I know I said I probably wouldn't be talking about sports again soon, but after todays Chargers/Broncos game....sheesh! I usually try not to let bad calls get me down; I figure they even out in the long run, and besides, if the game is so close that a call changes the outcome, it was probably a random outcome anyway. But today we faced two real whoppers; the last one being a fumble recovered by San Diego with about a minute to go in the game, which was accidentally blown dead before recovery by the head official. The ball was restored to Denver, who scored a couple of plays later.
Don't get me wrong. The Broncos played an excellent game, and I have to give them particular credit for going for the two-point conversion after that touchdown, risking everything for the win instead of the almost-guaranteed tie. I was especially impressed by their quarterback, Jay Cutler; he is one to watch for the future.
The Chargers on the whole didn't do too badly either. With Tomlinson largely sidelined by a toe injury, Darren Sproles more than made up the difference, with a total of 317 yards, including a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 66-yard pass reception. Philip Rivers is looking very good at quarterback, and making full use of all his recievers; Antonio Gates seems to be fully up to speed.
Defensively, neither team was overly imperssive. The Chargers failed to put much pressure on Cutler, which commentators were blaming partly on the fact that we've lost Shawne Merriman for the season; but I think they may not be giving enough credit to Denver's offensive line, bearing in mind that Culter was not sacked once during the previous week's game against Oakland. And Antonio Cromartie, last years' backfield star with 10 interceptions, is off to a very poor start this year; today he had four penalties, and completely failed to stop Broncos reciever Brandon Marshall, who had a franchise record-setting 18 receptions.
So I still think the Chargers have a potential to get into the postseason, but I don't think they're going to be the dominant force in the AFC west that everyone predicted. I'm not really that surprised; they're very close to the same team they were last year, which was certainly a good one, but I never quite understood why people expected this season to be so much better. For that to happen, the defense has to get its act together, and Tomlinson needs to get back to the level of play we all know he's capable of at full health.
But don't write Denver off, either. They too need to work on defense, but their offense may surprise people. The Chargers finish the season against the Broncos in San Diego on December 28th, and that may be the match of the season. If so, I hope we're ready.
Your Christmas/Hanukkah Present/ NOIR, Chapter One
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