Tag Archives: Chargers

Super Bowl Sunday

For the 43rd time, America is celebrating Super Bowl Sunday, an unofficial holiday of junk food, television marketing excess, the existence of Roman numerals, and football (or is it handegg?). And, for the 22nd time in my life, I have very little emotional investment in the game. Oh, sure, I’ve faked it before: I was rooting hard for the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII, but that never worked out. The Super Bowl was first serious business in The Smith Household when Stan-The-Man Humphries sent the San Diego Super Chargers up against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX, during which Steve Young and Jerry Rice made history by turning an NFL team into meatwaffles for the first time. The other time, of course, is when the Carolina Panthers had their hearts broken by Adam Vinatieri and the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII, which was also a historic Super Bowl because no other game so far has had as many letters in its Roman numeral.

So today we get the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. The Steelers are looking to start blinging out their other hand, while the Cardinals are benefiting from Kurt Warner’s innate ability to somehow will really bad franchises to victory. Of course, when I think of the Cardinals, I’m always reminded of Denny Green:

So who wins? The smart money says the Steelers, but the Cardinals have beaten the smart money three games in a row now. The stage has gotten bigger and the Cardinals have proven that the stage is not bigger than they are so far. Both teams are playing their best football right now, too — I suspect this game has the potential to be much better than most people expect. Prediction? I’m really on the fence here. I think I take Arizona in a colossal upset, which means the Steelers will likely win because I haven’t given them a chance all postseason. (One does have to wonder what the week off does to Arizona’s momentum, after all.) Enjoy the game, folks!

NFL Playoffs: The Divisional Round

This weekend marks the second round of the NFL playoffs. I’ve got a lot of personal pride and fandom running on this weekend (no money, though) as the Chargers and Panthers both play. Here’s hoping they’re not conspiring to make this weekend one gigantic heart attack. (Perhaps I should have rented a defibrillator for this weekend.) Without further ado, here’s what I think of the games. (Yes, I’m paying more attention to the teams that I’m rooting for — this isn’t supposed to be unbiased sports journalism, after all. :) ) Continue reading

Clearly, the Chargers are reading my blog

Ted Cottrell has been fired as the San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator. His replacement? Ron Rivera, who in his tenure as defensive coordinator with the Bears made their defense something fierce. I’m quite excited about this development and am optimistic that Rivera will give the defense, dead-last in the NFL against the pass, the kick in the rear that it desperately needs.

How do you spell Norv? F-A-I-L

This Chargers fan has seen this face far too much, and it needs to stop. Today’s performance was, once again, pitiful. They completely squandered LT’s first real healthy performance of the season with turnover after turnover, and they have completely forgotten how to play defense. There’s a REASON why Ted Cottrell was working in the NFL office before he became the Chargers’ D-coordinator!

But let’s get back to Norv. The Chargers are showing clear signs of being Norved — they’re disorganized, not playing defense, and there are a lot of selfish people on the team making plays for their own stats instead of for the overall big picture (Cromartie, I’m calling you out). Most importantly, they do not look ready to play. That’s where coaching and conditioning come into play.

Remember, Norv took a 14-2 team that was one dropped interception from the AFC Championship down to 11-5 and squeaked into the playoffs. Granted, he got one more playoff win than Marty Schottenheimer could muster, but the more I see this year play out, the more I feel like the Chargers — very, very trendy Super Bowl picks — are going to flame out as the most talented 8-8 team in NFL history.

I realize that injuries have hurt this team somewhat, most notably the absence of Shawne Merriman in the pass rush, but that’s no excuse for completely failing to play secondary, for somehow forgetting the fundamentals of tackling…ugh.

The Chargers are now 3-5 and it won’t get easier. It’s an uphill battle for them to get into the playoffs now, especially if the Broncos right the ship after their bye week. (And I refuse to blame Ed Hochuli for that bad call in the Denver game, in retrospect — yes, it eventually did cost them the game, but the Chargers still have to make that stop, and they couldn’t do it — twice.)

At least the Panthers won today. Might don that shade of blue for the weeks ahead if the Chargers can’t turn it around.

NFL Week 1 in a nutshell

In case you haven’t heard, all indications are that Tom Brady is done for the year. Last year, the Patriots talked about playing through the adversity of Spygate, etc — but they had all their players remain reasonably intact. The rush of air you feel? The rest of the AFC East breathing a sigh of relief. While the Belichick-era Patriots are resilient, losing their superstar quarterback may be too much. The Patriots are definitely more mortal now, and the division is completely up for grabs now.

Meanwhile, I watched my Chargers and the Panthers tangle to the last second, when a Jake Delhomme miracle throw was caught by Dante Rosario for a game-winning touchdown with no time left. Incredible! I hate seeing the Chargers lose, but losing to the Panthers is the only team I can accept them losing to. The Panthers haven’t looked this good in years. Having Steve Smith out may not necessarily be a bad thing for Delhomme; he spread the ball out to everybody. Delhomme always seems to lean on Smith when he’s in the game. The playcalling was very well-balanced (though going for it on fourth-and-1 on their second drive of the game was foolish), and the defense was as strong as ever.

This game is a gut-check for the Chargers, who need to strongly rethink their policy of leaving players out completely in preseason. Everybody was shaking off rust, and the regular season just isn’t the time for that. One silver lining: Philip Rivers looks as sharp as ever. His mobility was all there — it’s uncanny considering that less than seven months ago he had his ACL reconstructed. The Chargers will bounce back and will be fine; they needed this game to get a few things in check.

Looks to be a fun and wild year ahead; I’m really glad football’s back, especially after such a dismal baseball season.

A dignified end

For the second time this season, the Chargers fell victim to The Perfectriots. This is the second consecutive postseason loss for the Chargers against New England. Unlike last year’s loss, I felt a lot better about the loss today. The Chargers brought a much better, and dare I say it, more mature team to New England. The Chargers played as well as they could without LT and an injured Philip Rivers absolutely playing his guts out against a team that demoralized them earlier this season.

I do question why Billy Volek wasn’t brought in. Rivers had a tough time generating power behind his throws on his bad knees, and it showed, especially on an interception in the 2nd quarter. There’s something to be said about riding the horse that gets youu there, though.

Nobody expected the Chargers to even have a chance against the Pats, and they came out and gave them quite a game. Sure, I’m bummed that the Chargers aren’t going to the Super Bowl, but at least they went out with dignity this time. I feel reasonably good about next season, too, given that most everybody is returning.

Norv Turner did a heck of a job, too. (Never thought I’d say THAT.). The regular season was turbulent but he helped get them together at the right time. That’s good coaching.

Less than a month to Spring Training…but for now, Go Pack Go.

Da BOLTS!

Has Hell frozen over? Norv Turner’s Chargers are in the AFC Championship Game without LaDainian Tomlinson and with BILLY VOLEK at quarterback. What an amazing game, with amazing play from both the Colts and the Chargers. In the end, the Chargers out-muscled and out-hit the Colts to take the game and a date with the Patriots next week to determine the AFC bid to the Super Bowl. Continue reading