Tag Archives: LaDainian Tomlinson

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.

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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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

AFC Wildcard Game 2008: Chargers mortalize the Titans

“Mortalize” isn’t a real word.  N’importe.

Qualcomm Stadium in California. The Tennessee Titans trekked southwestward across the country to challenge the San Diego Chargers for a shot at the AFC divisional championship game, and then hopefully the Super Bowl.

The first quarter started with grey skies, precipitation, and a Titans field goal.   The second quarter ended with another Titans field goal.  Going into halftime, Tennessee 6 and San Diego 0.   The third quarter gave the Chargers a modicum amount of hope with a field goal.  Well Hallelujah.  San Diego wide receiver Vincent Jackson made a touchdown in the bottom of the third quarter.  Chargers 10 and Titans 6.  The fourth quarter picked up again in the precipitation.  Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson nearly made a touchdown just before the halfway point in the fourth quarter.    The ball was called dead at the one yard-line; San Diego challenged but the ruling stood (no more time-outs for them).  Tomlinson made another effort, leaped up and over the Titans defensive players and broke the plane with his outstretched hands.  Chargers up to 17.   Tennessee challenged but the ruling stood (they still had one more at that point).  After 3.65 quarters of underwhelming game-play (excepting interceptions), the game ended 17 to 6 in favor of San Diego.  The Chargers are going to the AFC divisional game.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Because this game was on CBS, the blue line of scrimmage graphic was on the field.  After watching a number of football games on Fox, NBC, and CBS within the the last week, I think I’d be content either way if the blue line of scrimmage was nixed next season.

2. “Jackson has San Diego down to the twenty-six yard line–its deepest penetration,” one of the commentators remarked.  Again, easily misinterpreted.

3. Before Vincent Jackson made the TD in the bottom of the third quarter, Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was flagged for unnecessary roughness. He crept beyond the line of scrimmage and pushed Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to the ground.  I caught it in a slow-motion instant replay from behind the Titans line; it reminded me of something one would see in sixth-grade gym class.

4. Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo did this reverse kick-ball-change step after he  sacked Titans quarterback Vince Young.

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