Pardon My Tangent….

So, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to incorporate some really cool information (at least to me) into this Chargers blog.  Watching the Denver/Houston game tonight on NFL Network, it came to me!!

I have a huge crush on Owen Daniels (TE #81 for the Houston Texans; and, yes, my husband is aware of this, although this may be more disturbing to him than my previous crush on Tim McGraw since Daniels is considerably younger than both Tim and myself), and my best buddy Steve (my comment groupie) who lives in Wisconsin (although he’s a Chargers fan) purchased a University of Wisconsin Badgers mini helmet for me and drove a long, long distance to a public signing where Daniels was appearing.  Look what he did for me….(I was very excited and thankful, to say the least!)

 U of W helmet    

Anyway….should the Texans beat the Broncos tonight and the Chargers beat the Lions on Sunday, San Diego will have clinched their 2nd consecutive AFC West Title and 3rd in 4th years (as I never get tired of reiterating!)

So, GOOOOOOOO HOUSTON!!!


Week 15 Pregame – Detroit (6-7) @ San Diego (8-5) – Plus Injury Report (A Big Double Issue!!)

Coming off that amazing, nail-biting OT win in Tennessee last week, the Chargers host their next 2 games, giving them ample opportunity to stay ahead of Denver and win the AFC West.  The Broncos are currently 2 games out, playing the Texans Thursday night in Houston (GO Houston!!)

This week, the rapidly-waning Lions travel to San Diego, fresh off their disappointing last-second loss to Dallas in Week 14.  Despite John Kitna’s assertion that Detroit would win 10, the Lions have dropped their last 5 consecutive games; however, they remain on the edge of the wildcard race.

The last time these 2 teams met, in 2003, Doug Fluties was the Bolts’ QB, leading them to a 14-7 win, but the Chargers finished last in the league, earning the first pick of the 2004 draft (the draft where the Chargers acquired Philip Rivers, Nate Kaeding, Nick Hardwick, Shaun Phillips, Michael Turner, Igor Olshansky & Shane Olivea -what a draft, eh?)

Despite injuries to Shawne Merriman, Lorenzo Neal, and Rivers last week, the Chargers’ backups really stepped up and the entire team has played with emotion, heart and a renewed competitive fire.  The home crowd should (hopefully….fingers crossed) spur the Bolts on to their 4th consecutive win, which would be their longest streak thus far this season.

Several players were limited in practice, including: Antonio Gates (back), Luis Castillo (ankle), Jamal Williams (ankle), Mike Goff (foot), Philip Rivers (knee) and Shawne Merriman (knee).  Only Neal and Merriman have been ruled as out for Sunday.  Neal suffered a broken leg and is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season, while Merriman will be out 1-2 weeks.  Rivers isn’t expected to miss any time, and Gates ought to be just fine.

Despite Detroit’s low-ranked pass defense, they do have 16 INTs.  Rivers’ achilles heel this year has been his turnovers, tossing 15 INTs and fumbling 5 times.  Due to this pressure, Rivers has been the catalyst for the team’s success or failure.  Interestingly, this season, when Rivers has a 70+ completion percentage, the Chargers are 8-1.  He really needs to channel some of the confidence from last season as well as the past 3 games where he has shown a glimmer of his maturity and confidence from last year.

Reigning MVP LaDainian Tomlinson needs only 5 yds to reach 1,200 for the season, joining Eric Dickerson as the ONLY players to start their careers with seven 1,200+ yd seasons – QUITE impressive!!

The Chargers lead the series 5-3, having won 5 straight.

Rivers in Tennessee

(Go Philip go!)


Hey Arthur Blank…..

After the completely inappropriate and immature resignation by Bobby Petrino (without even saying anything to the team) to take the head coaching position at the University of Arkansas, I propose the following….

Norv Turner to Atlanta as the head coach….immediately!!

The Spanos’ and A.J. Smith can swallow their collective pride and rehire Marty Schottenheimer.  It’s not too late…yet…the season is still salvageable, but since Turner’s been in “power” there has been a noticeable decrease in the team’s fire; obviously a result (in my humble opinion) of the ho-hum attitude of Norv, not to mention the questionable play calling.  (Seriously, does Clarence Shelmon do anything as the offensive coordinator?)  Note to Norv:  You are NOT the OC anymore, you are the (ahem, cough) head coach…..ACT like one, would you?

Marty inspired the team; he kept them competitive.  San Diego has the most talent of ANY team in the NFL (yes, even the “mighty” Patriots), not to mention the Chargers have CLASS (emphasis added after mentioning the Patriots), character, and respect for each other (it’s OK L.T., I sometimes give my husband the cold shoulder, but it REALLY doesn’t mean anything…and I heard you and PR “make up” during the post-game interview.  And thank goodness I didn’t have to witness a Bill Belichick/Rodney Harrison-like kiss, ewwww.) 

Anyway, you will NEVER hear any Charger take individual credit; it is a collective team effort.  And a nice change from certain other teams with individual egomaniacal so-called “stars” (and their self-absorbed coaches) who take offense when they are not featured. 

Which leaves me one final thought:  J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!!  Come on Mangini, believe me when I say you will have a LOT of fans this weekend.

Merriman Sacking Brady, week 2

Nice sack Shawne!!


3 Pro-Bowlers Injured in Tennessee

Pro Bowler Lorenzo Neal is out indefinitely with a fractured fibula, sustained during the 4th quarter of the Titans game Sunday.  The Chargers are hoping Neal can recuperate in time for the postseason.  Andrew Pinnock was a very competent replacement last week proving vital in two key plays: catching a screen during the game-tying drive and throwing a crucial block enabling LaDainian Tomlinson to score the game-winning OT TD.

Lorenzo Neal

Shawne Merriman will miss next week’s game against the Lions after sustaining a sprained knee in what many believe to have been a dirty play in retaliation for an accidental collision with Vince Young.  Check out: http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/chargers/20071210-9999-1s10chside2.html  for the complete story.  Marques Harris will step back into Merriman’s big shoes against Detroit next week.

Jamal Williams is questionable as well with an ankle injury.  Brandon McKinney replaced him and will likely be called upon again next Sunday.

A positive note, Luis Castillo was limited in practice last week and appears to be making progress; hopefully returning to the lineup within the next couple of weeks, and hopefully Darren Sproles’ knee will enable his return soon as well.

Get well soon, guys!!


HOLY COW!!! – Week 14 Ultimate Nail-Biter Post Game

Chargers 23, Titans 17

What an unbelievable game, my pulse is still racing!

Let me begin by proposing that Tennessee’s “LP Field” be renamed “LT Field”….think that’ll fly?  And it appears that Vince Young has fallen prey to the “Madden Curse.”

I have to admit, I was rapidly losing faith in the 2nd quarter, and had really lost it by the time the Chargers were down 17-3, even considering putting Philip Rivers on my fantasy chopping block (Sorry Philip, please forgive me!) especially after his 2nd INT of the game, giving him a total of 15 for the season (really, Phil, it has to stop, OK?)  I did have serious pangs of guilt after a cheap shot to his knee sidelined him for a few plays, to subsequently return in a brace; allowing Billy Volek to make his triumphant return to Tennessee, only to throw an INT.  Despite Rivers’ 2 picks, he redeemed himself with 2 TDs and some amazingly heads-up and agile plays despite the pain I knew he suffered, exhibiting the leadership qualities so firmly espoused last season and somewhat lacking thus far this year.

Antonio “Mr. INT” Cromartie snagged his 9th pick of the season, still leading the league!  Later in the game Matt Wilhelm added an INT of his own, as well as leading the team in tackling today, with Clinton Hart a close second.  Shawne “Sackmaster” Merriman added 2 sacks to up his season total to 11.5; however, left in the 3rd quarter due to a sprained left knee, to be replaced by Marques “Backflip” Harris.

Antonio Gates landed painfully hard upon his left hip, and, despite being in obvious pain, returned to snag the tying TD in the 4th quarter with 9 seconds left.  Adding to the “death toll” was an as-of-yet-undisclosed injury to Lorenzo Neal. 

LaDainian “Mr. December” Tomlinson was true to form, rushing for 146 yds and a TD as well as  receiving 27 yds and another TD, including the game-winning OT 16-yd scramble.

LT MVP

Vincent Jackson had a couple of clutch grabs, most importantly keeping the winning OT drive alive.  Chris Chambers contributed his receiving skill as well.  Special teams were great, as always, with Nate Kaeding perfect on FGs and XPs, while Mike Scifres was able (along with a spectacular play by Kassim Osgood) to pin the Titans deep in their own territory a few times.

Props to the Titans’ defense for tiring out toward the end of the game.

The officiating was miserable, from the failure to flag obvious holding and personal foul penalties (most notably by the Titans.)  However, a late-drive “catch” by Chris Chambers, dubbed a reception on the field, was upheld after review (it really could have gone both ways.)  Furthermore, I still have no clue what, if anything, is in Norv Turner’s head, with some of the plays he called. 

Anyway, I have no voice and further aggravated my post-op right knee from all the pacing and jumping; not to mention my neighbors probably thought I was being massacred for 3.5 hours…..oh, and let’s not forget the undeniably excessive use of air horns!

San Diego has bettered its record to 8-5, hosting Detroit next week, coming off a truly disappointing last-second loss to Dallas.

LT “That’s what I’m talking about!!”

“Now that’s what I’m talking about!!!”


Odds and Ends (and Boo Boos)

Congrats to AFC Defensive Player of the Week Shawne Merriman courtesy of his 3 sacks of Damon Huard last week in Kansas City, spurring the Chargers to their 7th win of the season.  This stellar performance gives “Lights Out” 36.5 sacks in his career, and 1.5 more will tie him with Chris Mims and Burt Grossman for 9th/10th/11th place.

Lights Out

(and here’s his dance to celebrate!!)

More congrats to the Fed Ex Ground Player of the Week, none other than reigning MVP LaDainian Tomlinson.

With a Bolts’ win and a Broncos’ loss on Sunday, San Diego can clinch its 2nd AFC West title, and 3rd in 4 years.

LT loves December!!  Historically, LT has gained the most yardage during this month.  Let’s hope this trend continues.  And speaking of LT, the day after he surpassed his childhood idol Walter Payton for 3rd on the all-time rushing list, he wore his Payton jersey when he addressed the media; a jersey he said usually stays at home.

Rookie Legedu Naanee (the man of many positions) is adding another one to his repertoire.  As a high school QB, Naanee is running the scout team offense to give the defense an idea of how to deal with Vince Young this week, as, physically, they are very similar.

Did you know the Chargers are the only AFC team who has never visited the Titans’ LP Field?  (Don’t worry, neither did I.)  Prior to this week’s trip, they played the then-Tennessee Oilers at Vanderbilt University’s stadium in 1998.

Injury Report

Luis Castillo, although running on the sidelines, will still be inactive for Sunday’s game, despite making great progress.

Jacques Cesaire had a minor surgical procedure on a sprained thumb sustained in Kansas City, but that shouldn’t stop the big guy from either playing or making an impact on Sunday, currently listed as “probable.”

Likewise, Nick Hardwick’s foot has him  “probable” as well.

Shawne Merriman’s sore calf limited his practice mid-week, but this “tenderness” (a la Norv Turner) shouldn’t keep him sidelined despite his current “questionable” status.  Somehow the words “tender” and “Shawne Merriman” seem to be mutually exclusive.

Darren Sproles’ knee limited him as well, and along with Merriman, he currently hold a “questionable” status for Sunday.

(Hugs and kisses to all the injured players…..heck, to all of them!)

(Source: chargers.com)


Week 14 Pre Game Report – Chargers (7-5) at Titans (7-5)

Last time these two teams met, in San Diego last year (week 2), LT rushed for 2 TDs (during his record-setting year) and Philip Rivers was an impressive 25/35, 235 yds and one TD in a 40-7 decisive victory. 

This year, however, the Chargers travel to Tennessee (their 2nd consecutive road game.)  Although this season is much different from last year, the victory last week in Kansas City (a tough venue for them) undoubtedly sparked that competitive fire from last year.  If they win out, San Diego will finish with a respectable 11-5 record and, quite possibly, at least one playoff game at home.  Further, should the Chargers win and Denver lose; the Chargers will clinch their second consecutive AFC West title, and their third in four years.  Tennessee has its sights on both Jacksonville and Indy in a close AFC South race.

With DT Albert Haynesworth back in the lineup for Tennessee, he will have the daunting task of stopping LT.  As long as Norv Turner remains with the rushing game (you know, give the ball to LT, he runs, he scores, San Diego wins!?!) as well as utilizing LT as a receiver (he had nine catches last week) the Chargers ought to have the edge.  Rivers will have to maintain his composure, typically difficult for him this season on the road since Tennessee currently has the 7th ranked rush defense.  The Titans’ game plan includes limiting LT and applying pressure on Rivers.   San Diego’s defense needs to maintain domination, from applying pressure to Vince Young to continuing the turnover success they’ve had this season, primarily from Antonio Cromartie’s magic’ hands.  Also, the Chargers are 10-1 when Shawne Merriman has at least two sacks, and the league’s leading sacker last year had three last week. This, undoubtedly, is the most difficult game San Diego has remaining on their schedule.  Next up, two home games — against the rapidly falling Lions and vs. Denver on Christmas Eve.  Their final game is in Oakland. 

Let’s go guys!!


Exactly HOW Great is L.T.?

Congratulations LT for surpassing 10,000 yards last Sunday, being the 4th fastest player to do so, and the third this season!!!

Currently, LT leads the league in TDs with 11 and is 3rd in total yards with 1,049 yds (behind future Rookie of the Year Adrian Peterson and Willie Parker.)

But let’s go back a few years, shall we….

At Texas Christian University, LT won the Doak Walker Award his senior year and came in 4th in the Heisman standings.  He completed his college career rushing for 5,263 yards, 6th all-time in NCAA Division I history.  TCU retired his #5 jersey in November 2005. 

He achieved immediate success in the NFL, rushing for over 1,200 yards and having 50+ receptions in each of his six seasons. He has also completed 7 career passes, 6 of them for touchdowns earning him a career passer rating of 152.1. Early in 2007, LT was named the NFL MVP for his multiple record-breaking season, earning a landslide 44 out of 50 votes.  He also was selected to his 5th Pro Bowl and named AP Offensive Player of the Year, co-recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award (with former teammate Drew Brees), and several ESPY Awards including the Male Athlete of the Year Award.

NFL/Chargers Records:

  • All-time NFL record for single season touchdowns (31)
  • All-time NFL record for single season rushing touchdowns (28)
  • All-time NFL record for the most points scored in a single season (186)
  • All-time NFL record for most consecutive games with a rushing RD (18)
  • NFL record for most consecutive multi-TD games (8)
  • All-time San Diego Chargers record for most career rushing yards (9,176)
  • All-time San Diego Chargers record for most career TDs (111)
  • All-time NFL record for fastest to 100 TDs, occurring in his 89th game.
  • 2nd player in NFL history to score 4 TDs in 2 consecutive games (with Marshall Faulk.)
  • Most TDs scored in a 5-game span with 16 (14 rushing, 2 receiving), breaking his own record of 15 that he had set two weeks earlier
  • The first and only player in NFL history to rush for 1000 yards and receive 100 passes in a single season
  • 2nd player in NFL history with 1,800 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in one season
  • Became only the 5th RB with consecutive seasons of 20+ TDs (with Emmitt Smith, Priest Holmes, Shaun Alexander and Marshall Faulk)
  • Tied and surpassed the legendary Walter Payton on the all-time rushing TD list, currently in sole possession of 3rd place with 111

Collegiate Records:

  • In 2000 while at TCU, he rushed for a career high 2,158 yards, the fourth highest total ever in a single collegiate season
  • Holds the NCAA Division I-A record for most rushing yards in a game with 406

  And in the immortal words of Karen and Richard Carpenter, he’s “only just begun.”

Courtesy of NFLguru.net

(Sources:  wikipedia.org, nfl.com)


They Came, They Saw, They Conquered – Week 13 Post Game Report

Chargers 24, Chiefs 10

Going into Kansas City with a mediocre 6-5 record, knowing the Chargers have lost the last 9 of 10 meetings in KC was an unsettling prospect, to say the least.  Not to mention that Norv Turner has never beaten the Chiefs during his 3 tours of duty as a head coach.  Comforting, however, is the knowledge that the New England Patriots were 6-5 when they eventually won their first Super Bowl in 2001.  Yes, I know, the Chargers are not the Patriots (at least not this year…don’t get me started on last season.)

Anyway, I was worried from the start.  The first play from scrimmage for San Diego resulted in a sack courtesy of Jarred Allen.  Then, during that same drive, on 3rd-and-19 the all-too-familiar play-calling monster reared its ugly head,
San Diego rushed the ball while deep in its own territory. 

The Chiefs started well with a 24-yd completion to Tony Gonzalez and a nice 15-yd run by the rookie Kolby Smith; however, the Chargers’ D stepped up, holding them to a 38-yd FG by ex-Charger John Carney, signed this week.

Rivers tossed a pick, which, thankfully, was reciprocated by Damon Huard to San Diego’s INT king Antonio Cromartie, his 7th of the season, leading the league thus far (amazing, if you think this is only his 4rd start of the season!)  Another INT in the 4th raised his total to 8.

It was great watching Brandon Manumaleuna lumbering down the field for a 40-yd gain, displaying infinitely more grace than Rivers rushing TD earlier this season.

I don’t know why I put myself through the stress of watching games.  Nate Kaeding missed his first 40-49-yd FG of the year, kicking into the wind.  Not to mention the Vrabel-esque TD by Jared Allen.  Yes, Jared Allen, a defensive end.

OK, second half….LT TD!!!  There we go!!  The first of 2 scored and an LT-like 177 rushing yards.

Big props to the DST with 8 sacks, 3 INTs and a forced fumble.  This season, the Chargers have been struggling in the takeaway department on the road.  Most impressive was no pass interference penalties on San Diego…typically their Achilles’ heel.  Uh oh, I spoke too soon, Cletus Gordon was flagged for a really BAD pass interference penalty with 2:54 to go in the game.

Congrats to LaDainian Tomlinson for tying Walter Payton for 3rd on the all-time rushing TD list with 110, then achieving 3rd place on his own with another score in the 4th quarter.  He never ceases to amaze.

With 4 games left, at home against Denver and Detroit and at Tennessee and Oakland, the Bolts have a shot at an 11-5 record and another AFC West title.  But I’m superstitious, so pretend you didn’t read that.

LT MVP


Who’s Hurting Now? Week 13 Injury Report

Luis “He’s Really Cute in Person” Castillo is still out, nursing an ankle injury.

Jamal “The Big Guy” Williams did not practice this week due to a “team decision” (whatever that REALLY means); however, he did not participate in last week’s practices either but played perfectly well against Baltimore last week.

And that’s all folks…for Chargers injuries anyway.

Now the Chiefs are another story.  Their injury report reads like a novella.  Aside from RB Larry Johnson out for who-know-how-long, those currently not participating in practices in Kansas City include: QB Brodie Croyle (back); LB Keyaron Fox (back); S Jarrad Page (illness); CB Patrick Surtain (shoulder); and S Greg Wesley (knee.)  T Will Svitek (foot) was involved in limited participation only.

Stay tuned folks.

Luis Castillo

(Source:  Chargers.com)