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.
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. :)
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.
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.
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.
Wow. I am incredibly exhausted from the ballgame tonight. What an unbelievable comeback for Peyton Manning — he finally slayed the dragon, where “the dragon” is “The New England Patriots.” What a game. I can’t imagine what it was like for the fans who were actually THERE.
The Bears are in, too. The Saints had a good run, but the Bears totally outplayed them today in Soldier Field. Was it a statement game for Rex Grossman? Tough to say, but he recovered from a poor start and helped put it away. I wanted the Saints to win and had picked them but the Bears came out with the suffocating defense that they had employed at the beginning of the season. It was a nasty game on a nasty field with nasty weather — indeed, what one would expect in Chicago in January.
This is going to be quite a Super Bowl — the suddenly multi-dimensional Colts facing the Bears D will be a great one, no doubt.
I may or may not blog tomorrow. Tough to say. We’ll see what happens — I just know I’m quite busy these next couple days.
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!
It was a chilly one out today — not to mention rainy, nasty, gloomy, depressing — the kind of weather that, as we all know, I abhor. :) While tomorrow will be sunnier, it’ll be the beginning of a serious cold snap. Can you say upper 20s? Yikes! Perhaps winter has, at long last, finally arrived? Or will it just rebound to 70 in a couple weeks like it has in the past? Time will tell. Charleston is such an interesting weather town.
So last night was the party. It was quite good — no real complaints. I had fun, met some cool people, and there was the little bits of drama mixed in (as per the norm at most parties) — good times, overall. I was there far, far later than I had anticipated though. Today started for me at about 1:30 PM. Whoops. Haha. Oh well…
At 4 or so I made the drive to my parents’ place and we had excellent chicken soft tacos and watched the Cowboys squeak by the Giants. That was a really good game. The best part about today came in two sub-parts, though: The Chargers won, and the Colts lost. This means the Chargers have a share of the AFC lead (the Colts still would be seeded #1 for their better conference record). Things are looking very good for the Chargers right now in terms of a first-round bye, but they’ve gotta keep up playing for the next few weeks. This will go down to the wire, for sure.
Other than that, there isn’t much to report for today…was pretty standard, as Sundays go.
And with that, let exam panic begin. :)