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Upon further review: Colts vs. Bolts

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    By Curtis Egan
    <em>BoltTalk Staff Writer</em>

    <img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20071112/capt.ebc16a66dde742e9869f48847cfda1f0.colts_chargers_football_cali109.jpg" alt="San Diego Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson poses after his four yard touchdown run in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts during their NFL football game Sunday Nov. 11, 2007 in San Diego." align="left" height="253" width="194" />Last night the Chargers beat the team that none of the media talking heads gave them a shot at beating. Even with the injuries, coming off of an ugly loss to Minnesota the media wrote the Chargers off at home.

    The game opened with a brilliant kick off return for a touch down by Chargers returner Darren Sproles, who ran it back 89 yards for the score. That is how the game started, with a shot heard across national television. Within 13 seconds the Chargers were up 7 to 0 on the Mighty Colts.

    The Chargers then kicked it off to the Colts who returned it 40 yards before being stopped by Chargers Line backer Carlos Polk. The Colts came out in a huddle and began moving the ball down the field, in 6 plays they were looking to tie the score, when on the seventh Colts Quarterback, Peyton Manning threw a ball that was intercepted by Chargers Antonio Cromartie in the end zone. Cromartie fresh off of an NFL record setting 109 yard touch down the week before brought it out of the end zone to the 6 yard line where he was stopped.

    The Chargers offense took over and in 3 plays was punting, Punter Mike Schifres hit a 36 yard punt that resulted in a -3 yard return by the Colts. The Chargers special teams were playing at a very high level on the evening.

    Manning leads the Colts out on the field again, and on his second play sees his second interception of the evening as Chargers Linebacker, Shaun Phillips brings down the ball and returns it 18 yards to give the offense another shot.

    The Chargers begin moving the ball, behind a 16 yard run from Running Back, LaDainian Tomlinson, but bog down near the end zone and settle for a 33 yard field goal from Kicker, Nate Kaeding. Chargers lead 10 to 0 at this point. You could hear the collective jaws of the national media talking heads hitting their desks at that point.

    The Colts again took the field but bogged down and was stopped by the Chargers defense, they were forced to punt and on the punt, Sproles again slashed the Colts special teams running the punt back 45 yards for the touch down. At this point the squeaking you heard was the national media talking head uncapping the liquor bottles to take a big swig. The Chargers then attempted a two point conversion that was stopped. At this point the Chargers lead 16 to 0 over the Colts.

    The Colts took over and began moving the ball, passing almost at will for 5 or 6 yards a pop. On the 9th play of the drive Manning was again victimized as Cromartie again picked off the pass and returned it 21 yards, ending another Colts drive.

    The Chargers came out and got a quick first down in two plays and looked to be getting something going until on the fourth play of the drive the Colts intercepted Chargers Quarterback, Philip Rivers in the end zone. It was ruled a touchback due to an early whistle by the referees. If not the Colts would have had the ball in scoring position near their end zone.

    The Chargers offense got another quick first down in two plays, then on the 4th play intercepted Rivers again. With only two seconds left in the first quarter the Colts ran once changed sides of the field. The second quarter was not much better for the as Cormartie again abused manning by jumping into the air, stretching one arm up and with one hand intercepting Manning's pass bringing it down and ending yet another drive in the most athletic and acrobatic fashion imaginable.

    The Chargers then took over and had their best offensive production of the evening. They moved the ball, holding on to it for 5 minutes and 31 seconds, driving down the field and getting a rushing touchdown from Tomlinson from 4 yards out. With the extra point, the Chargers were now up 23 to 0 over the Colts.

    The half went on and the Colts got into the end zone once. The half ended with the Chargers up 23 to 7 over the Colts. The team that should not have a chance against the defending SuperBowl Champions were ahead, looking for the improbable upset. The Colts Kicker, Adam Vinatieri missed a 42 yard field goal at the end of the half, not too surprising but Vinatieri is usually clutch with his field goals.

    The Second half opens with the Colts getting the ball and on the 9th play of the drive manning is again intercepted. This time by Chargers Matt Wilhelm who returned it 4 yards. That is 5 interceptions on the night. In the 8 games before this manning had only given up 4 interceptions. The Chargers defense had forced 5, Manning was visibly upset and frustrated on the side line.

    The Chargers too over and ran 8 plays before punting to the Colts. The Colts drove down the field and just after the switching of the field starting the 4th quarter scored a touchdown bringing the score to Chargers 23, Colts 14.

    The next driver starts on the Chargers 8 yard line. This was by far the ugliest drive of the night by the Chargers. It was raining in San Diego but that alone can't explain why the ball on the third play slipped out of Rivers' hand to bounce into the end zone and be recovered by the colts for the touch down. Score Chargers 23, Colts 21. To add insult to injury a sack was accessed against Rivers on the play.

    The game then became a struggle between the Colts offense and Chargers defense as they battled back and forth to see which one would break first.

    In the final seconds of the game it appeared as if the Colts would win, as they lined up to kick the winning field goal with clutch kicker Vinatieri. The Field goal missed. The game was not over. However the Chargers offense was unable to get a first down to grind the clock and was forced to punt to manning giving him yet another chance.

    That chance ended when his pass sailed long and into the hands of Safety Clinton hart to end the game. The chargers survived a game that many said they had no business to win. But win they did.

    The Chargers win 23 to 21.

    <strong><em>Notes and Thoughts:</em></strong>

    The Chargers offensively did not look good during the game. That is a given, however it is a team sport and as a team, collectively they played a decent game against one of the best teams in the league. Forcing Peyton manning to throw 6 interceptions should not be ignored. The Chargers did what they could and took advantage of many of the opportunities afforded them.

    <strong>Special teams</strong> are truly special this season. Coach Steve Crosby has taken fire from Charger fans for some time, but this season his unit has been the most consistent unit the Chargers have fielded. They are excellent in coverage, and returns. They were ready for the missed field goal in Minnesota which led to the record breaking return. They are doing what is needed to keep the Chargers in the games, and help them win.

    <strong>Defensive pass rush</strong>. I am not happy at all with the defensive pass rush. It appears to me that Defensive Coordinator Ted Cottrell's scheme is for them to clog the line of scrimmage and take away the running lanes. That is great against the run, but does not do much against the pass. He needs to get more aggressive and blitz a bit more often, the passers are getting a lot of yards against the Chargers and Cottrell needs to address that issue if the Chargers are going to make the post season.

    The offense has problems. There is little constancy on that side of the ball. The players all seem hesitant and unconfident in their unit. Something has got to change. As a team the Chargers won, but the offense did not help. Not being able to get a first down to run out the clock at the end of the game is hard for me to swallow.

    In my opinion, Head Coach, Norv Turner and Offensive Coordinator, Clarence Shelmon need to get their heads together, along with the start offensive players and figure out what works, what doesn't and get on the same page. They have to make things easier on the rest of the team. Last season the offense carried the team at times. This season the team is carrying the offense.

    A win is a win, but there are things that need to be worked on before taking on a very dangerous Jacksonville team. So enjoy the win San Diego, you earned it but do not think that you will win all games you play in that fashion.

    <strong>Antonio Cromartie:</strong> The man has earned a ProBowl birth with last nights game. His athletic plays and highlight reel performances of the last three weeks has opened eyes. AJ Smith found a true player, a proverbial diamond in the rough with this one. He has superstar written all over him!

    <strong>Darren Sproles:</strong> There were fans in San Diego who said that Sproles was a waste of a roster spot when he was not cut following training camp. Yet even in the face of criticism he has proven to be a reliable return man, and a game breaker. His tow touchdowns in this game showed his speed and abilities. I expect more of the same from him in the future.

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