On to Foxboro. Sunday wasn’t perfect, but it sure was fun. Anthony Lynn suggested that this would be a game that the Chargers needed to go up a few scores, a la Seattle. They did and just like that Seattle game, they made it a little too close for any Bolthead who’s been paying attention for the last 20 years. But they got it done and I honestly wasn’t THAT concerned they’d blow it.
Think about that. If you had told any FAITHFUL READER of this site that the Chargers would have a field goal blocked, a punt blocked and a fumble by fucking Virgil Green who on our own side of the field and that we’d still win, they’d sign up in an instant. Ever since Tony Martin in 1996, I always worry that extra yardage will result in a fumble. You’d think the Gates play against this very team would stand out. But even letting Jackson get free and get a first down and allowing Michael Crabtree in the end zone, this team seemed to be in control.
I assume the guy next to Bosa is Melvin Gordon? I love that Phil is in the bolo with the cowbell. I give Rivers a lot of credit for not forcing things last week. There was a lot made of Gus Bradley’s plans for facing Jackson a second time around. Lynn asked if he was insane when he suggested all those DBs apparently. But with Brown going out after Perryman went out had to have some impact I assume. No one really talked about the offensive game plan from Sunday. I know the goal was to go up a few scores but obviously the plan wasn’t to settle for field goals. Yet the team had to assume that Jackson and the Ravens weren’t built to play from behind. So Rivers took what was there and Badgley made his kicks. The lead was built that way. There was one deflected pass that could have been an interception, but Rivers didn’t force things. That couldn’t have been easy, but it worked. The pass to Williams was the only time he really let it rip.
I like that the Chargers added Nick Rose for kickoffs. Badgley has been great, but you can’t let New England get an edge with field position. Last year, Lynn tried a long field goal on the first drive, watched Benjamin take that fucking safety, and saw Wiz call that stupid rub route to Tyrell Williams on third down when the Bolts last visited the Patriots. Even though I saw first hand that awful field goal attempt against the Jets last year, I think Rose can reach the end zone. Indy still has a guy to kickoff for Vinatieri.
Melvin Gordon coming back was also huge. The Derek Watt play was one percent a touchdown. The fact that replay didn’t give it to us was criminal. But kudos to Lynn for having the balls to put Gordon in on 4th. It seems like he’s doing ok despite the “knee sprain” reported. I feel good with Ekler and Jackson playing some still. The run that would have iced it was of course called back on the Okung hold. That call looked like it could go either way although Okung claims Godell just doesn’t want the “LA Chargers” to advance. I laughed and sent a pic of Charles Haley yukking it up with the commish in Dallas last weekend. Stories that the NFL would move the AFC Championship game to the Coliseum if the Colts and Chargers won make me think that maybe Wakanda Tech’s finest is on to something. But that’s getting way ahead of ourselves.
Melvin Ingram played out of his mind on Sunday and really can’t get enough credit. I suggested, like many, that he was too much about himself in the past. I was wrong and he put the defense on his back when we needed it most. Obviously, he’ll need to step up even more on Sunday.
This is Jose Torres, by the way. I met Jose on the ticket line in Buffalo and he had to sit through all my angst over how at 0-1 we were in trouble without Bosa and Henry, blah blah. He’s one of the next generation of fans that I know will hold it down in opposing stadiums. Of course I’m tempted to go. But I really believe this team will win at all or simply fall short. There’s no in between for me as a fan. Watching from home proves at least that I understand that I can’t effect this team to do anything.
But I actually have a lot more confidence than usual. So much has been written this week about the Chargers failures in the playoffs, specifically to the Patriots. I don’t need to rehash for you 1/14/07. I still maintain that the 14-2 wasn’t as good as their record and that they weren’t a lock to win two games after the “Marlon McCree game.” There were countless other mistakes that day and I think that’s more evidence they were overhyped. But the Patriots simply waited for the Chargers to choke. That seems to be what people think the strategy should be this week. I have written here in the Halls Of Justice that I felt this team had finally moved past that. They didn’t in 2009. We all know how the last loss in Foxboro went down. Of course, injuries were a huge factor. But if Michael Turner gets past Junior…
Rivers and the ACL is getting more retelling this week and it should. Maybe if Billy Volek played we might have won that game. Sounds like blasphemy but clearly Rivers couldn’t push off his leg. His picks were all the result of not being able to put anything on those passes. But he played and LT didn’t. That’s the legacy of that game. LaDainian didn’t deserve the abuse he got. He couldn’t have done shit that day. Look at Melvin Gordon when he’s injured. But Phil played and even if it maybe made it tougher in the long run and says everything about who he is. Rivers is as competitive and resilient as any quarterback we’ve ever had.
He’s made plays that drive me crazy but he has given EVERYTHING for the Chargers. There is a weird “revenge tour” to the opponents the Chargers have thus far this postseason. I won’t dare use the word “justice” because this job needs to be finished. Rivers doesn’t need to do it all this week. I don’t care whether the Pats are about to see their dynasty end. I only care to see the Chargers advance.
Let’s say that the Pats aren’t the team we faced last. That team wasn’t as good as people thought and the Giants proved it. I don’t know if we can put a Tuck, Osi, Strahan beating on Brady. But maybe the Pats should be more hated by Charger fans for losing to Eli Manning twice than beating the Chargers twice. Maybe not, but something to ponder. Anyway, I’m gonna leave you now because I know you are busy.
Talk to you next week. When I wake up, if the money is on the table, I’ll know I have a partner.
PS Hunter Henry is back. Insane in the Mebane.