the 4th quarter. If the Jaguars pull off the upset, the Chargers — pending their game at home against the Broncos at 4:30 — will be the number one seed in the AFC!!!

So yes, for today at least, my favorite of the two 1996 expansion teams is most definitely the Jaguars.

As for the Panthers, Chris Weinke is demonstrating why he’s a backup. He’s made some terrific throws and then he’s made some outright boneheaded plays. Put Basanez in, and FIRE DAN HENNING!

Speaking of shuttle launches and missed opportunities

Mike tells the story of a gang who were late to Folly to see the shuttle go up (yes, you can see it from here, apparently quite vividly).

I’ve got one better: Thursday morning, Tom had the great idea of driving to the Space Coast for the launch. Why not? It was a rare weekend launch, plus seeing it at night would give a reasonable opportunity to get down there. After my meteorology exam, we were going to meet up and haul ass to Florida for the 8:47 PM launch.

Yesterday morning, though, Tom got a text stating the launch was scrubbed, so he operated as if we weren’t going. I came back from my exam and, what do you know, they’re fueling the shuttle. I tried to reach Tom to no avail, until about 6PM…and of course, by then, it was far too late. So, I did a rain dance and hoped that our opportunity to see the shuttle go up wouldn’t be totally wasted…again, to no avail. It went up like clockwork at 8:47 PM.

Drat. Maybe next time — though with the state of the shuttle program these days, you never know when the last time will be…