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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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…

“And on my stereo…is Caruso.”

The official song of tonight is Caruso by Gavin Friday from his 1995 release Shag Tobacco. The rhythm is just ridiculously infectious, and it’s just a damn good song. I first got to know Gavin Friday back in 1998 when I received the “music from and inspired by Mission: Impossible” album for my birthday (the other one was Top Gun), which included a remixed version of his song “You, Me, and World War Three.” I became obsessed with the song over the summer as I was lamenting lost puppy love. One of the first websites I used streaming media on was Gavin’s official website, where I watched the video for You, Me, and World War Three and got to learn a bit of his background (seems him and the U2 guys are tight; I think that had something to do with his song being on the M:I record, as Adam Clayton & Larry Mullen of U2 performed the Mission: Impossible theme for the movie). He was the first artist I really researched on the Internet, and would certainly not be the last. It was a treat to acquire Shag Tobacco this week — it’s a pretty neat album, kind of out there.

Other notes from this Thursday, now etched into history:

  • Regardless of your stance on Anna Nicole Smith, the ultimate tragedy in her death is that her six-month-old daughter is motherless and there’s no telling who the father is. Sick, unfortunate circumstances. It seems a decent-scale investigation is unfolding, too.
  • Wade Phillips is the new Cowboys coach. Seems ESPN’s analysts don’t like the move much — but would Norv Turner really have been any better? For that matter, what will Marty Schottenheimer do about his top assistants? Yikes!
  • You know, if you leave astronauts up in cramped spaces long enough, things will eventually happen. The Lisa Nowak Affair was probably bound to happen — perhaps not quite with the 36-hour-drives and Pampers involved, but still…talk about a real “anti-gravity love song” (with apologies to Incubus).
  • Seems WordPress 2.1 changed things up a bit with regards to displaying blog posts — it no longer permits me to restrict by the number of days to view, but rather show the x number of last posts. The WP 2.1 installer set this number to five, which reflected my previous number of days to allow. I’m not sure I’m too thrilled with this change — what if I blog a bunch later today? Forget catching the last several days’ worth of posts. I’ve always had five days of posts since the old Realm days, so a workaround appears to be in order here.
  • I’ve got my eyes set on a Samsung Blackjack, but perhaps I should hold off and see what devices will run on the upcoming Windows Mobile 6? All indications are that this is a fantastic release. Perhaps Samsung will do an upgrade for Blackjack customers…haha. I don’t think firmware upgrades of that magnitude have ever happened before. No time like the present to buck a trend, though. ;) WM6 looks really good, and I just might wait for it.

Tomorrow will be a frantic Friday, I’m sure, but I’m going to try and reestablish a little bit of blogging rhythm and at least squeeze in a post or two tomorrow. If not, happy Friday!