Tag Archives: Philip Rivers

AFC Divisional 2009: Steelers storm out the Chargers

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Diego Chargers put all they’ve got on the table for the chance to go to the AFC Championship.  Broadcast on CBS and set in swirly snowflakes of Heinz Field, the first quarter bolted out–no pun intended–with a Chargers touchdown by wide receiver Vincent Jackson.  San Diego 7 and Pittsburgh 0.  Minutes later, Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes returned a punt for sixty-eight yards, flew into the end zone, and toppled a photographer on the sidelines.   It was such a beauty.  The snow, his running–like a bumble bee or yellow jacket into the night.  Another Fortune Cookie moment.  Both teams tied 7.

One of the cameras cut to an extreme close-up of Chargers punter Brett Scifres (pronounced “sigh-fruh-ss”) after that TD.  He wore the look of shock and irritation.

The second quarter continued beyond seven minutes and then Vincent Jackson made a job-dropping leap of a forty-three yard catch.  Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin challenged the complete pass call.  He won the challenge.  Jackson caught the ball in mid-air, but upon hitting the turf, the ball bounced out of his hands.  The Chargers had to punt the ball away.  Nate Kaeding attempted a forty-two yard field goal with two minutes on the clock.  He did it.  San Diego 10 and Pittsburgh 7.  Steelers running back Willie Parker was able to zip across the front, left corner of the end zone with fewer than seventy seconds left in the quarter.  Thus, going into halftime Pittsburgh 14 and San Diego 10.

The third quarter started with Steelers on offense.  That drive, consisting of thirteen plays, ticked all the way to seven minutes for a touchdown by tight end Heath Miller.  Pittsburgh 21 and San Diego 10.  The Chargers shoved back with a sixty-three yard kick-return by running back Darren Sproles.  One play later, Steelers linebacker Larry Foote recovered a loose Chargers ball (technically, his teammate James Harrison got to the ball first but Foote came up with it).  Chargers head coach Norv Turner challenged the interception ruling.  He lost the challenge.  Towards the bottom of the quarter, Steelers punter Mitch Berger kicked the ball down the field, which bounced off Chargers strong safety Eric Weddle’s helmet.   The Steelers got the ball back.

The fourth quarter lashed out without a TD or a field goal by the Steelers…as the previous plays had suggested would surely happen.  But they got that missed score soon enough.  Running back Gary Russell broke the plane sufficiently for a TD.  Pittsburgh 28 and San Diego 10.  Steelers defensive end Brett Kiesel sacked Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers a couple plays later.  After he got up, Kiesel took three to four steps while doing a downward figure-eight, row-row-row-your-boat movement with his arms.   The Chargers got a TD on the board courtesy of wide receiver Legedu Naanee (the first of his career) with about nine minutes on the clock.  Willie Parker got his galloping legs into the end zone some five minutes later.  Pittsburgh 35 and San Diego 17.  Byron Leftwich stepped in as Steelers quarterback for Ben Roethlisberger in the bottom of the quarter.  With under two minutes to play, Darren Sproles ran sixty-two yards into the end zone for a TD.  Pittsburgh 35 and San Diego 24.  Final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Jim Nantz and Phil Simms were the commentators.  They both wore dark suits, light blue button-down shirts, and v-neck sweaters.  Nantz wore a silverish/blue tie and a bluish-gray sweater, Simms a silver and bluish-gray, fat, diagonally striped tie and a dark blue/or black sweater.

2.  What’s this?  While Nate Kaeding was putting up the extra point in the top of the first quarter, the commentators mentioned something about Vincent Jackson’s DUI from the past week.

3.  The Steelers wore yellow pants–black stripe down the outer leg–and black jerseys with yellow sleeves.  The Chargers wore blue pants with–white/bolt stripe down the outer leg–and white jerseys.  The uniforms made me think of yellow jackets and blueberry muffins.

4.  Read more about The Fortune Cookie here.

5.  Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has a great speaking voice.  Watch him on Craig Ferguson’s show from last year.   Gates’s voice reminds me of Tone Loc ‘s. You know. “Funky Cold Medina.”

6.  Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips got elbowed in the adam’s apple/throat area in the bottom of the second quarter.  He walked off the field a couple minutes later.  To his left? An Asian man.  A Dr. Calvin Wong, methinks.  The Chargers’ opthamologist is Dr. Mihir (Max) Parikh.

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AFC Wildcard 2009: Chargers techno remix the Colts

The Indianapolis Colts on the front porch of the San Diego Chargers. Hmmm. Peyton Manning or Philip Rivers. Which quarterback would guide his team to a victory? Broadcast on NBC, the first quarter rumbled off a touchdown for the Colts, courtesy of running back Joseph Addai. Indianapolis 7 and San Diego 0.

The second quarter demonstrated that Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson’s groin discomfort would not deter him from making a touchdown. Both teams 7. The Colts broke the tie halfway through the quarter when Adam Vinatieri kicked a forty-three yard field goal. And then there was a touchdown by Chargers running back Darren Sproles in the very bottom of the second quarter. Going into halftime, San Diego 14 and Indianapolis 10.

Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne ran sixty-two yards for a touchdown near the halfway point of the third quarter. Indianapolis 17 and San Diego 14. Sugoi! The Chargers weren’t going to have a Colts gallop, were they? Well. Between successful passing and rushing, the Chargers got down the field. Darren Sproles was aiming for the end zone, was brought down a couple yards before the goal line, and the ball came rolling out: a fumble recovered by defensive tackle Raheem Brock in the end zone for a touchback.

The fourth quarter skipped beyond the halfway mark’s lou and the two-minute warning before any more scoring would be done. Would the Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding have a chance to tie the game? A twenty-six yard field goal attempt hit the spot. Both teams 17. Would the Colts be able to sprinkle out some offense magic without going into over-time? Non. The Chargers’ offense took to the stage first in over-time; seven to eight minutes later, Darren Sproles got himself into the end zone for a TD. San Diego 23 and Indianapolis 17. Final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Al Michaels and John Madden served up game remarks. They mentioned in the second quarter that Peyton Manning hadn’t cut his hair in nine weeks.

2. I like the light blue Chargers uniform.

3. The Colts had to punt the ball away with three minutes left in the second quarter. Al Michaels noted that the ball landed on the “Colt 45.” I laughed.

4. Al Michaels mentioned in the third quarter that Darren Sproles is 5’6 and 180 pounds. I’m 5’3 and 104 pounds. If he and I ever stood in a single file line, I could probably hide behind him.

5. I had noted in my entry on the 2009 Orange Bowl that the yardage numbers on the field were outlined in orange. The numbers on the Qualcomm turf are outlined in light blue.

6. When did San Diego’s head coach Norv Turner put on glasses? Was he wearing glasses the entire time? I noticed them in the fourth quarter.

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NFL 08: Falcons are all the rage in the Chargers parade

The Atlanta Falcons fast-boat to California to grill some steaks with the San Diego Chargers. Televised by Fox, the first quarter trotted to about five minutes on the game clock before anybody scored. The Falcons did–Jason Elam and a field goal. Chargers running back LaDanian Tomlinson got his team on the board with a touchdown at the bottom of the first quarter. The Falcons responded with another field goal. San Diego 7 and Atlanta 6.

The second quarter twinkled about the nine minute mark with former Charger tight end Justin Peelle making a TD catch. Atlanta 13 and San Diego 7. Halfway through the second quarter, I noticed two more points for Atlanta on the TV scorebar graphic. Que? Apparently, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers incurred a penalty which translated into a safety for the Falcons, so 15 to 7.

The third quarter commenced with Chargers safety Eric Weddle recovering a fumbled catch by Falcons wide receiver Brian Finneran for an eighty-six yard touchdown. Falcons head coach Mike Smith challenged the interception call. Smith did not win the challenge. Atlanta 15 and San Diego 13. The fourth quarter shot out a TD catch by Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas, his first TD reception of the year (the others were run in). Atlanta 22 and San Diego 13.

The Chargers’ next possession included a few strong plays but their field goal attempt was blocked by Falcons defensive end Jamaal Anderson. Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton recovered the ball. Not long afterwards, San Diego got their hands on the ball after their defense brought Falcons running back Michael Turner to the ground. Mike Smith challenged the call and lost it. The Chargers picked up a field goal at the end of that cul-de-sac run. Atlanta 22 and San Diego 16. At about the two minute mark in the fourth quarter, Philip Rivers hurtled the ball towards wide receiver Malcom Floyd. Falcons safety Erik Coleman went in for the tackle/ball. He and Floyd collided quite audibly in mid-air. It sounded like two plastic trains being smashed into each other. Or bamboo sticks being whacked against each other (a la kendo or tinikling).

Paraphrasing the commentators, Atlanta pivoted the ball to San Diego three times but still managed to stay in the lead…and then ultimately win the game 22 to 16. Final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Matt Vasgersian and JC Pearson were commentators.

2. Michael Turner was focused on the game–so much so that before he kept to himself before the festivities started. He didn’t acknowledge his former teammates (of four years) on the field.

3. The second quarter ended with four attempts by the Falcons to cross the goal line. The Chargers were able to stop them each time. In watching those exchanges, I started thinking about red zone offense and defense. Why would the offense make four running tries instead of two runs and two passes? Or, if three running attempts were fruitless, why not try passing on the fourth? Well, because you wouldn’t want the other team’s defense to take advantage of any imperfections with a pass. And then there’s how the defense would respond to what they think the offense would do. It really isn’t too different from the game of rock, paper, scissors in that respect. If your opponent went with paper three times in a row, would you think they would go with paper on the fourth? If you had gone with paper three times in a row as well, would you switch to scissors or rock on the fourth? If you believed your opponent would bust out the paper once more, what would you do?

4. I have, and I bet you have too, seen this Peyton Manning Mastercard commercial at least seven times as of today. While some of you are probably sick to toadstools of it, the more I see it, the more I like it. I especially adore the way Peyton says, “the weather is sweet. Nice.”

5. Matt Vasgersian remarked that Jamaal Anderson is a Ludacris lookalike. Hmmm. Do you concur?

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The Pittsburgh Steelers clobbered the New England Patriots 33 to 10. Click here for details.

NFL 08: Colts spring roll the Chargers

The Indianapolis Colts expand westward to trot around the San Diego Chargers’ stomping grounds.  The first quarter progressed all the way to the bottom with neither team scoring until the Colts hurtled up a field goal.  The second quarter popped off with a Chargers field goal, tying both teams 3 to 3.   Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer intercepted Colts quarterback Peyton Manning shortly thereafter.  Wide receiver Vincent Jackson got into the end zone towards the bottom of the second quarter.  San Diego 10 and Indianapolis 3.  Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez made a TD by the end of the second quarter.  Going into halftime, both teams tied at 10 a piece.

The third quarter started with what was most likely going to be a Chargers TD or field goal but turned into a Philip Rivers fumble and Colts recovery (sack and recovery made by defensive end Robert Mathis).  Past the midpoint of the third quarter, 54 of the Chargers, linebacker Stephen Cooper,  lost his helmet during the Colts’ third-and-goal attempt at the end zone.  On the fourth try, Manning threw to running back Dominic Rhodes, who finally got into the end zone.   Indianapolis 17 and Chargers 10.

The fourth quarter began with a Colts field goal.  Indianapolis 20 and San Diego 10.  Ambling towards the bottom of the fourth quarter, Philip Rivers’s pass bonded with the hands of running back Jacob Hester for a TD.   Colts 20 and Chargers 17.  The bottom of the fourth quarter ticked to a tie when the Chargers got a field goal.  20 to 20.  With twenty-seven seconds left to play, Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison caught Manning’s launchpad.  Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri made a fifty-one yard field goal attempt.  It worked.  Indianapolis 23 and San Diego 20.  Final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  After the Sunday Night Football opening number, the camera went in for a medium close-up of Al Michaels.  His button-down shirt was light blue and his tie looked something like this.  John Madden wore a tan suit, a silver-blue shirt and a striped tie of black (?) and silver.  Wide-esque stripes like a backslash.  //

2.  The camera cut to Peyton Manning sitting on the bench after he was intercepted in the second quarter.  He certainly huffed & puffed a “man!”

3.  What the freg?! Leading into the commercial break after the Colts field goal at the top of the fourth quarter was a snippet from HIM’s song “Killing Loneliness.”

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AFC Championship 2008: Patriots easy-bake the Chargers

The New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers congregated today at Gillette Stadium for a friendly game (broadcast on CBS) of Let’s See Who Gets to Go to the Super Bowl.

The game-play in the first quarter was mostly uneventful until the bottom of the quarter when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s pass meant for wide receiver Dante Stallworth was picked off by Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer.   That turnover would’ve resulted in a touchdown for San Diego, but wide receiver Chris Chambers caught Philip Rivers’s pass outside of out bounds in the rear of the end zone.  The Chargers ended with a field goal instead, leading 3 to 0.

The top of the second quarter brought the Patriots into the lead with a touchdown by running back Laurence Maroney.   The Chargers increased their points to six with another field goal.  New England 7 and San Diego 6.  Nearing the bottom of the second quarter, Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel  intercepted Rivers pass intended for Chambers.  Patriots wide receiver Jabar Gaffney made a TD quickly after the turnover.  New England 14 and San Diego 6. Rivers was intercepted again, this time by cornerback Ellis Hobbs, who then dropped the ball but safety James Sanders recovered it for the Patriots.  The Chargers narrowed the score gap with a field goal in the very bottom of the second quarter.  Going into halftime, New England 14 and San Diego 9.

The third quarter opened with Tom Brady getting sacked by Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo and outside linebacker Shawne Merriman.  On the next play, Brady’s throw was intercepted by San Diego cornerback Drayton Florence.   The Chargers collected another field goal.  As the bottom of the third quarter drew closer, Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie intercepted Brady’s pass-to-the-end-zone.

The fourth quarter started with a touchdown by Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker.  New England 21 and San Diego 12.  Final score.  The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. The pre-game music montage was comprised of orchestral accompaniment to some song called “Unstoppable.”  I didn’t catch by whom.

2. Jeff Triplette was the referee today.
3.  Laurence Maroney’s TD in the top of the second quarter was quite characteristic of the Patriots scoring pattern from the 2007 season.  If they don’t put on the ritz in the first quarter, they’ll do it in the second (and usually quite early).

4. Although San Diego’s points all came from field goals, their defense was able to keep New England down to fourteen points through the end of the third quarter.  The 2007 norm was that by the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Patriots would have scored at least four touchdowns.

5. Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson was in the game for only three plays.

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