Yeah, I threw another Pearl Jam reference in there. Don’t worry, my musical tastes haven’t changed that much. Here’s a download link to the last archival release from the Justice Is Coming House Band. It’s the infamous “Close Encounters” show from 1/22/78. But it’s hard not to keep bringing up the past with this team. They got by Cleveland and stand once again a win away from really fucking some shit up, but a loss from it all being over. I’ve actually attended 3 Chargers/Redskins games on the road. The first was in 1998, at the tail end of Ryan Leaf’s rookie year. That’s where the grainy pic above is from. What nobody remembers about that season, besides the fact that we never had a chance to draft Peyton Manning (only Andre Wadsworth), is how strong Leaf looked at the start. I went to the season opener against the Bills and was impressed enough to buy his jersey shortly thereafter via mailorder. The second week, they played the “Tennessee Oilers” and went 2-0. Then Arrowhead came and Leaf imploded on Jay Posner and it was all over.
The next game I was at was the 2005 game that LT won in OT. Brees had some costly throws in that game, the kind that kept us from signing him long term. We benefited from a missed field goal as I recall. Seeing the clip of Tomlinson’s run this week, I couldn’t believe how much he slowed up after seeing paydirt. If they had the giant screens back then I wonder if he’d have seen the defender gaining a bit.
Then there’s the Washington debacle of 2013. It still hurts to see this picture, especially Dunlap thinking it was a TD. When I went to the hotel and met my childhood hero, #14, some woman was angrily asking the concierge where Dunlap was. I can only imagine the reason. But Wisenhunt recently mentioned this game only to allude to Woodhead not hitting the pylon. But not using Mathews beyond first down still haunts me, especially since I’m not sure Wiz wouldn’t do it again.
The passing to set up the run seemed to work again last week. The inability to not score touchdowns in the red zone is concerning, especially against Cleveland. But at least Phil didn’t force it for a pick. I went across the street to the supermarket at halftime to buy a cake for Sammy’s birthday. However, I ended up being there when the Bolts received the kickoff. The Sirius in my car is ahead of what’s on the iPhone app and all behind the commentary on Twitter. So I saw people commenting on Pulley’s blown assignment on Gordon’s carry. I still can’t figure out if Gordon is the problem or the way we use him. However, Keenan Allen made it moot on that drive.
It’s still concerning that we have the worst rush defense and worst late-game defense in the NFL. Of course, we still haven’t scored on our opening drive, partially thanks to four missed field goals in those spots. I have no idea if Koons is a problem or not. But he’ll have a chance to win or lose one the rest of the way. The Chargers tend to play up or down to the competition, so I am not so worried about them not blowing the Browns out. Once they gave up a touchdown in the second quarter, they calmly responded and took back the lead. That’s not something they have always done. Lynn is getting a lot of credit, especially from Rivers, for keeping the ship steady at 0-4. I blame the run-run-pass offense more than Koo for the first two. The fact that they couldn’t shut down Cutler in his first game back is pretty pathetic right now. Ingram opened his mouth that week, but has backed it up the rest of the season. That’s another thing that is different than years past.
I didn’t see the blown fumble call since I was still at the supermarket, but the refs on Sunday were pretty bad. Rivers was getting knocked around all over the place and Cleveland never got called. Bosa got flagged for using his forearm to the neck, I guess, but that seemed pretty suspect in comparison.
Liuget’s absence might have contributed to some of the problems stopping the run, although it’s been a problem all year. On the positive side, they won without playing their best game. I only care about them letting Cleveland hang around as it relates to the last four games. Bosa’s play was huge, especially since he was wearing the gold cleats for Pediatric Cancer awareness. If you read his first-person account of why, he did say he especially hoped for a sack. However, this was an even more meaningful play. Of course, the Chargers almost fumbled the fumble out of bounds. Falling on the ball really isn’t in style any more, I suppose.
I hate all the hype surrounding the Chargers right now, especially with the Chiefs slide. I still think the Chargers are one game from being done. However, as is always the case with this team, it’s all about whether they see it that way. No matter how many Skins fans are at the stadium, I like our chances better than being in DC this week. I don’t think Rivers is looking past Washington and to KC at all. He knows how badly they need this one. If they can put DC away, then everyone can talk about how we haven’t beaten them since that miracle in ’13.
To quote the same Pearl Jam song again,
Future’s above…but in the past he’s slow and sinking…
Caught a bolt ‘a lightnin’…cursed the day he let it go
I don’t know what it means either.
Talk to you next week,