That sucked.  I know the Chargers were already clinched for the playoffs, but they knew there was a pretty good chance that the Chiefs would lose in Seattle.  Rivers was already referencing it from the podium at Arrowhead.  But that game was way too reminiscent of our last home playoff game against the Jets.  Their defense made things tight and uncomfortable for the offense we couldn’t get going.  The interception to Williams was definitely the result of an underthrow.  That could have been a big gain as he had his man beat.  Unfortunately, this was the second straight week Phil started a game this way.

This is what playoff football is about.  Every possession is more intense and the stakes are higher.  Two picks (yes the second was during garbage time) will send you home in the postseason.  How am I so sure of this?  We’ve been sent home from the postseason each and every time with Fouts, Humphries, Brees, and Rivers.

I am not disparaging Rivers in any way.  He had no time to throw on Saturday.

Unfortunately, this was also the second week in a row that he was completely ambushed by the other team’s pass rush.  It makes the comeback without Gordon, Allen, and Ekler the previous week even more remarkable in retrospect.  I don’t know what the deal with Forrest Lamp is.  Dan Feeney was also a really highly rated draft pick and he seems to get worse each week.  I can’t even blame Joe Barksdale these days.  At least Rivers hasn’t turned the ball over when he’s been destroyed on these plays although maybe it’s just because he doesn’t have time to do anything, including make a mistake.

There was no question that Melvin Gordon was rusty and I was happy to see Lynn to back to Jackson for a bit.  Lynn seemed to have some influence over Rivers after the calls starting going against us in the first half.  My feeling is that calls always end up evening out.  Look at the previous week.  We didn’t lose because of the refs.  What sucked so much about Gates’ fumble is that it was preceded by two missed FGs by the best kicker in the NFL, a fourth down stop, a miracle punt by Donnie Jones, a three and out defense stand, and King’s return.

My point is that should we play this team again on the road, it’s not as if we can guarantee that the outcome will be different.  That touchdown after we took the lead was SO CHARGERS.  It reminded me of Cromartie being caught looking in the 08 playoff game vs the Colts in SD and the long drive the Chiefs had after Gates scored the go-ahead score last December.  We had the momentum and gave it right up.  Was it all Addae?  I don’t know but we know he’s more than a liability back there.

It sucked to see Weddle get the NFL Network sit-down treatment like Phil did a week ago but to the victors, go the spoils.  Plus, the game really had nothing to do with him.  The reality is what it’s been all season long.  Are these the “same old Chargers?”  Lynn said otherwise in his postgame speech at Arrowhead.  I was bitching all year long that they hadn’t beaten anyone good.  It was impressive when they won all those games up until Denver.  Then they beat the two teams NO ONE thought they would even with all their players healthy.  So what does Saturday Night mean?

I guess we’ll find out over the next month.  I certainly would like to see the Raiders surprise KC.  I don’t bother rooting for other teams only because I foolishly believe that I have some finite amount of karma to spread around.  I think we all know that’s bullshit, FAITHFUL READER.  But I will take the pins out of my Raider voodoo doll for the day.  At least they will be coming off a win and I saw Gruden hyped up his group by saying KC is the the team they hate most.  I was a little offended it wasn’t the Chargers, but we’ll take it.  These division games where one team plays spoiler can somehow work out for the underdog.

But of course that means nothing if the Chargers lose.  The most “Same Old Bolts” outcome would be a KC loss and a loss at Denver.  But I guess that would probably answer the looming question of what kind of team this is.  Or would it?  Teams have come into the playoffs with no momentum and made a run.  The Jet team that beat us in ’04 was as lacking in momentum as you could imagine.  The Saints of ’09, that I still remember hearing someone say on Sirius that we could beat with our then 13-game winning streak, slumped going into the postseason.  Of course, they had homefield and a bounty on QBs.

They deserved their ring, though.  The onsides kick after the Who halftime show was ballsy and they came back from 10-0 to win.  I’m just bummed that we’ve never gotten our one.  So I’ll be watching the game against Denver hoping for what we’re all hoping for.  Maybe we’re the #5 seed and maybe not.  I don’t think I could handle a playoff game in person unless there was a berth in the Super Bowl at stake.  Even then, I doubt it.  I’m trying to do a better job of dealing with the ups and downs of a given game or season, but my days of holding in down in the stands come January might be behind me.  Anyway, let’s see where we’re at tomorrow night.

Until then, I hope everyone has a happy and safe new year.  To try to exorcise the demons of last week for good, here’s a great show from the Baltimore Civic Center in 1982.  I’ve always loved that version of “Feel Like A Stranger,” which has a sinister part that sounds more than a little “Shakedowny.”

See you in 2019.



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