Tag Archives: Eric Weddle

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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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.

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