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Heroes and Zeros - Game 9

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Nov 14, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    <img title="Brandon Manumaleuna and Mike Goff (79) celebrate the first of his two second-half touchdowns." height="225" alt="Brandon Manumaleuna and Mike Goff (79) celebrate the first of his two second-half touchdowns." src="http://photos.signonsandiego.com/gallery1.5/albums/061112bengals/KC_Chargers260207x3452.jpg" width="339" />

    By MadMike
    <em>BoltTalk Staff Writer</em>

    WOW! This column was headed straight into the round file after the first half. It was going to look like this: Heroes: Bengals Zeros: Chargers. End of story. But what a difference a half makes. It was a shootout on the highest level. It was the early 80's again for the Chargers with Dan Fouts behind center, Chuck Muncie in the backfield, Winslow at Tight End, Chandler and Joiner at wideout. The defense had a bunch of issues exasperated by injuries and bad judgment. The offense once again had trouble getting started early. The game was such a roller coaster. I started with ice water at 10am. Was drinking my fifth beer by half because I was hoping to be bleary eyed by the end. By the 4<sup>th</sup> quarter we were drinking margaritas! This was the best comeback I have ever witnessed by the Chargers. Take in mind I was at the Charger vs. Miami playoff game in 94' where they came back from a 21-6 deficit at halftime. LT and Rivers engineered a comeback that should warm your heart for years. It was an amazing experience to behold. And with that comeback, my Heroes and Zeros changed extremely from the halftime draft:



    <strong>Heroes:
    </strong>

    <strong>Philip Rivers – </strong>What can you say about this kid that hasn't been said already this week? He is having a pro-bowl season. He is playing extremely efficiently. He is making precious few mistakes. Check out the turnover ratio for the NFL. We are in second place but if you look at the numbers, no one has had fewer turnovers then the Chargers. But what really is special about Rivers is his leadership and emotion. Not many 1<sup>st</sup> year QB starters could even think of bringing a team back from down 21 on the road in hostile territory. Rivers has done it twice this year in KC and Cinci. We may not have won at KC but Rivers turned the team around and got us back into the game. When we were down 28-7 at half, Rivers was the one telling the team that they need more than 28 points to beat us. He is already starting to build his legend with this team and the league. I believe Norm Chow when he stated that whoever drafted Philip Rivers would be in the Super Bowl inside of three years. Well year 3 is here boys and Rivers is giving us a shot at the show. Keep healthy Philip, we're going to need you.
    <strong>Ladainian Tomlinson – </strong>LT is automatically added every week. It's insane that we actually expect these types of performances from him at this point. The other Charger players keep saying that they aren't even surprised by him anymore. That's when you know your good. He is rewriting the record books and doing it quietly, at least from his side. He is the throwback to the old style players. He lives for the team. He realizes his numbers are secondary to the win. I don't think I have ever seen a bigger smile on his face then when they won this weekend and I guarantee it wasn't because of his 4 touchdowns. Another 100 yard performance and 4 more TDs. But what may have been his most important contribution was at the beginning of the 3<sup>rd</sup> quarter when the Chargers had failed to get much of anything going on offense, Cam started to call pass plays to LT. He got 3 in a row at one point and all of sudden the offense was moving and it never did slow down.
    <strong>O-Line in the Second Half – </strong>The O-line like the rest of the offense too a while to get going. But by the second half they were pass blocking fantastically and the run blocking was great. They were pulling guards into the hole and hitting people on the second level. Showing how tough he is, Nick Hardwick had a nasty roll up sprained ankle that took him out of the game for all of 5 minutes. He was walking a little gingerly but he toughed it out so he could finish this game. Still not sure what happened with my boy Olivea on that unnecessary roughness call on the first play. The CBS camera people decided not to catch it happening nor did the announcers tell us what he did.
    <strong>Keenan McCardell – </strong>The vet came up big during this game making some big catches and the prettiest toe tap anyone has ever seen. He also took over for Eric Parker in the PR game as Spiderman went down with a neck injury (Anyone actually see this happen?). He had a couple of nice blocks thrown as well that helped get LT a few more yards.
    <strong>Shaun Phillips – </strong>He said himself that it took a while to get back up to game speed and he got a little frustrated but man did he deliver the play the Chargers needed at the right time. The sack, forced fumble, and recovery were textbook clean. You could just take a copy of the video of that sack and show it to young would be LBs and say this is how you sack and strip. His play was the real turning point of this game and the only blemish on Carson Palmer's record for Sunday.
    <strong>Carson</strong><strong> Palmer and </strong><strong>Chad</strong><strong> Johnson – </strong>Say what you will about Chad's antics, but he sure as heck backed up the talk this weekend. 260 yards? Are you kidding me? The fake inside post route that sold Kiel a bridge as he ended up 10 yards free of any coverage? The double move that left Cromartie dumbstruck as he sped past him for a TD? All the elevated catches over the middle? Carson Palmer looked better than he ever has in any game. He was throwing the ball with heat and on target. How do you throw for 440 yards and lose? All I can say is you got to respect what these 2 did out there on that field and you got to wonder how anyone on the defense can even look them in the eyes this week.
    <strong>AJ Smith – </strong>After this weekend, that RiversManning trade and letting go of Brees is looking like awfully good moves. Even the Giants fans are starting the talk about wanting there draft picks back. Huh and I thought the Redskins would be the Indian Givers!
    <strong>Zeros:
    </strong>

    <strong>The Secondary – </strong>They stood up and made the plays at the end of the game to win it. Jammer had a couple of good knock downs. Florence made a couple of good tackles and knocked down that final throw into the end zone. Cromartie covered Chad Johnson fairly well in the second half except for the one long ball. McCree had the major hit on TJ which was definitely not on purpose. Kiel got some decent hits in the last quarter. But honestly, besides getting the win, this group did almost everything wrong in this game. Granted the pass rush was mostly non-existent for the whole game, and for some reason we were running zone almost the whole day which wasn't working, but dang did these guys have mental breakdowns. They mis-read plays, they failed to pick up coverage, they bit on double moves, they went for interceptions and missed the ball completely and in general played the worst game I have seen by the Chargers secondary ever. We may have an explosive offense, but with our D, it should not take 49 points to win a game. This unit has some soul searching and studying to get done before we go into Denver this week.
    <strong>First Half Offense – </strong>This unit has proven it's a powerhouse. No one is scoring more points then the Chargers, but for heaven's sake, can you please put some points up in the first half? This is the third game this season that we were completely flat for "½ of a football game. We need some consistency. I know we are outscoring teams by almost 60 points in the third quarter, but it would make it much easier on our D if we were ahead early in the game. Lets come out on fire in the Denver game and the rest of the season.
    <strong>Brian Stewart – </strong>Every issue we had this weekend was due to a mental breakdown. You got some work to do with these boys Brian. Get it done.
    <strong>Injuries – </strong>Missing Merriman hurts. But couple that with Castillo being out as well is extremely tough to recover from. Add in the neck injury to Eric Parker, The ankle injuries for Hardwick and Floyd, and all the other nicks and scrapes we are starting to bleed a little. We have got to start getting healthy and keeping this together.
    <strong>7-2. Tied for first in the AFC West.</strong> This is the week folks. Denver! In Denver! Where we don't win! Flexed to Primetime! LT has never won here! LT has never rushed for 100 yards here! Rivers has never QB'd in the thin air! But guess what? None of that matters. This is a different team with a heck of a lot more heart and emotion. This team is gonna get ready, go into Invesco, and kick some Donkie ***! This is the season we are gonna get it done. This is the season that LT gets his win in Denver and his 100 yards. This is the year that Denver has to look across the line and look at Rivers and see the desire to win in his eyes. Mark my words folks, the Chargers are going to win this game. Everyone get together on Sunday and watch this one with fans and give our boys all the support you can. Let Go Bolts!
     

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