Tag Archives: Darren Sproles

Pre-S 09: the Falcons moon-dust the Chargers

The boys of the Pacific, the San Diego Chargers, drifted eastward to Atlanta to shake the chandelier with the Falcons.  Broadcast on CBS, commentary was provided by Greg Gumbel and Dan Fouts.

The first score of the game occurred in the first half of the first quarter.  Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers chucked the ball to running back Darren Sproles.   San Diego 7 and Atlanta 0.   The Falcons answered that TD with one of their own.  With Matt Ryan quarterbacking, wide receiver Brian Finneran made a twelve-yard catch in the end zone (or rather a catch and a few steps into the end zone).   An amazing Roddy White reception preceded this TD by a couple of plays.  Atlanta 7 and San Diego 7.

The second quarter ticked halfway through and Chargers running back Michael Bennett jetted off forty-eight yards for a TD.   San Diego 14 and Atlanta 7.   Jason Elam put up a forty yard field goal for the Falcons in the bottom of the second.  San Diego 14 and Atlanta 10.  Billy Volek then stepped in as QB for the Chargers.  With under a minute left in the quarter, Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd broke the plane with his right hand (and as soon as the ball hit the turf, the ball came out of his grip).  San Diego 21 and Atlanta 10.  Jason Elam stepped onto the field with seconds left on the clock.  He sent the ball thirty-nine yards through the uprights.  San Diego 21 and Atlanta 13.

The third quarter featured Charlie Whitehurst as quarterback for the Chargers.  Chris Redman then went in as QB for the Falcons.  The fourth quarter said hello to a Falcons TD, which Redman ran in himself (twenty-two yards).  San Diego 21 and Atlanta 20.  The Chargers increased the gap with a Nate Kaeding field goal in the bottom of the quarter.  San Diego 24 and Atlanta 20.  With fewer than twenty seconds to play, Chris Redman connects with wide receiver Eric Weems for a TD.  Atlanta 27 and San Diego 24.

Observations  & Miscellania:

1.  Did Dan Fouts say of Matt Ryan, “he is smart, he is tall” in the expository broadcast pre-kickoff chat?

2.  Compared to last year, Matt Ryan has definitely grown up in the way he carries himself.  At the same time, though, a few extreme close-ups (before snaps) in the first quarter revealed such a youthful exuberance and eagerness.

3.  After returning from commercial break (that followed Michael Bennett’s TD in the second quarter), the camera was focused on the Falcons bench.  Mike Smith, filmed in high angle medium long shot, was speaking and gesturing passionately about what his players could no longer permit the other guy to do on the field.

4.  How sweet.  In the middle of the third quarter, Chargers fullback Jacob Hester was walking towards the huddle and trying to put his left shoulder pad back under his uniform.  He was having trouble doing it and his teammate wide receiver Legedu Naanee gave him a hand.  Love it.  I love moments like this one.

5.  Greg Gumbel noted in the third quarter that Charlie Whitehurst went to Chattahoochee High School.

6.  Matt Ryan spoke to the commentators via headset in the fourth quarter.  His irises were so dark and filled up so much of his eyes.  Oooo! he licked his lips right before he took off the headset!

7.  Great job Chris Redman!

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

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.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

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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AFC Divsional 2008: Chargers shoe out the Colts

RCA Dome. Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts square dance with the San Diego Chargers for a spot at the AFC Championship (game on CBS).

After a shaky first drive by the Colts, in which quarterback Peyton Manning was sacked by Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman, tight end Dallas Clark put Indianapolis on the score board with a touchdown. Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson tied the game with a touchdown near the midpoint of the second quarter. Indianapolis then gained a small lead with a field goal. Going into halftime, Colts 10 and Chargers 7.

The third quarter started with a touchdown by Chargers wide receiver Chris Chambers (quarterback Philip Rivers threw a thirty-yard pass that sailed right into the welcoming bosom of Chambers). San Diego 14 and Indianapolis 10. In the bottom of the third quarter, Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne brought his team back on top with a TD (it wasn’t ruled a TD until head coach Tony Dungy challenged the out-of-bounds call). A burst of energy by Chargers running back Darren Sproles in the final seconds of the third quarter gave them the lead with 21 to 17 points.

Billy Volek stepped in for Philip Rivers on quarterbacking duties in the fourth quarter. Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez ran for fifty-five yards for a touchdown in the top of the quarter. Norv Turner threw down the red flag, believing that Gonzalez stepped out of bounds, but the TD call stood after a booth review. Many slow-motion instant replays revealed that Gonzalez’s left foot was very much in bounds. Indianapolis reclaimed the lead, 24 to 21. The Chargers grabbed the top bunk again with a TD by Volek with fewer than five minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Final score: Chargers 28 and Colts 24.

San Diego is going to the AFC Championship game. I’m not a self-identified Colts fan, so why do I feel so sad and slightly ill?

Observations & Miscellania:

1. One of the commercials aired during the top of the first quarter was a new marketing campaign by Oreo cookie. DSRL–starring Peyton Manning and his little bro Eli. Double-stuffed Racing League. Qu’est-ce que c’est? The commercial made me think of that game CrossFire. Do you guys remember CrossFire? I do. I loved it.

2. One of the commentators from last night’s game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New England Patriots said that the first quarter went by very quickly. The first quarter from this Colts-Chargers game went by pretty fast too. Greg Gumbel pointed it out and Dan Dierdorf responded with, “that’s what happens when the ball doesn’t touch the ground.” And of course, after this remark was uttered, as the first quarter was reaching its last minute on the game clock, Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison lost hold on the ball when Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie slammed into his lower body. The ball rolled out and Chargers safety Marion McCree recovered it.

5. Bob Sanders and Dallas Clark of the Colts and kicker Nate Kaeding of the Chargers were teammates at Iowa Kaeding missed the field goal at the bottom of the second quarter and Sanders skipped over to him and patted him on the shoulders and back of the helmet. Sanders was charged with a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct (for taunting). I never noticed it before, but Sanders is a cutie. He’s also approximately a month younger than I am.

6. Antonio Cromartie intercepted a Manning pass in the final minute or so of the second quarter. He ran eighty-nine yards for a touchdown, which was discounted due to a holding penalty on Chargers strong safety Eric Weddle. Norv Turner, San Diego head coach, was fuming.

7. Bob Sanders went down on the turf (on the play after Manning was intercepted a second time near the half of the third quarter; this time by Eric Weddle). Chargers running back Michael Turner went right into Sanders’ torso and then upper right shoulder. The slow-motion instant replays suggested an injury to the right arm/shoulder area.

8. Shots of the spectators revealed an ocean of Colts fans wearing not just blue and white but also Colts jerseys.

9. With fewer than twenty seconds on the clock in the third quarter, the camera cut to a close-up of Tony Dungy. There was a really skinny teenaged kid standing on the sideline wearing a Braves cap.

10. Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson didn’t play most of the game due to a bruised knee he sustained in early in the second quarter.

11. When San Diego punted to Indianapolis in the fourth quarter, rather than film from the high angle, long shot press box perspective–the default–the camera ended up following the Colts end-zone-to-end-zone. The camera settled behind the Colts zone and waited for the players to run towards it.

12. Under four minutes left in the fourth quarter. Colts possession. I think it was Dan Dierdorf who remarked, “Norv Turner looking to his defense. I think he’s looking for some Maalox.” That comment made me smile.

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Bob Sanders pic cred: Colts.com