San Diego vs New England

Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2008 by Travis Cody in


Those are my thoughts as we begin just a little over three hours of an AFC Championship game about which I care nothing.


It's a good thing we have CAKE. Want some?

I'm already irritated.

Usually, as a football fan, I can enjoy just about any football game. But I just can't get past my dislike of these two teams.

Evidently it's cold and there is wind today. The wind could be a factor in the kicking game.

San Diego QB Philip Rivers does start the game on his bum knee. RB LaDainian Tomlinson also starts with two runs on the first two plays. The Chargers come up short on 3rd down and are forced to punt. That was a very conservative first series.

New England runs into the kicker on the punt, but it's only a 5 yard penalty which isn't enough for a first down. Since the wind really knocked down that first kick, the Chargers decide to punt the ball again and this time they get a better result.

The Patriots also go 3 and out in the first series, and I have made it to the first commercial break without turning off the sound.

Tomlinson is held out of the second SD possession. They get a quick first down and then move the ball across midfield with a run and another pass. But the drive stalls and the Chargers punt again.

If the pattern of the season holds, NE should march down the field and score on this drive.

SD got a break on an illegal contact penalty. Why is that a break for the Chargers? Because it was only a 5 yard penalty instead of a spot foul for pass interference. It's an automatic first down, but at least they don't give up more yardage on the play.

Well, the Patriots are unable to take advantage and have to punt.

I expected not to enjoy the game, but that doesn't mean I want to be bored either.

So far the SD offensive line is playing well and giving Rivers plenty of time to set up in the pocket. But that time the blitz gets to him and sacks him on third down, forcing another punt. Rivers isn't going to be able to move on those gimpy legs. The defensive rush is going to know right where to find him all day.

San Diego creates the first break with defense as Quentin Jammer picks off Tom Brady. NE compounds the error with a major facemask penalty on the first play from scrimmage and the Chargers are threatening in the red zone.

New England holds and San Diego gets the field goal to take the lead at 3-0.

I was a series late in suggesting that NE was ready to drive down the field. Although Brady has thrown a couple of high passes, it looks like the offense is settling in now.

Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr Pepper???? Ewwww. Diet Dr Pepper is already billed as a rich, decadent taste...why does it need cherries and chocolate added to it??

The Patriots convert on a couple of 3rd downs and then punch it into the endzone with a short run and it's 7-3.

Despite his own admission that he was 90% healthy for the game today, Tomlinson remains on the sideline wearing a parka. This is not improving my opinion of Tomlinson that he is not a tough football player.

Rivers, on the other hand, is gimping around on the field and has the Chargers inside the red zone. Once again, the Patriots hold on 3rd down and force the field goal and it's 7-6.

Let me just state the obvious for those of you who aren't paying attention. One cannot hope to beat the Patriots by settling for field goals. There are some teams that can be beaten without scoring touchdowns. New England is not one of these.

I can't tell if there's a bit of snow falling, or whether it's just little flakes being blown up from snow drifts. Every so often you can see a bit floating across the screen.

The SD defense is playing well, forcing another punt that NE downs inside the 5 yard line. But now the Patriots get pressure on Rivers and force him to throw an interception. It only takes a couple of plays for NE to get the TD and go up 14-6.

Rivers just threw another pick, giving NE the ball back with a little more than 2 minutes and 3 times out. Not a good idea.

But Wes Welker drops a sure first down pass and San Diego survives the turnover.

Darren Sprolls, the bane of the Colts last week, just broke off a big run to put the Chargers in position to take a few chances in the last minute of the half. They can't get the ball in the endzone, but SD does get another field goal to cut the halftime lead to 14-9.

San Diego starts the second half well defensively with Brady throwing a pass that was tipped and picked it off at midfield. The Chargers drive back into the red zone again. But NE holds and SD settles for yet another field goal to cut the lead to 14-12.

This is the problem with only getting field goals. SD has scored 4 times to twice for NE, but the Patriots have the lead because they get touchdowns.

The SD defense comes up big again on 3rd and goal from the 2 yard line. They intercept a Brady pass in the endzone. Antonio Cromartie should have taken a knee in the endzone though to bring the ball out to the 20. Instead he tried to run the ball out and was tackled inside the 5.

Still, it does keep the Chargers in the game even though the offense is unable to move the ball and punts it right back to NE.

NE RB Laurence Maroney has taken charge of this drive with some punishing runs and the Patriots are back inside the 10 yard line. This time they get the TD go go up 21-12.

The Chargers need to get points on this next possession. The defense has played well, but fatigue could become a factor is the offense is unable to sustain some kind of drive right here.

They do get a drive going, but the Chargers are unable to get any points and end up punting with about 9 minutes to play and still down 2 scores.

New England has taken control of the game behind the offensive line and the solid running of Maroney.

San Diego played well, but ultimately the Chargers were just another bump.

New England wins and that makes me 5-4 with my playoff picks.


  1. Jeff B says:

    My question as I'm sure many in San Deigo will ask as well is, "Was keeping Rivers in the game during the second half the best option?" Yes he's tough as heck and he wants to lead the team, but he had almost zero mobility and it was obvious on a few of his pass attempts that he couldn't plant and push off his bum leg.

    The only thing that surprised me in this game was tht New England's offence didn't look as sharp as it had in other weeks. In the end tough it didn't matter.

  1. Bond says:

    As Jeff has stated and as many of the in-studio crew stated, why was Rivers still in the game in the second half?

    Think that was a poor coaching decision...sure Volek has not had much playing time, but he certainly maintained last week and Rivers was no help out there...

    OK, BIG BLUE up 3-0 and just shut the Pack down on their next possession...a TD here for the Jints would make me happy happy happy

  1. Yes, I WILL have some cake thankyouverymuch!!!! :)

  1. the teach says:

    I'm glad the Patriots won...but that'll make it harder for the Giants on Superbowl Sunday!

  1. Travis says:

    Jeff: I suspect there will be quite a bit of second guessing. I still think NE can be had.

    V: Volek is a seasoned pro and he would have been prepared to play. He may have given them a better chance, because that defense was playing well enough to win.

    CWM: You are quite welcome!

    Teach: I think the Giants have the personnel. Now they just need the game plan and the execution.

  1. Yes, I'll have a piece of cake. Thank you. Yummmm....