Hello and welcome to Sunday Night Football. The San Diego Chargers are taking on the visiting Indianapolis Colts. Demond Sanders will be blogging the first and third quarters. Deshawn Zombie will handle the second and fourth quarters. The Colts injury report includes: Marvin Harrison, Dallas Clark, Anthony Gonzalez, Tony Ugoh, Freddy Keaho, Tyjuan Hagler, Matt Giordano, and Dan Federkeil. Note that three of those injuries are concussions. This is going to be a very interesting game. The Chargers are missing Center Nick Hardwick, DE Luis Castillo, and DB Quentin Jammer. The Colts will need a big night from their defense, especially Dwight Freeney.
1.) The Chargers run back the opening kickoff for a touchdown. The Special Teams are especially horrible tonight thanks to the injuries. Has Adam Vinatieri ever been remotely close to making a tackle on one of these deals? Chargers lead 7-0.
2.) Nice return by Crap Thorpe to midfield. The Colts need to answer. Pass interference on Cromartie covering Wayne gets the Colts in the red zone for the first time tonight. Addai seemed to cut the wrong way on first down. Interception by Cromartie. The Chargers get possession at the the five yard line. Ugly start.
3.) LT is stoned on his first carry. He's wily and likes playing the Colts. Big third and seven. Colts force a punt as Rivers throws well wide of his mark.
4.) Crap fields the punt in San Diego territory. Manning's ball is tipped and picked by a linebacker. This game is going pretty much how I expected so far. Actually worse.
5.) The Zombie Sanders makes a nice tackle on LT. Big third down. Colts force a field goal on a nice pass breakup in the endzone. Gates had a hoard of guys around him. Chargers lead 10-0.
6.) Crappy return by Crap, with an even crappier holding penalty. Sadly, I think that joke may tire out as the night goes on. 3rd and 13. Incomplete. This game is shaping up to be a horrendous blowout folks.
7.) As I type the previous sentence the Chargers run the punt back for a score. They miss the extra point. Chargers lead 16-0 and yet only have one first down on offense. I wouldn't be that worried, but the offense looks totally inept.
8.) First down toss to Bryan Fletcher. That's a start. Bryan Fletcher has made a couple nice grabs out of the slot. Yes, you read that correctly. Fletcher is in the slot. Huge sack makes it second and 23. The offensive line is playing poorly. A third pick by Manning. A ball he got nothing on. Oh well. The starting lineup looked like something that might be playing in the third quarter of a preseason game so you can't really feel too bad about this one.
9.) Anyone still reading? Clint Sessions just got screwed on national television. An inadvertent whistle just killed a great return on an improbable interception. Gary Brackett tips a ball in the end zone and it bounced off Bethea and then Sessions snagged it off the back of Brackett's thigh. What a night. The return was already set up when the whistle blew. Sessions had his blockers, including Zombie Bob. The defense has to be furious right now. By the way, Norv Turner is a moron for challenging that.
DZ here now, and I'm looking for bright spots. The brightest? Manning's -11 fantasy score that quarter might just save my season. WOW, now Charlie Johnson is hurt? Awesome.
10.) This game reminds me so much of Jacksonville last year, it's almost hilarious. Meanwhile Manning throws another pick. High comedy has taken over here in San Diego, as Manning tries a Brady jump ball, and Reggie Wayne stares passively as it's picked off.
11.) The defense is still playing with fire at least, as they hold the Chargers off on third down. The Chargers decide to man up and go for it on fourth down. The old pick play works for first down. Rivers fumbles the next snap. Is there any proof at all that he's actually a competent NFL quarterback? (Insert your own-he's outplaying Peyton Manning joke here).
12.) The coaching staff clearly failed to have this team ready to play this week. The Chargers are clearly a beatable team, but tonight the game plan has been poor, and the execution worse. Manning has played absolutely horrible, but the rest of the offense is clearly out to lunch as penalties and lack of effort have made things worse. Basically, this has been a gutless half. I'm out for awhile, if anything note worthy happens I'll comment, but there's really not much more to say.
13.) What can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment. As the Colts drive here, you realize that a score and a stop would give the Colts the precious 3-1 possessions, because they get the ball to start the second half. Sigh. This will end badly, but a man can hope. So there's the first score to Wayne, but what would really get them going is a defensive stop here.
14.) The Chargers run a cool play on first down. They then choke by running a play with 2:01 AND Rivers grounds it. This gives the Colts a chance to use timeouts if they get a reasonable stop on 2nd down. Funny stuff.
15.) And there you have it. The Chargers help the Colts out by running a stupid play before the 2 min warning, and now we have the next two possessions. A score here, and it's game on.
16.) Thorpe wastes about 20 seconds running sideways. A huge throw to Wayne puts the Colts within shouting distance of a score. After a great catch by Reggie into FG range, Diem goes down. For crying out loud. It's freaking 1996 all over again.
17.) Crap can't haul in the TD pass. They get the FG team on, but AV yanks another kick. He has not been good this year. (Let's see if the Pats fans are gutless enough to make fun of the dude who made them what they are...).
18.) So...we had 2 returns for scores, 4 picks and a jacked figgie. That's about as bad a half as you can play. Still, San Diego doesn't exactly inspire confidence.
19.) The Chargers lead 23-7. Adam Vinateri destroyed all the momentum the Colts were building by missing a field goal as time expired. He's starting to piss me off. The Colts have done everything wrong and are only down by 16. That's kind of amazing given that they are on the road and are heavily featuring a guy named Craphonso.
20.) Reggie Wayne gets cracked to open up the drive. I don't know why the Colts aren't trying to run the ball. Kind of strange and insane. Kind of awesome. This team is always entertaining. Huzzah! Joe Addai picks up a big 3rd and 1. Keep running it. It's only the third quarter. Big fourth down and two and the Colts go for it. HUGE COMPLETION TO MOOREHEAD. Terrible pick by Manning.
21.) Big third down conversion for San Diego. Bob Sanders slipped on the play. San Diego is finally getting something going on offense. They haven't done much, but they haven't needed to. The Colts D needs to force a turnover so Peyton can throw another pick. Big sack by Robert Mathis. Loss of 10 yards. Chargers punt.
22.) The Colts are getting routed by a bad team. How does SD only have 23 points? This one is all on Manning and the Special Teams. The Defense is playing their butts off. Nice footwork on a huge conversion by Manning and Wayne. The Colts need a touchdown before the fourth quarter. That's it for me tonight. It's been fun. The Colts are going down tonight, but for some reason I'm coming away with a perverse respect for how good this team is.
DZ is back again. This is quite the annoying game, because the Chargers are clearly an inferior team, but Manning is playing like he's on drugs. Incredibly creative one moment, self destructive and insane the next. Keith has a nice run after the catch. How much do we miss that missed FG now? The two pointer is good to make things veeeeery interesting. This was big for the team to finally shake out of the funk. Isn't this what we predicted on Eyes in the Backfield this week? Ok, a two quarter slump and a fist fight between the GMs. Whatever. No one's always right.
What? A great stop on a return AND a penalty? I'm aghast. Down 8, I'm still cursing the missed FG and the inadvertent whistle. Damn you, whistle! How dare you sound inadvertently?!
Here comes a huge 3rd and 10 as Rivers is glad it's raining so no one can see him wetting himself.
HOLY CRAP! HOW IS THIS EVEN A GAME?
Addai gets no mo and the two point conversion is stopped. This game has officially gone off the hook. I have no idea how we'll chose 18 plays from it to talk about on the podcast. AV, HOW COULD YOU HAVE MISSED THAT KICK? Or I could say, PEYTON HOW COULD YOU HAVE THROWN THAT FIRST, FOURTH, OR FIFTH PICK?
The special teams holds. Can the D come up big again? They have all night. Ooops, it looks like Norv finally realized we are down four linebackers. We are screwed now. Norv might have grown a brain. Sessions is terrible as he lets LT get around the corner. LT looks like he's ready to bust one deep, but the Chargers decide to pass. Good grief, they are so badly run.
Hey great! Freeney's gone! Why not? Everyone else took the day off. Meanwhile Rivers throws what should have been a. a pick and b. pass interference. Neither ensues. Huge stop. Crap lets the punt go, and it heads to the 1. I smell safety, or maybe an epic drive. I don't even know what to say anymore.
Manning throws the ball a half a step long on the home run ball, but then hits Reggie for a HUGE first down to change field position if nothing else. Norv challenges again. This could be the play of the night. No matter how this turns out tonight, the Colts caught fire and that is what had to happen. Norv loses another challenge, and it just seems like maybe this game will turn out allright. Maybe. Oh lovely, Freeney in a cart. ARRRGH. The Chargers look like their will is broken. Let's run the ball. Big third down coming, but even so, the Colts did a good job getting out of the shadow of the goal line. Crap comes through again. I love that little dude! Ok, I admit that I cursed him after he let that punt go. Whatever, stop judging me.
HOW DOES HE DROP IT? Oh because it's pass interference of course. Hey, everything else went wrong, why not that? Wow, that was ever so close to being epic. Gotta love a deep ball to...Aaron Morehead.
You get the feeling that the Chargers should be able to run the clock out. The Colts are playing actual colts on defense at this point. They don't have anyone else!
SESSIONS! Rivers is just flat giving this game away.
The Colts aren't running effectively, but they are running consistently. Manning seems content to let this come down to the Colts D vs. Rivers. As Dawson leaves the field, I can't help feeling like it's Buffalo 1996 all over again. A huge first down by Addai forces the Chargers into their second time out. Three runs and everything will be ok, boys. Addai slips and the Chargers empty their timeout gun. Run the ball two more times and SD will need a FG with no timeouts and 1:10 on the clock. One more run. If he gets the first down, the game is over. As one of the readers, Matt said, Toudouze has been huge. Charlie Johnson getting hurt was the play of the game.
THERE IT IS. Run the clock to one second and kick the field goal. Madden is nuts. If you lose on a missed 20 yard field goal by AV, so be it. Nothing else makes sense. Meanwhile, it's a game of inches as the play is reviewed. The ball is moved back. The Colts have to kick this (eventually, I'm cool with trying to draw the Chargers off). The Colts try the reset play, but Utech moves too quickly? on the reset. Meanwhile, the review and the snap simulation costs the Colts 20 seconds of clock time.
Apparently, AV has money on this game as well. The stupid shift play (hey, I called for something like it too), cost the Colts 5 yards (FG good) and a timeout. I suppose a stop here on third down leaves the Colts about :20 to comeback. Not liking our chances.
We need about 30 yards for a 50 yard FG, but who knows what to think at this point. This game might just end on a hail mary. Demond said this was the Pittsburgh game all over again about a half an hour ago. Certainly jumps to mind. Again, I don't think this game means much in the big picture, but it sure served to ruin my night. DZ out.