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Heroes and Zeros - Game 4

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 10, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    <img width="305" height="208" title="SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 08: Cornerback Antonio Cromartie #25 of the San Diego Chargers prepares to enter the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 1st half of their NFL game on October 8, 2006 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)" alt="SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 08: Cornerback Antonio Cromartie #25 of the San Diego Chargers prepares to enter the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 1st half of their NFL game on October 8, 2006 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)" src="http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/sp/getty/49/full.getty-71465328dm003_pittsburgh_st_9_55_52_pm.jpg" />

    By MadMike
    <em>Bolt Talk Staff Writer</em>

    Well I guess Marty got the message. San Diego does not want to see Martyball. They want to see their QB win it or lose it. And on Sunday he definitely won it. After a tough first 25 minutes the Chargers started to move the ball against the solid "Blitz"Burgh defense and they never stopped. 5 straight scoring drives and the Chargers sent the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers to their 3<sup>rd</sup> straight loss and a large hole in the AFC North. The Chargers rebounded well from an emotional loss in Baltimore to prove this is not the Chargers of the last few years. This team is in it for the long haul and they mean to be playing in February. Now lets get to the players of note:



    <strong>Heroes: </strong>

    <strong>Philip "Vick Jr." Rivers</strong> – Got to let him have the nickname after that clutch 15 yard scramble where he looked more like Haloti Ngata then Mike Vick. Rivers had a rough opening quarter. He was sacked a couple of times. He threw a pick (although hard to call it a pick when Spiderman Parker actually caught the ball and the corner ripped it out of his hands from behind) He got flushed from the pocket. He got knocked down. But the kid brushed off his pants, got back up, and came back for more. With the defense keying off LT, and LT being in the backfield blocking so much, Rivers ended up having 8 and 9 guys coming at him for most of the first half. And then the O-line started making their pass blocks with the help of LT and Gates and the game opened up for "Old Man" Rivers. He started to make some great throws, none more clutch then the sideline throw to Malcolm Floyd who made a brilliant catch for a TD. After halftime, Rivers made sure that everyone in that stadium, and the millions nationwide, that there was a reason he was drafted before BigBen. He is a Big Time QB. With some beautiful, accurate throws he started to soften up the Steelers D, and the running game came out of its shell and started to make its presence felt. Rivers passing, running, and leadership won this game. Rivers time has come. He is the man in San Diego now. The "MartySchackles" are off. The playbook is wide open. And the NFL better look out because the Chargers are coming at you with a balanced attack.

    <strong>Jamal "J-Ball" Williams</strong> – A man among men his teammates say. A brick wall his opponents say. A pro-bowler the NFL says. I just going to call him a Nose Tackle. Scratch that. I am going to call him "The" Nose Tackle. Or Mr. Williams in person. Jamal just had his way with two Pro-Bowl lineman. He manhandled them all game. He crushed any back coming up the middle. The only success Willie Parker had all day was outside and one cutback. Anytime they took it up the gut, big J-Ball was there to make sure the back went down. There is no better run stopping lineman in the NFL today. While Rivers may have put this team on his shoulders and won this game, Jamal took the defense on his shoulders and made sure they beat Pittsburgh at their own game: Run Stop and Blitz. And the sack was pretty too.

    <strong>Eric "Spiderman" Parker</strong> – All of a sudden you guys aren't laughing at me starting this guy on my Fantasy team. Eric is the king of the tough catch on this team. He will go into traffic and come out with the ball more often than not. The interception early was on him and he told that to Rivers. Eric told him he wouldn't let him down again, and Philip said I know you wont and that's why I'm going to continue to throw to you. And he did to the total of 5 catches and 86 yards. Eric was making plays the rest of the game. He was in double coverage and still managed to be at the right place to make the catch. He took hits and kept getting more yardage after the hit. He protected the ball in punt returns. You could see the relationship build exponentially between Philip and Eric out there on the field. They both rose to the occasion after the pick and built trust that just doesn't come from the practice field. This is the kind of trust Brady had with Branch and Givens. Its what made those good WR's great. Warning to all other NFL teams: Eric Parker is a damn fine receiver with the guts to get the tough ball and he will hurt you.

    <strong>The Secondary</strong> – The acquisition of Marlon McRee in the off season is looking huge now isn't it? Not that he is responsible for the whole change but this guy is the catalyst. He has brought this group together like Merriman and Castillo have with the front seven. They watch film together, they offer advice, and they back each other up. The fact that our corners know they are going to have help over the top has made them play with so much more fire. After 2 corner picks all last year,we have 3 after just 4 games. McRee got another pick just showing that those ball hawking skills AJ talked about were fact. Marlon "The President" McRee is making our corners better. They are playing rougher and tougher and learning better than they ever have. Florence has been commended by the coaching staff on his turn-around in the educational parts of this game. And it shows as he made a nice pick on the overthrow by Big Ben. How much could you have made betting the Chargers would be the #1 Pass Defense after week 5?

    <strong>The Storm Front</strong> – I could pick these guys out one at a time, but why? Luis Castillo had a monster game. 1 "½ sacks, a couple of hurries, a couple of tackles, and a general pain in the *** to Pittsburgh. Guess they may agree with Vermeil when he states that he is the best D-Lineman to come in since 1997. I already spoke of the job Jamal did. Igor held his side well and kept the running game to much of nothing after a couple of big runs early. The linebackers kept the pressure on Roethlisberger all day. Merriman got a "½ sack and what should have been a forced fumble (Called back for an "In the grasp call" that they never called when we had him stopped and he flopped the ball away on a pass). Shaun Phillips showed why he is the best pass rusher we have with his agility and moves to the QB. And Randall and Donnie held up the middle well after a few catches got by to Heath Miller. We all new they would be tough against the run. #2 in the league by a yard or 2 is great. But the help they have given the secondary allowing them to get to #1 is even better. This defense is scary.

    <strong>Antonio Gates</strong> – 3 for 55 and a TD is actually just a day at the office for Gates. But the catches he made in this game all had meaning. The first one was for 21 yards, he got popped, held on, and was the first sign of real life for the Chargers passing game. The second one was for a TD, when he took a hit from the corner, twisted, and stretched for the goal line to get 6. The last one was on a 2nd and 13 where he got 12 and gave Turner an easy 3rd and 1 for the first while we were slamming the door shut on Pittsburgh. He made big plays when we needed them and blocked better than I have ever seen from him to keep Philip off the ground.

    <strong>Michael "The Burner" Turner</strong> – 11 for 56 on the ground. 2 for 66 on kick returns. A fine day for a backup RB. But a couple of those runs were huge. The 3<sup>rd</sup> and 1 in the closing minutes that he bulled through for the first on. The 23 yarder up the middle that he ran people over on was a huge shot to the running game. And probably the most important run was the 41 yarder right after half time on a kickoff that gave SD the ball in Steelers territory to start with. He is becoming more valuable every week.

    <strong>Ladainian Tomlinson</strong> – 13 for 36 on the ground and 8 for 34 in the air. Doesn't sound like a good day for LT. He had a hard time getting anywhere on the ground because the run blocking was sub par through the first half and Pittsburgh was keying off LT. The Steelers even said after the game that they were out to stop LT and make Rivers beat them. Well the Gameplan worked. They effectively stopped LT and Rivers beat them. LT was the outlet for many of the hurries Rivers was forced into and LT paid for a few of those dump offs. But he kept coming at them and had what may have been his finest blocking day keeping the LB's and Polamalu off of Philip. There were a couple of blocks that were so perfect it was beautiful to watch Polamalu get beat down by LT.

    <strong>The Coaches</strong> – Un-Shackling Rivers helped win this game. The adjustments made at half time helped win this game. Marty saying he would rather all the heat be on him then his team wins games. Any Coach, Manager, or general Big-Wig that stands in front and protects his players, employees, and underlings deserves kudos. That helps breed trust.

    <strong>Zeros: </strong>

    <strong>Missed Opportunities</strong> – Last couple of weeks we complained a little about Rivers missing a few long passes to wide open receivers. This week it was the opposite. The Receivers dropped a couple of perfectly thrown deep balls that could have gone for 6 or at least got some points on the board. If we want to win it all, we have to start making those catches.

    <strong>Steeler Fans</strong> – Now I may be biased as my seats are on the Visitors side of the field but there were too damn many Steeler fans there. My estimate was about 30% of the fans were Steelers. In my section it was closer to 50/50. I understand that this one game could be sold to pay for next years tickets but that's why you have to come. I'd give up 10 games of blandness for 1 of these Sunday Night Football slugfests. Watching those large groups of Steelers fans in their hard hats and Black and Gold Boba Fett helmets walk out in the middle of the 4<sup>th</sup> with the heads down and voices silenced was food for my soul. This is what football fans live for. I lost a year of my life from the heartbreaking loss last week, but gained 5 years back with this win. Support your team. If you want an investment by land, not season tickets.

    <strong>Markus Curry</strong> – Domestic Abuse. Yah, like this team needs another Police infraction. Glad they cut him, although it proves that players who can play well (Kiel) can still get away with more things than those who can't.

    <strong>The Long Play Reviews by the Ref's</strong> – I don't know if it was technical difficulties or what, but I thought the max you could look at a play was 2 minutes, but both reviewed calls took well over 5 minutes. It is a drive killer. Ref's shouldn't be able to alter the pace of a game. If the tech doesn't work, go with the call on the field. Just like if the QB helmet speaker stops working, they revert to hand signals or running players in.

    3-1. Tied for the lead of the AFC West. The Donkeys manage to pull one off against Baltimore (thanks to the Chargers hurting McNair last week). Anyone else think that Denver has the most unfair Home field advantage in professional sports? They get to practice in that thin air all year, play 8 games a year there, and then go to play at field that have higher oxygen counts. What are they going to say, I'm getting too much air? While every other team practices closer to sea level and goes into Denver and starts huffing in the 4<sup>th</sup> quarter. Anyone else think that Baltimore just ran out of air last night? Oh well, just means we need to beat Denver twice this season and show them who owns the AFC West this year. Next up is a game our team needs to be ready for. No letdowns. Don't play to their level. Just beat the crap out of San Fran and move onto the next team in between us and our Superbowl. I'll be in San Fran with 60+ Bolttalkers taking the fight to the enemy this weekend. Going to make the 49er fans think it's a home game for SD. <strong>Let's Go Bolts!</strong>
     

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