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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