Go Darren, Go Darren, Go Darren!!!

Nobody is looking more forward to tomorrow’s game in Indy than Darren Sproles.  Remember, he returned both a punt AND a kick for TDs in week 10 against the Colts at home.  Besides breaking an NFL and Chargers record, he greatly assisted the rest of the team in securing the win that evening.

In the regular season, Indy gave up 3 KRs and 1 PR for TDs…no other team gave up more than 4 in the regular season.  When asked if they would kick around Sproles, Tony Dungy stated he hoped to be kicking to him often; that is, kickoffs after scoring. 

Remember, Sproles (in his 3rd year professionally and with San Diego) broke his leg during the preseason last year, and missed the entire year – the season when the Chargers were the NFL’s best with a 14-2 record before imploding in the postseason.  Already thus far, they have clinched their 1st postseason win since 1995 and are on their way to (hopefully) doing GREAT things this postseason.

During Sproles’ rehab, not only did he hit the weight bench, he practiced catching the ball more cleanly, something that proved difficult during his rookie season.  He has even figured out how to “read” the ball and be more prepared for it.  And we have all seen his progress (and prowess) this year.  Sproles ranks 5th in the league on kickoff returns (27.2 yds/return) and 7th (9.5 yds/return) for punt returns, earning much attention from other teams.

And let’s not forget his abilities in the backfield.  During the Lions/Chargers game week 15, he rushed (along WITH LaDainian Tomlinson) for 100+ yds AND 2 TDs, so he is definitely a threat there too.

Darren Sproles, 4th qtr TD

(Source: chargers.com)


AFC Divisional Playoffs – Pre Game Bolts @ Colts

I will start by cutting to the chase – to the meat of the upcoming matchup Sunday – which is, the Colts struggle against 3-4 defenses, one the Chargers utilize very, very successfully.  Particularly with Shawne “Sackmaster” Merriman on one end and Shaun Phillips on the other, the Chargers’ defense is quite adept at collapsing the pocket and getting to the quarterback.  Just ask Peyton Manning, who felt the pressure both this season in week 10 and in 2005 when a 13-0 Colts team was defeated by the Chargers at home.  Now throw in Antonio Cromartie (named to the 2007 AP NFL All-Pro Team along with LT and Lorenzo Neal) who leads the league in INTs (he had 3 against Manning earlier this season) and I can guarantee the Colts are not feeling as comfortable as they would like.  By the way, did I mention Darren Sproles PR and KR for TDs against Indy?  Oh, and Vinatieri’s 2 missed FGs?

Yes, Indy’s offense is 3rd in the league in scoring (the Chargers are 5th); however, San Diego leads the league in takeaways.  With Dwight Freeney on IR, the Colts will have a difficult time stopping LaDainian Tomlinson, or Michael Turner, for that matter, who is very successful against them.  Analysts assert that the Colts need to shut down the run and force Philip Rivers to win the game; however, that is exactly what Tennessee did last week and Rivers stepped up and succeeded.

Now that the proverbial monkey is off the Chargers’ and Norv Turner’s collective backs by securing their first postseason victory since 1995, the Chargers can focus on what they do best:  jamming LT down the defense’s throat and forcing takeaways.

Frankly, I’m sick to death of hearing how Manning is just so wonderful.  Yes, he’s a great quarterback, but he is very beatable.  The Chargers have done it.  I’m also annoyed with the lack of credit given the Chargers.  Last season they were the best team in the league.  This season they have turned it around, and have gone 11-2 in their last 13 games.  And Rivers, who has more criticism than he deserves did achieve yet another 3,000+ yd. season, tossing 21 TDs; stats too often overlooked.  Anyway, the Chargers’ defense knows it’s dangerous to believe that the game will be a repeat of week 10’s game.  Manning is a professional, and, according to Clinton Hart, “That’s Peyton Manning you’re facing.  He’ll have a whole [different] mentality for this game…It’s probably eating him up that he gave us that many (six interceptions).  We don’t expect him to make as many mistakes this time.” (chargers.com)

Apparently Marvin Harrison will be back from injury; however, I do not see him playing up to the caliber he was prior to his injury.  Not to mention the Colts’ ground game:  Joseph Addai has only rushed for 97 yds and no TDs in his last 3 games; hardly the jaw-dropping stats which would cause a modicum of panic within the Bolts. 

Antonio Gates is questionable with his toe injury, and apparently Neal will be available for Sunday after fracturing his fibula against the Titans several weeks ago.  But as I stated earlier this week, the Chargers have depth; and lots of it. 

So go ahead and tell San Diego they won’t win.  I am confident they won’t give it a second thought.

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**Correction:  I had incorrectly listed Bob Sanders on IR, as I meant to put Dwight Freeney.  I have corrected this error, and thank you to CJ for pointing out this oversight on my part.


Chargers v. Colts Injury Report

Antonio Gates’ sprained toe kept him out of practice this week thus far, and he is not expected to play against the Colts on Sunday (big uh oh!!)

Both Chris Chambers and Jamal Williams missed practices due to a ‘team decision’ (whatever that means); but hopefully will be A-O.K. for Sunday.

Nate Kaeding has been struggling with a calf/fibula injury and was limited in practice, but he, too, should be good to go Sunday, particularly in a dome.

Lorenzo Neal has been limited in practice with his fractured fibula.  Wow, what a quick healer, eh?  Although he will likely not play in Indy, he could be ready to go if the Chargers make the AFC Championship Game.

Marques Harris’ hand didn’t limit him at all, as he participated fully in practices thus far this week.

Stay tuned for the Pre Game Report coming soon!

Antonio Gates


Woo Hoo 2!!! a.k.a. Chargers/Titans Post-Game Report

Once again, Chargers 17, Titans 6

O.K., where to start?  How about with Chris Chambers, who had his best game of the season in his first career playoff game (bet he’s glad he left Miami!) with 6 catches for 121 yds, with his 3rd-and-10, 39-yd clutch reception in the 4th quarter which kept alive the drive which culminated with LaDainian Tomlinson’s over-the-top TD to lock in the win for the Chargers.  Vincent Jackson was also deserving of a game ball, with his 5 receptions for 114 yds and TD.  In fact, this was only the 3rd time in Chargers’ history where 2 receivers had over 100-yds apiece, the prior 2 instances were in 1982 and 1983.

And how about the defense??  Sacks by Shawne Merriman, Luis Castillo (remember, he was still injured the last time these two teams met) and Jacques Cesaire; a forced fumble by Merriman; and an INT by Drayton Florence.  By the way, how about Castillo’s little post-sack mambo?  Nice rhythm!

Mike Scifres’ fabulous punting forced the Titans’ offense to start deep within their own territory (and what is up with him NOT being selected to the Pro Bowl again?!?!)  Despite Nate Kaeding’s missed FG, he rebounded with perfection from then on.

Interesting, however, was the drastic difference between the two halves.  San Diego was held to 3 first downs the ENTIRE half, as well as a pathetic 3 total rushing yds.  Yes, you heard correctly, the team with MVP LT held to 3 yds rushing in an entire half?!?

The second half, however, brought back the Chargers we all know and love.  I have to admit (as stated in my earlier post) that I was beginning to lose hope, particularly with the lovely heavy rainfall in which we were sitting.  I was cursing Norv Turner, cursing A.J. Smith for hiring him, cursing Drew Brees for being too short, cursing Wade Phillips for being successful in Dallas, and cursing Cam Cameron for leaving the Chargers to fail miserably as a head coach.

It was LT’s first postseason career win, and one could tell.  He was smiling ear to ear after his 4th quarter TD, taking encores along the sidelines for all us ecstatic fans who were screaming wildly and chanting “LT LT LT!”

Antonio Gates did leave the game on the cart with, what we later found out, a sprained left big toe (hey, don’t laugh…Eric Parker has been out all season with turf toe.)  Hopefully, he will be A-O.K. for Sunday’s game in Indy.  But hey, if not, there’s still Brandon Manumaleuna, Chambers, Vincent Jackson, Kassim Osgood, Craig Davis, Malcom Floyd, LT, Michael Turner, Andrew Pinnock, Legedu Naanee and Darren Sproles as potential targets for Philip Rivers.  Not too shabby, if you ask me. 

In fact, the Chargers have got some depth.  Defensively too.  Every player is ready to go, ready to step up and fill in and play like a TEAM; quite a novel concept in this day of “superstar” players who don’t realize there are other competent players as well.  In some other forums in which I lurk, I often hear criticisms about the Chargers, particularly LT, who is labeled as ‘classless.’  HUH?  Excuse me?  Just because he happens to be a modest, humble and private individual (qualities I, in fact, do admire) he is called classless?  Actually, I looked up ‘classless’ in Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary and lo and behold, there was a picture of Bill Belichick.

Sorry for the segue.  Um, where was I?  Oh yea, admiring the depth and the CHARACTER of the Chargers, who will soon be on their way to Indianapolis to, once again, hopefully, beat the Colts and earn a spot in the AFC Championship Game (a game I hope will be in San Diego against the Jacksonville Jaguars.)  The Chargers are hot right now.  They are confident and classy and peaking at the right time.  Oh, and throw in a bit of luck as well (why should New England corner the market in the luck department?  Because frankly, I see several of their wins, particularly the last 4 games, as LUCKY.  Not to mention the blatant oversight of the officiating crews not calling obvious penalties against the Patriots’ offensive line.)  But I digress (again….)

So, I shall sign off for now with a pictoral homage to the Chargers’ first playoff victory since 1995.  Way to go, guys!!

Luis Castillo celebrating the win

Vincent Jackson’s post TD celebration

Igor Olshansky

LT TD

LT going prime time’

Vince Young/Shawne Merriman


Woo Hoo!!!!

Chargers 17, Titans 6 

OK dear readers…short and sweet for now because I just returned home to a foot of snow and need to dig out the house, cars, dog, etc. before the next foot falls.

But…..

WOOOO HOOOOO!!!  Whatta game?!?!  It’s about time they won a playoff game, dontcha think?!?  Now we can all rave about how incredibly smart A.J. Smith is for hiring ole’ Norv, right?!!? 

After the first half, I have to admit, I was losing faith, and sitting in a torrential downpour did dampen my spirits (no pun intended), but, holy cow, that second half!!  I’m SO glad I wore my Vincent Jackson jersey….and despite my husband saying I didn’t, I believe I influenced him to catch that TD.  The team looked great, Philip Rivers displayed more of that confidence from last season, and WE WON!!! 

Stay tuned for a more in-depth postgame post later this week, as well as the pregame for the big Colts matchup (we can take ’em, done it before, will do it again!!)  I hope you are all well and dryer than I am right now.

GO CHARGERS!!!!!

Vincent Jackson post TD!!


Wild Card Pre-Game – Tennessee @ San Diego

Allright everyone, here it is…..PLAYOFF TIME!!!!

As I’m still not over last year’s playoff game, I will not subject you to a painful rehashing of what occurred.

Fast forward to 2008 (oh, Happy New Year everyone!!); January 6th @ 1.30 pm (PST) when the Chargers host the Titans. (a team they almost lost to before ultimately beating them in overtime (big whew!!)

San Diego is coming off a 6-game winning streak; a remarkable change from the first 6 games of the season, where I (as I’m sure many Bolt fans) was ready to throw in the towel and prepare for a dismal November and December.  The Titans, however, have won their last 4 of 5 (although the win Sunday night in Indy shouldn’t count as Tony Dungy basically rolled over and played dead for them.)  These teams do not like each other, very apparent during their last matchup, during week 14 of this year. 

Two of Tennessee’s big potential playmakers, Vince Young and Albert Haynesworth have been battling injuries.  While Young is a decent scrambler, he is less than spectacular in the passing game.  If Kerry Collins plays, he is less than spectacular in the running game.  And as they struggled against the Colts 2nd and 3rd stringers, it does not look promising for the Titans.

The Chargers, on the other hand, according to Vic Carucci (NFL.com), “Outside of the Patriots, they could very well be the hottest team in the NFL” and they “are playing well enough to give either of the top two seeds…all they can handle.” 

LT is hot, Rivers is getting more consistent, Gates is always dangerous, Chambers and Jackson have been making some phenomenal catches, Turner, Davis, and Sproles have contributed greatly in both offense and special teams play, the defense rocks as always, Merriman continues his sack rampage, Cromartie is Mr. INT, Castillo is back and better than ever, Phillips complements Merriman on the other side, the offensive line is giving Rivers time to throw, Pinnock is a fabulous backup to Neal, Scifres is a punting madman, Kaeding has been spot-on, the rest of the special teams are great, and Norv Turner isn’t straying from what works (fingers crossed!)  And if I’ve forgotten to mention any other fabulous player by name, I apologize….you are ALL making me (and other Chargers fans) very happy lately (and my neighbors annoyed with the airhorns!)

Anyway, I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what happens.  I will be at the game, rooting them on, bedecked in all of my Chargers paraphernalia, hoping they win.  Otherwise my poor husband will have a very long and unpleasant drive home (all 7 hours of it!)

Go Chargers!!!


Week 17 Post-Game Report or “Chargers Rule, Raiders Suck!”

Chargers 30, Raiders 17 

Welcome to the league JaMarcus Russell…..first start, first play, INT to Igor Olshansky. 

However, I, for one, am not really happy with the Chargers’ performance in the first half. 

Too much inconsistency and way too many rushing yards allowed by the DST.  Not to mention the proliferation of unnecessary penalties…completely uncalled for and not giving Chargers fans a lot of confidence going into the postseason. 

Philip Rivers displayed yet another passionate outburst which I, for one, enjoy seeing.  Passion and emotion from a QB is refreshing (a la Brett Favre high-fiving the official earlier today.)  His play was good, despite the injury to his leg which was obviously aggravated by yet another dirty Oakland play, and he earned a passer rating over 100 today.

4 more turnovers today keep San Diego in the lead for takeaways this season with 48.  Darren Sproles had some great returns, Michael Turner is still posing difficulties for anyone who wishes to tackle him, which will come in handy should the Chargers travel to Indy for the divisional playoffs (remember Turner’s 83-yd TD in Week 15 of the 2005 season in Indy to knock the Colts from the ranks of the undefeated?) 

Game ball today to Jyles Tucker with 3 sacks of Russell and 2 forced fumbles, one for a TD.  (I’m thinking defensive player of the week!!)

And LT achieved yet another milestone:  he is the 14th player in history with 14,000 yds from scrimmage!!  As well as the NFL Rushing Champion for the 2nd consecutive year!!  Way to go!!But overall, a win is a win is a win. 

Coupled with Pittsburgh’s loss, the Chargers maintain the #3 seed, facing either Cleveland or Tennessee next Sunday afternoon…and I’ll be there!!  (Look for me, ok?  I’ll be wearing the Vincent Jackson jersey while my hubby will be sporting Igor Olshansky’s.)

Jackson/Chambers Jackson & Chambers


Congratulations LaDainian Tomlinson…2007 NFL Rushing Champion!!

(And his 2nd consecutive title!!)  Adrian Peterson (MIN) was runner up, but undoubtedly a lock for Rookie of the Year!

And now, a photo tribute to the great LT…..the TRUE MVP of the NFL.

LT

LT

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LT TD move


Week 17 Rants – Or ‘Oh My, Charger_Girl Has a Really Big Mouth’ (yeah, yeah, I know.)

You know you love these posts…if not, why are you reading them?

So, as I’m watching Drayton Florence draw a pass interference penalty early in the Chargers/Raiders game after not bothering to look for the ball (something Quentin Jammer used to do too often but has since improved) which allowed the Raiders to score, I became understandably angry and thought you would all enjoy another edition of Charger_Girl’s rants.

Let’s begin with the New England Patriots.  They managed, once again, to pull a comeback win out of their collective arses.  Hmmm, that’s what?  Four in a row now?  Too suspicious if you ask me.  I guess when Bill Belicheat, er Belichick and Robert Kraft decided to sell their souls to the devil, an undefeated season was the best they could come up with.  At least they’ll be buddies in the afterlife.  I’m beginning to think hell has an entire wing for NFL players, coaches, and officials.  And it’s probably named after Robert Kraft too.  So they are 16-0.  Whoop de doo.  I would love to see them lose their first playoff game to probably either Pittsburgh or Jacksonville; and you know, I firmly believe the Jaguars can do it. 

In my perfect world, the Jaguars would come to San Diego for the AFC Championship Game; however, I wouldn’t mind beating the Patsies, er Patriots, in Foxboro.  Revenge can be very, very sweet.

Turning my ranting elsewhere, I’d like to bash bandwagon Patriot fans.  I’m sorry, but the fact is that your beloved team was actually CAUGHT CHEATING.  That means everything they have ever done, to me anyway, will have a huge black mark next to it.  If you fans enjoy being affiliated with that sort of thing, maybe you can rent a bed in the Robert Kraft Hell Wing yourselves (hmm, maybe I ought to contact Matt Stone and Trey Parker for a future South Park episode.)  I, on the other hand, have absolutely no respect for them, and if losing builds character, then Chargers fans have a TON of character.  This is not to disparage true Patriots fans, however, who suffered when the team sucked, circa pre 2001.

OK, now a word (or two or 200) about Dan Dierdorf.  This man has absolutely nothing of value to add to any game he calls.  You’d think, with the amount of money he’s earned over his lifetime, he could have invested in a speech coach to get rid of his lisp.  Very annoying to listen to.  Maybe he and Bill Cowher can go together and get a discount.  Now I’m not intending to be mean with regards to people with speech impediments, but if you are in the public and are required to speak for a living, then you should be able to speak properly.  Am I right?

Anyway, I have emailed CBS Sports MANY times regarding Dierdorf’s early retirement, but nobody has contacted me.  Figures, I suppose.  And why is it he seems to always call Chargers games?  It’s obvious he has no respect for them as a team, and as a Chargers fan, I take offense that CBS forces us to listen to his pointless, mindless drivel week after week after week.  The guy was a decent player in his career, but a good player does not equate to a decent commentator (are you listening Troy Aikman?)  Now John Madden offers some obvious Alzheimer’s-induced statements; however, he actually can string together a few intelligent sentences every now and then.

Oh great, Rivers tripped and effectively sacked himself deep in their own territory.  Hmmmm, maybe I ought to take a Valium and stop writing for now.

By the way, I will be at the Wildcard Game in San Diego next weekend (woo hoo!), so you’ll all get an early pre-game report, followed by oodles of fun stuff after I return.  Well if they win.  If not, stay tuned for another fun week of ranting.  Actually more like another 8 months of ranting.  I’m still not over the playoff loss last season.

small_sandiego_logo.gif


Week 17 Pre-Game – Chargers (10-5) @ Oakland (4-11)

Hmmm, well, I ought to predict BIG things for the Chargers (after all they have won their 2nd AFC West title in 2 years and….come on, you all know the words by now…..their 3rd in 4 years!); however, being a long-time Chargers fan, things don’t always happen the way they should.

Last meeting, LaDaininan Tomlinson ran for 4 TDs in a 28-14 win by the Chargers.  But that was when Oakland at least had a shot (remember, they actually led the division for, what, 15 hours?!?) 

The Raiders are coming off a throttling by Jacksonville (scary, scary team….I don’t want to have to play them again….well, er, I mean I don’t want my boys to have to play them again) as the Chargers smoked the Broncos…..again!  JaMarcus Russell will be getting his first start (wow, #1 pick in the draft starting in the LAST game of the season…..WTG Al Davis!)  He did toss his first TD last week…..oh, along with 3 INTs in (get this) “limited play.”

Barring any stupendous 300-yd rushing game by Adrian Peterson (MIN) like he did against, oh, um, San Diego in week 9, LT ought to have the rushing title won and will probably sit most of the game to let Michael Turner and Darren Sproles (behind Andrew Pinnock – I will NEVER forget to mention him again!) run rampant on the Raiders who have practically disintegrated before our very happy eyes.  Philip Rivers may get a breather should the Chargers get ahead comfortably (to me that’s about 45 points….but who knows with Norv?) to rest his injured leg.  However, San Diego does not want to lose that #3 seed to Pittsburgh, because the #4 seed gets to play Jacksonville (UGH!)

The Chargers do have some injuries that need resting (Rivers, Merriman, Kaeding, Gates) and unlike the New York Giants who can rest everyone and just let the Patriots go undefeated (big whoop de doo); we do need to maintain that #3 seed.

Actually, let me digress a moment.  In my grand scheme of how I want the playoffs to look (and if you’re reading this you must be as diehard a Chargers fan as I am, or you don’t like them, in which case I don’t really care what you think) I’m hoping for Jacksonville to defeat Pittsburgh, and then defeat New England (blech.)  That way, once the Chargers beat either Tennessee or Cleveland, and then the Colts (again), San Diego would host the AFC Championship Game and hopefully defeat Jacksonville to meet Green Bay in the Super Bowl, and kill them.  😀

O.K. delusion over, I return you to your regularly scheduled pre-game report.

Anyway, check out this tasty morsel:  LT has rushed for 1,653 yds and 16 TDs in his 13 games vs. Oakland.  Think they know that? 

So, while I won’t be so bold as to predict a win (don’t want to jinx them), I won’t.  See you after the game!

LT vs. JAX

The soon-to-be 2007 Rushing Champion, LaDainian Tomlinson!! (look, he scored against Jacksonville!!)

(Source: nfl.com)