As Per Whatever

The Divisional Round

After winning a playoff game for the first time since I was 9 (a game they didn’t have to play in last year), the San Diego (Super) Chargers head to the Room Temperature FieldTurf Tundra of the RCA Dome for a rematch with Peyton Manning and the Colts. Something tells me Manning won’t throw six interceptions this time, as he did in the Colts’ loss to the Chargers at Jack Murphy Qualcomm Stadium earlier this year. The Chargers always seem to give the Colts a game, so we’ll see how they respond. However, these Colts are much healthier — Dallas Clark and Marvin Harrison are back — than the Colts the Chargers faced earlier this year. Tough odds…my brain tells me the Colts will come out on top, but my heart says the Chargers can do this. (As it should.)

Yesterday’s games marked some of the best playoff football I had ever seen. The Lambeau Snow Globe (as it’s come to be called) will go down in the highlight reels for a long time. Ryan Grant did a marvelous job shaking off a very inauspicious start to the game (two fumbles lost) to become one of the top three single game rushers with 201 yards. And Brett Favre was just Brett Favre. What a revival for his career. I haven’t seen that guy so happy to play football in a long time.

And the Patriots…wow. Tom Brady played arguably the best game for a quarterback in NFL playoff history last night. He West-Coasted the Jaguars to death, absolutely shredding their D with a steady dose of short passes and Laurence Maroney runs. In the end, I don’t see how the Patriots DON’T run the table — but that’s why we play the games…

As Per Whatever

Titans v. Chargers, AFC Wild Card Game

As you might expect, I’m watching the AFC Wild Card game between the Chargers and the Titans. I’m twittering the game. Go Bolts!

In Brief

The Chargers draw Tennessee

It’s official — the Titans defeated the Colts’ backups 16-10, making them the Chargers’ opponent on Sunday for the opening round of the playoffs. Maybe the Chargers can be a little more decisive in their victory this time. :)

As Per Whatever

One game left…

One game to go in the regular season, and it’s pretty important for the Chargers. While their seeding is set (they’re #3 by virtue of their defeating the Raiders today), it’s unclear who they’re going to see in their playoff game next weekend. Whoever they see won’t make it easy.

If the Titans beat the Colts tonight — a real possibility, as Indy has nothing to really play for in terms of seeding — then they travel to San Diego to see the Chargers. You might recall a few weeks ago the Chargers needed a furious comeback and a LaDainian Tomlinson score in overtime to escape the Titans. However, the Chargers of late have realigned themselves and began playing the kind of furious defense that they were known for last year. They’ve also started involving Tomlinson, the newly-crowned NFL rushing champ, in the offense again, something that utterly failed to happen in the first few weeks of the season. I think the Chargers can win this rematch, but it won’t be easy. Titans coach Jeff Fisher knows what it takes to get a team ready to drive far in the playoffs and to a Super Bowl.

The Chargers would need to really rely on their defense to come through if they end up getting the Browns — they’ve got a pretty furious offense. Derek Anderson has been surprisingly good this year (except in the would-have-been clincher against Cincinnati last week). Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow are both legitimate receiving threats, and Jamal Lewis is running the ball as well as he has in his career. Cleveland’s also given up 382 points this year, so their defense is suspect…that would be a pretty high-scoring affair, and I get the feeling with the way the Charger defense is playing, Derek Anderson would have some issues.

The Titans are on now…we’ll know before the day is out.

In Brief

Greatest Anti-Norv Blog Ever

It was bad enough being a Redskins fan during the Norv era. Try being a Redskins fan living in San Diego during the Chargers’ Norv Era. Great, great blog. I look forward to the continuing of the “Norvs Throughout History” series.

In Brief

What. A. Game.

How did the Chargers win this game? How did the Colts come back? Wow. The fact that the Colts rallied from 23 points and the psychological beating of two kick returns for touchdowns is amazing in and of itself, and shows what they’re made of…but wow. Special teams ruled this game. The kickoff return gave the Chargers the lead (eventually for good), but a missed extra point attempt could have been the deciding point…had Adam Vinatieri not pushed a 29-yard attempt wide right.

The most staggering thing: Six interceptions of Manning…now that’s unheard of. Well, at least, until tonight.

It’s time for bed. Go Bolts.

As Per Whatever

The Big Game (and a couple little ones, too)

This is one of those Lousy Football Days that I will just care to forget…

  • David Carr is not the answer for the Panthers. Period. He may be a warm body at the quarterback position, but there’s nothing that tells me he knows how to win. This is his second start where a touchdown in garbage time avoided the shutout. I hope Vinny gets better soon, and if not, then it’s time to call it a season and put Matt Moore in. Carr was, fairly, given a second chance outside of Houston, but he’s just rattled, porous line or otherwise.
  • It’s too bad the Titans are in the Colts’ division. They’ve played all-out gritty football this year. I have to give kudos to a team that keeps its head coach around longer than three years, too. Jeff Fisher is one of the good ones.
  • John Fox embodies the definition of insanity: Trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. More David Carr starts will result in more near-shutouts. He is not directing that offense. Fox needs to put away his blind loyalty to his starters and put Carr on the bench.
  • Whatever comes of Jake Delhomme’s recovery from Tommy John surgery, it’s time for the Panthers to think very hard about drafting a quarterback next April, just in case.
  • Something’s wrong with John Kasay. I don’t know what it is, but he is not as automatic as he used to be.
  • And here I thought the Chargers were making progress. Instead, they lose to a 2-5 team and give up 296 yards to one player, Antonio Cromartie’s NFL-record 109-yard short field goal return notwithstanding.
  • Brad Childress had better be awful careful not to burn out Adrian Peterson now. That’s a weapon he’ll want around for years to come. There are so many great running backs that have had their careers cut far too short because of being worked too hard (Terrell Davis, Jamal Anderson, and soon, Cadillac Williams, for starters)
  • The Packers are 7-1. The Lions are 6-2. No, I can’t believe it either.
  • The Saints will still win the NFC South. They are most definitely back on track.
  • …and yes. The Game. It was a good one, too — one the Patriots should have probably lost — but they kept plugging away. Make no mistake, they beat a good team that largely outplayed them most of the day, and yet they found a way to win. The Patriots proved today they can win ugly. This team has the best chance I’ve seen at going 16-0.
  • The disgusted look on Peyton Manning’s face as Brady was kneeling to finish the game really said it all. I can’t say I blame him.
As Per Whatever

NFL Week 1

I’ve had a lot of reservations in the weeks leading up to the kickoff of the NFL season about the performance of the Panthers and the Chargers. The Panthers looked awful in preseason; they looked flat and one-dimensional. The Chargers were entering the 2007 season with almost total turnover of their coaching staff, headed up by Norv Turner, who had won two games as head coach of the Raiders in 2006 and held a 58-82-1 record overall.

After today, I felt a little better. The Panthers, while it appears they still have some work to do, played really well today (especially in the second half) in defeating St. Louis 27-13. I was concerned that it took a whole half (and an injury to Rams offensive lineman Orlando Pace) for the Panthers to put anything resembling pressure on Marc Bulger, but they eventually did. Consider me a fan of new offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson’s new scheme — the Panthers hadn’t called plays that creatively at any time in John Fox’s tenure. Jake Delhomme was as calm as he’s ever been, and he wasn’t running for his life, either. The Rams aren’t a slouch of a team, either. Let’s see how the Panthers do against Houston next week — that will be an interesting game to see Matt Schaub go up against an actual defense for the first time this year. :)

Chargers-Bears was, to put it lightly, quite the defensive exhibition. Both defenses were all over the field, hitting extremely hard and making their presences felt. The Chargers made some crucial mistakes on offense, and it was their defense that did a marvelous job in keeping it a 3-0 game into the half. The Bears had LaDainian Tomlinson’s number throughout the game — but there’s something about that LT. You can’t keep a good man down long, so if he couldn’t run with it, he’d throw it, and throw it he did to Antonio Gates for the go-ahead touchdown (which ended up being the game winner). This is one of those games that also will remind Charger fans just how lucky we are to have Michael Turner spelling Tomlinson in relief. He’s very much a changeup back, almost a perfect compliment to Tomlinson’s style, and he helped soften up the Bear D so that the Chargers could finally make an impact. Fourteen points won’t cut it in that high-octane Charger offense, though, so they do have some work to do. I think today made a good case for Tomlinson to resume taking some reps in the preseason. He’s been held out of preseason the last two years to avoid injury, but it also means he has to find his game shape in the regular season, not exactly the best time to find that.

Keep your thoughts with the Bills and, specifically, tight end Kevin Everett. He underwent surgery for a potentially serious cervical spine injury suffered on the field earlier today after he covered a kickoff. After the violent helmet-to-helmet collision, he showed no signs of movement. It’s a very frightening reminder of just how violent and dangerous football can be.

As Per Whatever

Low Value Monday

Today’s been kind of a lousy day. I was slated to wake up at 4am to work on that paper some before I arose for my 8am class; this did not happen. Sure, I drifted in and out of consciousness between 4 and 7am, but I didn’t really wake up. Heck, I managed to leave late. I was walking so fast I didn’t notice it was 34 out.

My classes were alright, I suppose. I was just feeling “bleh” — annoyed and hungry. Then I got into work, read my barrage of e-mails, and then found out Norv Turner — of all people, Norv Freaking Turner — is going to be the next Charger head coach. I’ve got to tell you…this is one hell of a puzzling move. I’m hoping A.J. Smith saw something in him that he didn’t see in any of the other coaching candidates (besides an offensive background). Let’s hope the third time is the charm for Norv. And, let’s hope somehow I get a breakthrough with this paper.

As Per Whatever

OMG! They fired Schottenheimer!

The San Diego Chargers have officially descended into chaos. ESPN:

“This decision was so hard because Marty has been both a friend and valued coach of our team,” [owner Dean] Spanos said in a statement. “But my first obligation is always to do what is in the best interest of our fans and the entire Charger organization. I must take whatever steps are necessary to deliver a Super Bowl trophy to San Diego. Events of the last month have now convinced me that it is not possible for our organization to function at a championship level under the current structure. On the contrary, and in the plainest possible language, we have a dysfunctional situation here. Today I am resolving that situation once and for all.”

I guess losing basically all of the assistant coaching staff wasn’t enough. It’s going to be mighty interesting to see who the Chargers can pull in now that the coaching bonanza has largely settled itself. Is Ron Rivera still available? Is this Jim Caldwell’s chance? (Please, Norv, stay in San Fran.) Where, exactly, can the Chargers promote from within, seeing how their coaching staff is largely nonexistent? This is absolutely terrible timing on the Chargers’ part.

I feel real bad for Marty. He did a damn fine job turning the Chargers into consistent winners, and now he’s jobless for next year. Football can be a sick business sometimes. Thanks for everything, Marty.

Follow the thread on the official Charger forum…heavy stuff.

Thanks to Patrick for the tip in an IM…