Football Predictions Based on a Flux Capacitor

August 27, 2008 at 1:36 pm (Sports thoughts)

Last night my friend Jeff (AKA “Big Red” AKA “Red Man” AKA “Jeffy”) asked me when i was going to put up my NFL predictions for 2008.

The funny thing was that I hadn’t even considered such a post. I was totally satisfied with my little fantasy thread taking shape.

But I told him that I would “get right on it”, so that’s what I am doing.

Here you go Jeff…

First of all let me talk about a tremendously overlooked aspect of football. Time Zones. We act like a couple of hour time difference is easy to overcome but it really is anything but. The least amount of time adjustments you have the better you will perform in any task. West coast teams neutralize the advantage traveling to the east coast if the game is going to be played in the evening. East coast teams never have no advantage traveling to the West coast. Central time zone teams have the biggest overall advantage. In odds making there is an automatic 3 points given to the home team (i.e. if the Patriots are expected to win by 10 over the Bills that number is 7 in Buffalo and 13 in New England). But I’m not sure what kind of research has been done into the time zone factor. I’ll take a stab at it however and call it 1.5 points per time zone. So lets have the Patriots playing the 49ers. Pats favored by 10 Plus 3 in New England PLUS 4.5 for time zone adjustment. Pats at home are favored 17.5 over SF. Now lets flip it around and have the Pats going to SF. Again we start with 10 points but give SF 3 for being and home and now give them 4.5 for the time change. Pats are still favored but only by 2.5. We actually get to see NE travel to the west coast this year 4 times. Twice in a row (10/5 and 10/12) and again twice in a row (12/7 and 12/14). Being in a row I’m not sure if this is an advantage or disadvantage. It could certainly be an advantage if they adjust their sleeping patterns intentionally but that doesn’t sound too easy to do. So while the Pats would be favored by at least 10 against SF and Oakland, I think those numbers are closer towards 3 points. And then there are road trips to Seattle and San Diego (both at night). If you accept my reasoning then you’d have to favor both the home teams over the 18-1 “champions”.

All that to say that teams in central time zones automatically have it better than teams on the coast (unless a team on the coast stays primarily in that time zone which is what happened with NE last season).

My predictions this year are based primarily on travel. We’ll see how it goes…

NFC-

East-

Probably the best division in football but won’t show it record wise. Very difficult to call this one. I’m going to go with Dallas because they have the easiest travel schedule of the group being centrally located. Not that they travel much less but that it’s less exaggerated. The only thing better than being a centrally located team is being an east coast team with very little travel. Eagles and Redskins head west twice. Giants just once (back to Arizona where they won the Super Bowl).

Cowboys- 12-4

Giants-10-6

Redskins- 7-9

Eagles 7-9

South-

Panthers and Falcons go west twice. Saints go Mtn once and Greenwhich Mean once. Tampa Bay has very little travel.

Bucs- 12-4

Panthers- 11-5

Saints- 6-10

Falcons 0-16

North-

Packers go East 3 times and west once and they are still better off without Favre. Bears wont go west at all. Lions and Vikes make just one west coast trip each. Even with favorable travel patterns these teams all stink. Horribly frightening is that any one of them could make the playoffs.

Vikings 9-7

Bears- 8-8

Lions 7-9

Packers 5-11

West-

Seattle has really strange situation. They have 4 east coast trips, but they also have 4 teams visiting them from the east coast. 3 out of their 4 east coast trips start at 10 AM their time. I’m betting They loose all 3 of those games (Buffalo, NY Giants and Miami) but win every other game of the season. San Fran has the same thing headed east 4 times and having 4 east teams visit, but they also have 6 10 AM games. That’s too much for a bad team. Arizona has 5 east coast trips and St Louis (Central Time) plays 12 of it’s games at the same time with zero night games.

Seahwaks- 13-3

Rams- 10-6

Cardinals- 5-11

49ers- 4-12

AFC

East-

Buffalo and Miami only head west twice. The Jets and Pats go 4 times each. Brett Favre has never experienced trips like these. Pats are still the class of this division but they won’t get close to undefeated…

Patriots- 11-5

Bills- 9-7

Jets- 5-11

Miami 3-13

South-

Here is where you find that special team that has very little travel Except it happens to be every team. Jags go central 3 times and mtn once. Big time advantage especially to a team that was very good at home last season. But wait the Texans have just one west coast trip and that’s against the lowly Raiders. Tennessee wont go west all season. And Indy only travels to the left on one occasion (San Diego 11/23). It’s an overall advantage for the division but slight for each team within the division. Nevertheless I think this is the year we see a shocker with the Colts finally being dethroned (twice over at that)…

Texans- 11-5

Jags- 10-6

Colts- 9-7

Titans- 6-10

North-

Here is where you get the luckiest of the league. Pittsburgh never leaves the east coast. Not once. They don’t even have to sleep in a hotel all season long if they don’t want to (longest flight would be an hour an half to Jacksonville). Baltimore goes central a couple times. And the Ohio teams don’t go anywhere either. Advantage goes to Pittsburgh because, well they’re the best team in the division.

Steelers- 13-3

Bengals- 10-6

Browns- 9-7

Ravens- 5-11

West-

The Chargers have 4 East Coast trips (only 1 at night) plus 1 to London. BRUTAL. The Raiders also have 5 with none at night. The Chiefs are a central team and play no away games in central time. Broncos, on Mtn time have 5 east coast trips as well but it is less dramatic then what the Raiders and Chargers have.

Only the Chiefs have a moderate advantage over the rest when it comes to traveling. But not enough of an advantage to make up for their lack of a QB. That Chargers schedule is too difficult to keep them from improving much.

Chargers 12-4

Chiefs 6-10

Raiders 6-10

Broncos 5-11

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184 Comments

  1. Goldminers said,

    SF 4-12

    I hope not. Hey, we have the luck of the Irish (O’Sullivan) this year.

  2. danielbalc said,

    4 may even be a little high. There are only 5 games I can even see them possibly being favored to win

    2008 Schedule

    Sep 7 Arizona 1:15pm
    Sep 14 @Seattle 1:05pm
    Sep 21 Detroit 1:05pm
    Sep 28 @New Orleans 10:00am
    Oct 5 New England 1:15pm
    Oct 12 Philadelphia 1:15pm
    Oct 19 @N.Y. Giants 10:00am
    Oct 26 Seattle 12:15pm
    Week 9 BYE
    Nov 10 @Arizona 5:30pm
    Nov 16 St. Louis 1:05pm
    Nov 23 @Dallas 10:00am
    Nov 30 @Buffalo 10:00am
    Dec 7 N.Y. Jets 1:05pm
    Dec 14 @Miami 10:00am
    Dec 21 @St. Louis 10:00am
    Dec 28 Washington 1:15pm

  3. Matt said,

    East coast teams never have no advantage traveling to the West coast.

    This was my favorite line.

  4. Goldminers said,

    I’m hoping they surprise me.

    At least the Chargers have a bye week after the London trip. That should eliminate any disadvantage.

  5. danielbalc said,

    Here are my picks for the Chargers…

    Sep 7 Carolina 1:15pm
    No Steve Smith for the Panthers. Panthers are better than people think though. Chargers 27 Panthers 21

    Sep 14 @Denver 1:15pm
    Going to Denver is always difficult. I would rather go to Denver later in the season when it’s clear that the Bronco’s stink. Early in the season they might actually believe in themselves.
    Broncos 20 Chargers 19

    Sep 22 N.Y. Jets 5:30pm
    Monday night electricity. Brett Favre traveling coast to caost for the first time and at night no less.
    Chargers 35 Jets 7

    Sep 28 @Oakland 1:05pm
    The Chargers own the Raiders. It’s kind of sad because this used to be a fun rivalry.
    Chargers 31 Raiders 3

    Oct 5 @Miami 10:00am
    Shocker of the season. The travel and some freaky fumbles do the Bolts in.
    Dolphins 17 Chargers 14

    Oct 12 New England 5:15pm
    Chargers looked like the better team when these two met in the playoffs, but coach Turner was way too conservative and cost his team a chance at the Super Bowl. That won’t happen here.
    Chargers 35 Patriots 24

    Oct 19 @Buffalo 10:00am
    Another trip I am not looking forward to. Chargers find a way to pull it out on a last second field goal.
    Chargers 24 Bills 22

    Oct 26 @New Orleans 10:00am
    They go from Buffalo to London. The week to adjust makes this an evenly matched game. After getting a lame game last year Londoners will enjoy this shootout.
    Chargers 41 Saints 38

    Week 9 BYE

    Nov 9 Kansas City 1:15pm
    A good team to come back to against. Chargers may take a while to get into rhythm but once they do they will win this game.
    Chargers 20 Chiefs 14

    Nov 16 @Pittsburgh 1:15pm
    Really could have used another home game here. GOing on the road is the only reason the Chargers lose this game.
    Steelers 26 Chargers 17

    Nov 23 Indianapolis 5:15pm
    Colts are in a frustrating season but find a way to get a win off of 3 Rivers INT’s. Panic as the Chargers have lost two in a row!!!!
    Colts 26 Chargers 21

    Nov 30 Atlanta 1:05pm
    Chargers look angry.
    Chargers 44 Falcons 12

    Dec 4 Oakland 5:15pm
    Chargers look really angry.
    Chargers 50 Raiders 10

    Dec 14 @Kansas City 10:00am
    All the Rivers bashers are calling him a potential MVP.
    Chargers 35 Chiefs 7

    Dec 21 @Tampa Bay 5:15pm
    A great matchup late in the season. Gives the Bolts a chance to scope out where they want to eat in February.
    Chargers 28 Bucs 14

    Dec 28 Denver 1:15pm
    Even resting the starters they blow this game up. The Ultimate Leader gets fired after the game.
    Chargers 36 Broncos 9

    After a first round bye the Chargers get the Patriots at home. We get some revenge winning 31 to 14 with everybody doing the “lights out” dance midfield. The AFC championship game also is at home since the Bengals upset the Steelers. Chargers win 27 to 21.

    The Superbowl finds the Chargers beating the Seahawks (who couldn’t win an east coast game all year) 35 to 27

  6. danielbalc said,

    Hey Niners fans.

    Evidently 4-12 is the popular prediction this year. Not just from me but from Sports Illustrated
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/don_banks/08/29/predictions/index.html

    I’m no a big fan of how many of ESPN’s experts pick the Chargers to win it all. http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/preview08/news/story?id=3552727

    I hate being considered a favorite. I’m so unaccustomed to it.

    Give us the rampant disrespect we’ve come to know and love from the “dukE, red Sox, Patriots and yaNkees” station.

  7. Goldminers said,

    That’s ok if the Niners get no respect. My prediction is 9-7. I know; overly optimistic. I guess I’ve been around the owner of this blog to long.

  8. danielbalc said,

    Please break it down. Which 9 teams are the niners going to beat?

    In addition to the 5 I mentioned above that they may be favored against give me 4 games they could win.

    @Seattle
    @New Orleans
    New England
    Philadelphia
    @N.Y. Giants
    Seattle
    @Arizona
    @Dallas
    @Buffalo
    @St. Louis
    Washington

    Maybe 1 from Seattle? Maybe they sweep Arizona and Saint Louis? And Maybe one of the east coast teams struggles when they visit, but 5 wins out of that schedule?

  9. Goldminers said,

    Here it is…like I said, I’m optimistic.

    2008 Schedule

    Sep 7 Arizona 1:15pm – Win – Remember the year they only won 2 games – both against AZ.
    Sep 14 @Seattle 1:05pm
    Sep 21 Detroit 1:05pm – Win
    Sep 28 @New Orleans 10:00am
    Oct 5 New England 1:15pm
    Oct 12 Philadelphia 1:15pm
    Oct 19 @N.Y. Giants 10:00am
    Oct 26 Seattle 12:15pm – Win
    Week 9 BYE
    Nov 10 @Arizona 5:30pm – Win
    Nov 16 St. Louis 1:05pm – Win
    Nov 23 @Dallas 10:00am
    Nov 30 @Buffalo 10:00am
    Dec 7 N.Y. Jets 1:05pm – Win – Favre is done.
    Dec 14 @Miami 10:00am – Win
    Dec 21 @St. Louis 10:00am – Win
    Dec 28 Washington 1:15pm – Win – An upset at home.

  10. Jeff said,

    Thank you for giving us your thoughts Daniel and I agree with you in most cases. I must say that the niners should get more love than that.

    The niners will go 10-6, beating 1 playoff team along the way. They will beat AZ twice, St. Louis and Seatle once, they will beat Washington, Miami, Buffalo, Detroit, the Giants, and the Jets. I must have faith!

    The Chargers will have 12 wins, Merriman will lead the league in sacks and Chambers will have more TD’s than Gates.

    AFC Playoffs:
    Division Champs- SD, Hou, Pitt, NE
    Wildcard- Jets, Jac
    Champs- SD

    NFC Playoffs:
    Division Champs- Dal, NO, Minn, SF
    Wildcard- GB, Car
    Champ- NO

    Super Bowl- Chargers get 1 closer to the niners

  11. Anthony said,

    OUCH!!!!

  12. Anthony said,

    At least Brady is out for the year.

  13. Uncle Paul said,

    It’s tough to win at home.

  14. Matt said,

    Seen this movie somewhere before….

    We really miss Hardwick and McNeill the O-line could not protect or make running lanes at all.

    …and Derek Smith is old and useless we really need Cooper.

    The obvious good news is the Pats are clearly done and Indy lost at home and looked worse than we did so I think we will still finish as #1 seed in AFC.

  15. danielbalc said,

    I really didn’t think it was that bad a loss. I tried to explain it to those I was riding home with but they called me delusional. The said I wasn’t watching the same game as them. I told them their problem was that they were expecting Carolina to be a cupcake and Carolina isn’t a cupcake. They are a well coached team with a good QB (The two most important things to have in the NFL).

    The top three teams in the NFL, Patriots, Chargers and Colts, all struggled for the same reason… O-line injuries.

    Chargers were missing Left Tackle McNeil and Center Hardwick. 2 most important o-line positions.
    Colts were missing Center Saturday.
    Patriots are without Guard Steve Neal.

    If you don’t have continuity on the O-line you will have a difficult time in all offensive facets of the game.

    Pats scored 17, Colts 13. The Chargers offensively were ok scoring 24.

    I guess a lot of people are frustrated with the Chargers because they expected a blow out. I’m not frustrated because I expected a close game. And it was certainly a close game. It could have gone either way. I’d rather take this on the first game of the season then the first game of the playoffs.

    Chargers only had two penalties that I can remember and both were pretty costly negating big offensive plays.

    Rivers was phenomenal (the throw to Gates going to his left was amazing).
    LT looked fine especially when it was crunch time and when you factor in the two new O-line guys.
    Rookie fullback Tolbert opened a lot of eyes. He was running the same plays lo-neal ran last year but was much, much faster. Although his blocking (a nuance I’m not too adept at noticing) may have been another factor working against LT turning 2 yard gains into 5 yard gains.
    Gates looked fine. His fluke fumble really cost us the game, but it was certainly a fluke. His toe didn’t appear to be bothering him at all.
    Chambers showed why I think he’ll be a top 10 fantasy receiver with a great move to get himself wide open on the deep ball

    Defense didn’t look too bad. They gave up one touchdown on the very last play of the game. That’s what we’ll remember but we’ll forget all of the just missed balls that were oh so close to being intercepted. I think this was the main problem with the secondary. they all wanted to make a big INT instead of defending the pass.

    Even Jammer, who rarely ball hawks, was caught trying to jump a pass and letting the receiver get a big gain out of it instead.
    Cromartie had a ball tip off his fingers and bounce into the hands of the Carolina receiver, the exact opposite of what happened to him so many times last year.

    The run defense did not look good. In fact it looked a lot like the Minnesota game where the O-line was 3 yards down field and making lots of space for slashing running backs. This appears to be a very good tactic against the Chargers run D. But it wasn’t the reason the Panthers won the game. That was simply Jake Delhomme being the man.

    He’s a very good QB especially if he has time. And that was probably the biggest failing of the Chargers. The pass rush. The one big sack that Phillips had got negated by a penalty I’m still unsure of. What was called? It was too loud in the stadium and we all had no idea that a penalty was called until we noticed Carolina had a first down.

    Was Merriman non-existent? I don’t know; I watched him on several plays. He certainly was lining up way outside and arriving just a split second after the ball was out. On one play the Panthers even intentionally chopped him to try and take out his injured knee. Not cool.
    I think it was more the Panthers O-line was just very strong. Well prepared and highly motivated.

    I’m not worried about this loss, not at all. I’d be worried if I were the Patriots barely squeaking out a victory over the chiefs. Or if I were the colts getting dominated by the bears.

    In fact when I look around the league those are the only 2 teams (and maybe Washington and St Louis who both looked awful) who have legitimate worries.

  16. Save For Retirement said,

    The penalty you are asking about was a holding penalty 15 yards down the field in front of the Carolina Bench that was against Cromartie.

    I agree with many of these observations but still think that we should have won that game.

    A couple of crucial plays and thoughts that have not been mentioned:

    – Scifres punt that he shanked and didn’t get past the 50 which led to a FG

    – The crazy (and it happened a lot last year) squib quick Kaeding does late in games. If we have as good a special teams group as everyone says then lets kick the ball off and go hit somebody and watch Osgood go down and make a tackle. Gave them the 40 yard line without doing anything.

    – Lack of QB pressure all game from our defense. We were great last year when we sent the house why couldn’t we get pressure. Did Igor or Luis Castillo play yesterday? Castillo’s name was never called and Igor once or twice.

    – Crowd was into the game and I thought consistent throughout (except for 7 minutes of gametime quietness coming out of halftime) Never understand why people can’t get back to their seats in time for the second half to start.

    I have changed my name for now so that I can remind everyone that reads this Blog to think about your future plans and start putting money away for retirement. Start today even with just a little and it will pay off down the road.

  17. danielbalc said,

    Clearly we could have won that game. It was literally as close as you can get.

    The shanked punt was bizarre, but what about the punt we nearly recovered in the end zone for a TD? That would’ve blown the game up.

    Kaeding is not a good kickoff guy. Especially compared to Kasey. WOW what a leg.

    The crowd indeed was great. That was a really fun atmosphere.

    nice name change, and thanks for the reminder.

  18. danielbalc said,

    Oh and the lack of pressure.

    I don’t think it was a lack or pressure as much as it was a good game plan by the Panthers to make quick passes. Rarely did Delhomme stay in the pocket for long. It was quick hit type of play calling.

  19. Save For Retirement said,

    That wasn’t Kasey. They have a second year kickoff specialist named Rhys Lloyd

  20. danielbalc said,

    ohhhhhhhhhh that makes sense. instead of that we have david binn

  21. danielbalc said,

    With Merriman checking out for the year I knew I’d hear the inevitable idiocy on the radio calling for Junior Seau. That is preposterous for a number of reasons. Not just because Junior is ancient (39) and ineffective as a pass rusher but also because he is a jerk.

    I think the bolts may want to bring in Rosevelt Colvin however.

    He’s a former bear, former patriot (and former texan sort of) who has had several seasons marred by injury but who as recently as 2006 was able to put up 8.5 sacks.

    He’s been doing the 3-4 for a couple of seasons now so it wouldn’t be too difficult to plug him in.

  22. Pablo Honey said,

    So what do you think happens if Matt Cassell comes in and starts shredding defenses, even more so than Brady was? I am torn on my feelings for this, because I want to see the Patriots fail, and fail miserably, but I don’t want it to look like Brady is so incredibly important. Part of me wants to see Cassell exceed and have Brady become an afterthought and disappear into anonymity just as Drew Bledsoe did after Brady replaced him.

  23. danielbalc said,

    I concur.

    It is a difficult dilemma. Whom do I dislike more, Tom or Bill?

    I think I’d like Cassell to go down as well and have Kevin O’Connell be the dynamic replacement. That way I could feel great about Tommy’s disappearance and OK about the Patriots success.

  24. Anthony said,

    Ouch….

    Chargers got screwed by the refs.

  25. danielbalc said,

    you can say that again.

    Hoc should retire in shame

  26. Pablo Honey said,

    Pretty bad today. The NFL owes the Chargers an apology. If Ed Hochuli had any sense he would have rules that Chambers had both feet in bounds on the last drive to at least give Kaeding a shot at kicking a field goal to try and make up for his screw-ups. I haven’t heard any quotes from the Chargers, but I hope that complain a lot instead of giving the “we shouldn’t have put ourselves in position to lose from those calls” line. They got screwed, period. We had chances to win yes, but the fact is that was a fumble so we DID win. The game was over. There is no excuse for how bad our defense was in this game. It was terrible, but the officiating was worse.

  27. Matt said,

    If you had to pick one game to show me to make your case that the outcomes are fixed this would be it.

    Uh… the booth does not work so we are just going to forget about getting the call right. Nice solution.

    If this is really the NFL’s answer to a broken booth I am ashamed to call myself a fan. How hard is it to have the official upstairs make the decision? Geez.

    As for the play that stole the win right out from under us….

    The officials and their superiors always stress to let the play continue if it is at all close because you can always change it if your wrong but you cant change it if you blow it dead.

    So Hoc does the complete opposite on a play that was real obvious even in real time that it was a fumble.

    He and the NFL should apologize and Hoc should suspend himself for 3 games.

    We got into a shootout with a real good Denver offense and we won. Yea our defense could have been better but you are going to have games like this and we had a division road win stolen from us.

    Shameful.

  28. Anthony said,

    Something to take away…..

    We were getting killed in the first half. Ugly.

    We came back from halftime and were the better team.

    We just need to do the same thing, come back from 0-2 and continue to be the better team. We will get our shot to beat Denver at home. Raiders and Chiefs are a joke. We still have the west!

  29. danielbalc said,

    Saw ESPN this morning and the controversy has already been buried under the “Gutsiest coach ever” accolades.

    In addition to the Ultimate Leader getting sooooo much praise Baby Jay Cutler is being lauded as the Ultimate Quarterback.

    Here is a real world break down of Baby Jay’s stats vs Philip Rivers stats for the game…
    BJ- 36 of 50 for 350 yards. That comes out to 7 yards per pass attempt and 9.72 per pass completed.
    PR- 21 of 33 for 377 yards. That is 11.42 per attempt and a remarkable 17.95 per completion.

    If you’re wondering what a “good” yards per attempt number is check out this page…
    http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articles/7_1580_Best_passers_in_history:_Yards_Per_Attempt.html

    It’s true that one game doesn’t equal career numbers such as those listed above but those names should tell you a little something about YPA translating to wins.

    So far this season Rivers is at 9.90 YPA. An unreal number that is sure to drop as the season progresses. But assume for a minute he kept that number up while throwing for 50 passes like Cutler did yesterday…. That would be a 500 yard game!

    BJ in the meantime threw an INT in the endzone AND fumbled the ball while going in to score (choke). He can have this “win” and the gory that comes with it…

    The Broncos are who we thought they were. They are who we thought they were and we let em off the hook.

  30. Pablo Honey said,

    I have been reading the reader comments on the Denver Post website and they can’t get enough of Cutler. They think he is the hottest thing ever. I echo your thoughts Daniel that he gave the game away TWICE and was given another chance he shouldn’t have had by Hackuli. Rivers still owns the Broncos and I would rather have Rivers than Cutler.

  31. Pablo Honey said,

    By the way, here is Ed Hackuli’s email address: ehochuli@jshfirm.com I encourage all readers to send him a nice little note letting him know how much we appreciate his hard work.

  32. danielbalc said,

    50 attempts in a game is a sign of desperation. It’s something teams do when they are getting the snot kicked out them.

  33. danielbalc said,

    Here’s the e-mail I sent him…

    You should retire…

    And stop doing steroids, they have clearly destroyed your ability to discern the laws of physics. As in a ball moving backwards cannot be ruled an incomplete pass under any circumstances. Backward passes are LIVE balls, (so are fumbles).

    I would like to retain someone within your law firm to investigate the possibility of suing you. I think there is sufficient evidence that you are the NFL version of Tim Donaghy.

  34. Pablo Honey said,

    Here’s mine:

    Subject: Legal Question

    Ed, as a Charger fan, would I be legally justified to kick you in the nuts as hard as I can if I see you on the street? How do you blow your whistle and rule an incomplete pass when the ball doesn’t even go forward? You are the biggest screw-up the NFL has seen for years. If you find yourself running a Charger game later this year you’d better make up for your epic mistakes. You not only owe the Chargers, you owe the entire NFL and every fan for making the league look like a joke. Please take a look at the headlines on every major sports website today and you’ll see your handiwork at the top. This is not the kind of attention the NFL needs you moron. You took an amazing game and turned it into a hack job. You are an idiot.

  35. danielbalc said,

    One more thing. I have to combat the inevitable… “the problem is the defense” comments, such as that presented be Clark Judge of CBS sportsline…

    “Relax, San Diego, your biggest problem isn’t referee Ed Hochuli. No, I don’t know why he blew the whistle, and, yes, I understand the call cost your team a game — and that’s bad. But this could be worse: The Bolts allowed Carolina and Denver to combine for over 600 first-half yards the past two games. If that doesn’t stop it will cost them a season. C’mon, Ted Cottrell, don’t wait until halftime to make adjustments.”

    Not so Judge. Let the record show that yards don’t equal points!

    Against Carolina the Chargers defense gave up 19 points.

    This week the two BLATANT blown calls led to 15 points for Denver. If the score was 38 to 24 would the Chargers defense be criticized?

    I think not. Instead we would probably be criticizing Rivers for missing Chambers in the endzone, which would be valid. Chargers could have 8 more points had Rivers hit Chambers in the 1st quarter and had Nannae caught the ball in the 4th. But that’s football. You don’t score a touchdown on every possession and you don’t force 3 and out every time the defense is on the field. Both teams are playing as hard as they can and the Chargers OUT PLAYED the Broncos. That’s the fact.

    It was 2005 when the Chargers were victims of an awful lot of bad luck (remember the Philadelphia blocked field goal for a TD?) We had an awesome team then but didn’t make the playoffs because of stupid little fluke things. I sure hope this season doesn’t go the same way.

    This is how that season started out…
    Sep 11 – Dallas – L (24-28)
    Sep 18 – at Denver – L (17-20)

    It also included heartbreakers like this…
    Oct 10 – Pittsburgh – L (22-24)
    Oct 23 – at Philadelphia – L (17-20)
    Dec 11 – Miami – L (21-23)

    We can’t let that happen again.

  36. Matt said,

    I am not worried yet.

    We played a very good Panther team (they might be the 2nd best team in the NFC this year) and lost on a fluke last second play.

    We played a very good Denver team on the road and won….er lost because of bad officiating.

    Our upcoming schedule is very favorable.

    We get the Jets at home on Monday night and I predict we come out and show the national audience we are not quite done yet.

    Then we go to Oakland, then to Miami, then get the Pats at home with Matt Cassell at QB and revenge on our minds.

    We should be 4-2 and alot more confident going into a tough game on the road against the Bills.

    The only thing that concerns me is the injury bug. We have lost our best defensive player and no one has stepped up to fill his shoes yet. Shaun Phillips has a groin injury, that is not good as our pass rush will be severely affected.

    LT’s toe injury is something that could linger all season.

    Hardwick and McNeill are not coming back as soon as I thought.

  37. danielbalc said,

    a non-football related but professional sports complaint…

    MLB deciding to play the Houston vs Chicago series in Milwaukee. Carlos Zambrano throws a no-hitter in front of what is pretty much a home crowd. The Astros are in the thick of a playoff birth and to have to fly last minute to play their “home” games in the other teams geographical territory while anxious about their own families and homes was a tragic error in judgment. Why Milwaukee?

    The Chargers had to face this when they went to Arizona to play the Dolphins in 2003. The Dolphins had a tremendous advantage in this arena.

    Why didn’t MLB choose an actual “neutral” site or even an anti-cubs site such as…

    Texas Rangers in Arlington
    or the hyper partisan St Louis Cardinals.

    The Brewers have the lead for the wild card over the Astros by a mere 2 games. AND its just a 2 hour drive from Chicago. It is unfair that that the physically and emotionally exhausted Astros would have to play there. Horrible decision by MLB (which is run by Bud Selig part owner of the Brewers Hmmmmmmmmm?)

  38. danielbalc said,

    I am having the worst time getting focused today….

    Here is another bit I saw in the Denver news of all places…
    “As if that wasn’t enough karmic assistance, there was also this: Commissioner Roger Goodell originally suspended Marshall for three games. Without explanation, he subsequently shortened it to one. It’s not going too far out on a limb to say the Broncos might have had trouble getting to 39 points without Marshall’s 18 catches.”

    Or this one that was pointed out on the radio last night…

    the clock was a huge factor at the end of the game.
    coming out of the 2 minute warning the Broncos ran a play, 1 play,
    an 11 yard pass to Marshall from the San Diego 13 to the 2 yard line. When the officials noticed the clock wasn’t running so they arbitrarily picked a time they thought that play took and started the clock again.

    What time did they start the clock at????
    1:24

    An 11 yard pass play took 38 seconds off the clock? That’s insane.
    The next play was a run followed by the fateful cutler fumble just 8 seconds later! a run took 8 seconds off the clock but an 11 yard pass took 38?

    Had the Chargers had an extra 10 or 15 seconds don’t you think they could have gotten into field goal range? Chambers toe was about an inch and a half away from that anyways. ugghhh soo frustrating.

  39. danielbalc said,

    I hope Goodell cuts Cooper’s suspension short for no reason now.

  40. Matt said,

    Here is VP of officiating talking about the screwups last week.

    http://www.nfl.com/videos?videoId=09000d5d80ae6b20

  41. Matt said,

    And then this….

    Who got an email back?

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3594778

  42. danielbalc said,

    As disturbing as the Hock hack is I am quite frankly more bothered by the “equipment malfunction” on the Chum bailey “interception”. The VP explains it as a “cracked hard drive” but then how in the world did they get it fixed by the 4th quarter?

    And the bigger and more important question is why isn’t the referee permitted to use TV equipment it the official NFL equipment isn’t working. My understanding is that the official NFL equipment utilizes every camera in the stadium (with the exception of tape being used by NFL films or Bill Belicheck) and thus gives the Ref the use of all possible angles. But if there is a monitor near by that can only give him one angle and that angle is enough to go on then why don’t they make a provision in the rules to use that monitor? OR just have the upstairs booth call it as is the case in NCAA. It’s silly to have just one guy on the field be making the call anyways. Even the new baseball replay has 3 umps go down to watch the video while one stays on the field to maintain order.

  43. danielbalc said,

    Who got an email back?

    I haven’t. And my email wasn’t even that rude.

  44. Matt said,

    Yea that really bothers me as well.

    The whole point of the replay system is to get the call right but when the equipment malfunctions its ok to just throw your hands in the air and say, “Oh well nothing we can do play stands as called.” instead of having contigency plans in place.

    Incredible.

  45. Pablo Honey said,

    Hochuli speaks!

    As I was reading online this week about how bad Ed Hochuli was feeling about the blown call and that he was responding to emailers with apologies I started to feel bad about the email I sent him. Unlike Daniel’s my email was hostile and I feel like I was very rude to Ed. My conscience got the best of me and yesterday I wrote Ed an email apologizing for my first angry email. A few minutes ago my blackberry was buzzing and when I opened my messages I see an email from Edward Hochuli. Here’s what he had to say:

    Thanks so much for your email. I will learn from this mistake and move on, but this one will live with me for a long, long time.

    Ed Hochuli

    I feel bad for the man as everyone is piling on him now. He did make a mistake, a BIG one. But the fact is that he has a tough job and once he made the mistake there was no way to undo what he had done under the current rules. Hopefully all this will lead to drastic reform of the replay system. In the meantime I am gonna lay off Ed.

  46. Matt said,

    I just like the fact that EVERYONE in the media and elsewhere talk about the play as “taking a win away from San Diego.”

    At least Denver has to live with the fact that they lost so they can never feel too good about themselves no matter how they want to spin it.

  47. danielbalc said,

    Denver looks like a paper tiger. Once again they managed to get a lucky last minute victory at home.

    While my 5 and 11 prediction may be end up being my worst prediction I still have no fear of that team, especially when we get them here in December.

  48. Pablo Honey said,

    Agreed. Denver will likely struggle in the coming weeks when the weather gets rough and it is more difficult to put up big offensive numbers. Their defense is awful and they cannot afford to have a bad day offensively.

  49. danielbalc said,

    Denver will likely struggle in the coming weeks when the weather gets rough

    Wrong…

    NFL schedule makers helped them out with that as well. After November 2 the Broncos only play 3 games at home, and on the road only the Nov 6 (cleveland) and Nov 30 (jets) games look like bad weather possibilities.

  50. danielbalc said,

    The Raiders fire Kiffin…

    STUPID.

    He had them on the verge of relevance again. They were just seconds away from earning a very difficult cross country victory against a team that many are starting to realize may be the best team in the AFC.

    Unbelievable how stupid Al Davis is.

    But hey, that’s good for Charger fans.

  51. Pablo Honey said,

    How is that wrong? 5 of their 8 second half games will likely be played in poor weather.

  52. danielbalc said,

    One more NFL note…

    The trickery that Miami employed to help them destroy new england could not have worked last season. I am totally convinced that NE wasn’t just stealing defensive signals but in fact had employees spying out opponents midweek practices.

    It is quite possible that the NFL’s punishment on them has caused them to rethink this practice and try to win games the old fashioned way. Well when a team starts throwing bizarre option plays like Miami did it’s pretty tough to adjust.

    What an embarrassing loss for the patriots.

  53. Matt said,

    Looks like Kevin O’Connell should be starting when they come to San Diego in a few weeks unless they decide to bring in a veteran and get him ready during their bye week.

    Cassell is a joke.

    I am pumped for tonight’s game as resounding win will go along way to quiet the critics and give us some confidence approaching a very winnable part of our schedule.

    Also, the AFC is coming back to the pack a little so we are in fine shape for a home field advantage as Indy, Pitt, and the Pats all have losses. Denver is overrated, and the Bills and Titans can’t be that good, right?

  54. danielbalc said,

    What I mean is that when you look at the schedule it seems obvious that the road games with potentially poor weather are played the earliest on the schedule…
    (KC on 9/28 NE on 10/20 CLE on 11/6).

    of course the flip side sees them having to play more road games at the back end of the schedule. And for a team that is just barely winning at home those final 5 games could be very tough (@ NYJ, KC, @ Car, Buff, @SD). I see them going 1 and 4 through that stretch.

    speaking of travel games. Did you hear that Arizona is staying all week on the east coast this week? that’s a really good move. Arizona staff recognizes the difficulty of the cross country travel. good foresight. They will beat the Jets next week.

  55. Pablo Honey said,

    Arizona just needs to make sure that all the players are accounted for as NFL players aren’t typically model citizens and keeping them in hotels for a week can be a recipe for disaster if they aren’t watched. Also it is very draining to be away from your family for a whole week so I hope that the players with family have flown them out there and are staying with them. If they can keep their focus they should definitely beat the Jets who will have 3 days less time on the east coast when they get home Tuesday.

  56. Goldminers said,

    Who would have guessed that the Niners would have a better record (2-1) than the Chargers (0-2) at this point. Ahhh…sweet. Yes, I know it won’t last.

  57. danielbalc said,

    Well I did predict the niners would be 2 and 1 right now. I also predicted the Chargers would be 1 and 1 (2 and 1 after tonight). So I guess I predicted them to have the same record.

    but you’re right I didn’t have the 49ers with a better record.

    it looks like Mike Martz is doing something right.

  58. danielbalc said,

    saw on monday night countdown that saints coach sean payton called to the league office to complain about a very significant non-call in their loss to the Broncos.

    It was the third and 1 play they failed to convert that led to the missed field goal. Denver linebacker was clearly in the neutral zone when the ball was snapped. A 5 yard penalty that would have been a first down and allowed NO to try to get closer, run out clock and perhaps win the game.

    oops.

  59. Matt said,

    Wow just saw this on SportsCenter and wow I mean wow.

    The NFL has some explaining to do. They better speak up and protect the integrity of the game because right about now I am thinking Shanahan and the Bronco’s front office have paid alot of money to insure themselves a Super Bowl trip.

    Wow just wow.

  60. danielbalc said,

    Here are my quarter of the season chargers thoughts: (BTW have you ever heard so many analysit use the term “quarter pole”? Seems like every thing I hear on the radio, see on the TV and read in print has this horse racing expression all over it. It reminds me of a couple of years ago during march madness when every talking head used the term “frenetic” 50 times a game. MEMO to sports writers, talkers and “analysts” The only thing horse racing and football have in common is the owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Team records after 4 games is irrelevant! (Actually it’s irrelevant in horse racing too)

    1. Those who think the Chargers are “not a good football team” (UT columnist Nick Canepa) are suffering from the delusion of unrealistic expectations. Those of us who expected the first two games of the season to be very tough matchups realize that in the NFL it’s not an easy thing to win football games. Occasionally a game will look easy, but this isn’t like college where Ohio State gets to play Akron. It’s the very best 1696 players in the world evenly distributed into 32 different teams.
    All these writers who talk about the Chargers and the cowboys being the most “talented” teams in the league are confused by what “talent” really means. In the ultimate team sport, like football is, individual talent is far below the importance of teamwork.
    Do the Chargers look like a team that is on the same page, like a team that is working together with everyone doing their part? I say yes they do. In the NFL whenever mistakes are made it’s the other team’s job to exploit those mistakes. So far the few mistakes the Chargers have made have been exploited. That has allowed carolina and denver to win games they really shouldn’t have won and yesterday it allowed oakland to stay in a game.

    My feeling is that A) those mistakes are going to continue to decrease and B) Other teams are not going to capitalize on them as much as they have the first 4 games.

    2. Lets focus on those mistakes for a moment. First of all the biggest mistake yesterday game from Tim Dobbins failing to cover the tight end, Zack Miller on a deep pass that went for a 63 yard TD. Erase that play and the Raiders gain just over 200 yards passing (53 of them coming in garbage time as the raiders trailed by 10 with 1 minute remaining.) One big mistake totally skews the numbers.

    The second big mistake(s) were the interceptions thrown by Rivers. Intereceptions are almost always mistakes, because the advantage is clearly on the offense since they know exactly where to be going. On a few rare occasiaons balls will get tipped or take strange bounces that will lead to an int NOT being a mistake. but that wasn’t what happened with Rivers yesterday. He made some mistakes. He made them in part because the Raiders defense was constantly pressuring him, but regardless he needed to be smarter with the ball.

    This leads to the question of the O-line. Were they making mistakes? yes and no. A couple of plays they had some obvious mistakes (the fumble that led to a safety was clearly a missed block by Tolbert (not technically and O-line mistake but still). Other times they are just beaten. Most notable was the Raiders nose tackle blowing up Nick Hardwick for a sack. That play doesn’t happen if Hardwick is healthy and has played all 4 games this season.

    Through 4 games this season the O-line has looked above average for pass protection but below average for run blocking. That will change now that hardwick and McNiel are back. give them 2 games to get things together and I predict by the time the Chargers get back from London LT will look like the LT we all expect (averaging 5 yards per carry, 120 yards per game 1.8 TD’s per game)

    The only other looming problem is the special teams coverage. This is mostly about the injuries at linebacker that have thrust guys like Dobbins and Harris into the starting defense. They are not focusing on their ST duties. Kassim Osgood even called guys out for this last week, and he should know. Kassim has made a career out of being a special teams standout. He’s technically a wide receiver but his contributions at special teams make him more valuable then (arguably) every wide receiver on the team. But he can’t do it alone. He needs the other guys on the team to buy into the importance and when they are getting a chance to play Defense instead they seem to lose focus.

    3. On the positive side yesterday the Chargers had to dig deep and win a game at the end by holding off the other team. This is something they failed to do by mere inches in the first 2 games but now they can get their confidence back because they did it decidedly yesterday. Winning a game like this is more important to the overall psyche of the team then beating up on a team like the Jets. It shows you that you CAN win, no matter what the circumstances.

    4. The schedule doesn’t get any easier until after the bye week. Going cross country is always hard, going across oceans is even harder. If the Chargers can take the next 4 games (@miami, NE, @Buff, @ london against NO) and go 2 and 2 into the bye weeek at 4 and 4 they will have a lot of critics calling this team “overrated” and “out coached” and “too into their hype” and all kinds of other garbage that simply is untrue. A lot of folks will be jumping off the bandwagon. People will be calling for Billy Volek to be starting saying stuff like, “it will help Philip Rivers in the long run” (Ask the Rams about that technique).

    But 4 and 4 at the half way point will be alright with me. From the last game in November till the end of the regular season the Chargers will win at least 4 out of 5 games which will be plenty good enough to get us into the post season provided we can win 2 out of the next 4.

    So hear me now and listen to me later bandwagoners. This team is looking just fine to be in the superbowl this year and will still be looking fine even after a 4 and 4 first half. Buy your tickets to Tampa Bay!

  61. Pablo Honey said,

    I am amazed at how unlucky we have been this year. Ignoring the last minute TD by the Panthers and even the give away game by Hochuli, each week the Chargers seem to be facing teams that are primed to breakout.

    We had the Jets on the first week that they decided to air it out and open up the offense, always a dangerous proposition especially the way our secondary was playing up till then. We got the Raiders when they were clearly rallying around their coach and playing their hardest. Now we have to go across country to play a Dolphins team that is riding high after demolishing New England and is going to be well rested and has had an extra week to add countless more high school plays to their offensive playbook. Who wants to bet that something dramatic happens with the Patriots next week to have them pumped up to play us.

    All that being said I completely agree that this team is getting much better, and when we start playing complete games we will definitely be scaring the league. The most encouraging piece from yesterday’s game was the run defense. The Raiders came into the game averaging over 5 yards per carry on the ground and our run D held them to 3.1 ypc. If our run defense can maintain that level of play we are going to start blowing people out.

  62. Goldminers said,

    Al Davis is an idiot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  63. Matt said,

    That press conference is must see TV.

    We all knew Al Davis was nuts but that was beyond comprehension.

    I cannot believe this type of ridiculious drama is being played out on a professional sports team.

    He must be tired of paying all the coaches he has fired after they are gone and decided this time he was going to make up a bunch of lies (and write a letter ha ha) to get out of the contract.

    Kiffin was his best coach since John Gruden and it is not close, he is crazy for firing him.

    Hillarious.

    The good news is the Chargers have 2 automatic wins every year for the foreseable future.

  64. danielbalc said,

    Train wreck: You don’t want to watch but you can’t turn away.

  65. EscoWhitey said,

    Check this out:

    1) The Dolphins are 13-12 all time against the Chargers. Miami has won six straight games against the Chargers.
    2) The last time the Chargers beat the Dolphins in Miami was that great playoff game in 1982. The last time they beat the Dolphins in the regular season was 1980.
    3) The Dolphins are 20-4 against the AFC West since 1997.

    Games and results:
    10/02/66 — at San Diego 44, Miami 10
    11/12/67 — at San Diego 24, Miami 0
    12/10/67 — at Miami 41, San Diego 24
    11/03/68 — at San Diego 34, Miami 28
    10/11/69 — San Diego 21, at Miami 14
    10/15/72 — at Miami 24, San Diego 10
    09/29/74 — Miami 28, at San Diego 21
    11/30/77 — San Diego 14, at Miami 13
    10/15/78 — Miami 28, at San Diego 21
    11/20/80 — San Diego 27, at Miami 24 (OT)
    01/02/82 — San Diego 41, at Miami 38 (OT) (Playoff game)
    01/16/83 — at Miami 34, San Diego 13 (Playoff game)
    11/18/84 — at San Diego 34, Miami 28 (OT)
    09/07/86 — at San Diego 50, Miami 28
    10/16/88 — at Miami 31, San Diego 28
    12/15/91 — at San Diego 38, Miami 30
    01/10/93 — at Miami 31, San Diego 0 (Playoff game)
    12/27/93 — at San Diego 45, Miami 20
    01/08/95 — at San Diego 22, Miami 21 (Playoff game)
    12/19/95 — Miami 24, at San Diego 14
    12/19/99 — at Miami 12, San Diego 9
    11/12/00 — Miami 17, at San Diego 7
    11/24/02 — at Miami 30, San Diego 3
    10/27/03 — Miami 26, at San Diego 10 (Tempe, Ariz.)
    12/11/05 — Miami 23, at San Diego 21

  66. Matt said,

    We will win this week if we have the lead at the end of the first quarter.

    We need to start fast and put points up early to get our confidence up and take the crowd out of it.

    If start like we did last week we will lose.

    Very simple.

  67. danielbalc said,

    Information I was already aware of but thanks anyways Rob. It’s for that exact reason that in my preseason predictions I had the Chargers losing to the Dolphins this week.

    I consider this game a toss up. Obviously the Chargers are a better team but west coast teams playing at 10AM always struggle. The fish have had a lot of success over Bolts in Miami. It is not going to be easy.

  68. danielbalc said,

    Unfortunately I am 4 and 1 in my preseason predictions so far. I had a very bad feeling about traveling to Miami.

    I’m not impressed with the offensive play calling for 2 weeks in a row now. It is all too predictable. Either it’s short runs or deep passes.

    The 4th and 1 play I still think was the right move and probably even the right play call but Mike Tolbert showed he is a rookie as two guys jumped around either side of him leaving virtually every other player laying on the ground and him standing there looking at all the guys he failed to block.

    I like Tolbert’s speed and athleticism but that was a play where we missed Lo-Neal’s power and determination.

    I’m not ready to panic. But the next 3 games are indeed the hardest part of the schedule.

    New England has decided to mitigate the jet lag experience by staying on the west coast all week up in northern California. That sucks because it would have been a big time advantage to have them going back and forth. Hopefully the week in a strange bed won’t help them either.

    As I said before. if we get to the bye week at 4 and 4 I like our chances. 2 out of the next 3 is the target!

  69. Matt said,

    With games still left in Buffalo, Tampa and London we better figure out how to start playing with intensity and focus from the start.

    We cannot keep putting ourselves in a hole every road game and expect to win.

    The 4th and 1 was wrong. We needed to take the points and keep the momentum on our side. We had them on the ropes and whole quarter left to play.

    Stopping us gave all the momentum and confidence back to them and totally deflated our team. We seem to get into panic mode way too early this year and that is disconcerting.

  70. danielbalc said,

    The 4th and 1 proved to be NOT wrong seeing as how we were unable to score again.

    The problem was two fold…
    A) the execution was lacking
    B) the play was too predictable. Miami DE Vonnie Holliday said, “They lined up as we expected, and they ran where we expected.”

    even still we make a yard on that play 9 out of 10 times last season with Lo-neal blocking.

    We then had them shut down in their endzone and they get a gift Pass Interference call to keep the drive alive. Without that questionable call we get the ball back at the 50 with another shot to score 7 and tie the game up.

    but they got that call and the defense looked beat after that. but even still we had another offensive shot to drive down and we ended up stalling out around midfield. That was probably the most disheartening portion of the game.

    so no I absolutley disagree that you take 3 from the 1 foot line.

    Panic mode is throwing it deep when a long sustaining drive will do the trick. Panic mode isn’t going for the tie on 4th and a foot.

    so i agree there was panic evident later on, but that wasn’t the play to call panic.

  71. Anthony said,

    I liked the 4th and 1 call. I said go for it, go for the win now. Of course, they choked and then the defense fell apart. Denver looks to have some hard games coming up too. I think San Diego has the West still.

  72. Matt said,

    Faulty logic my friend.

    I say we did not score again because the wind was taken out of our sails and our momentum was lost when we failed to score on the 4th and 1 play.

    Had we kicked the FG and kept the pressure on the ‘fins to respond it would have been a different game. They would have been under pressure to sustain a drive.

    Take the points.

  73. danielbalc said,

    Clark Judge of cbssports gets it…
    Seattle gets drilled by the New York Giants, San Diego is surprised by Miami, and I’m wondering if the NFL doesn’t need to rethink its scheduling. Here’s why: Both games were 10 a.m. starts on the West Coast, and that’s a huge disadvantage to the visiting teams. It’s much easier to go east to west without suffering the consequences than it is to reverse that path, so make the games 4:05 p.m. starts in the east. Let me put it this way: How would you like the Giants or Patriots or, I dunno, Dallas playing at 10 a.m. local time? Of course, you wouldn’t. It’s tough enough to win on the road, without having to do it in the morning. When western teams (and I include Arizona) play 1 p.m. games in the east this season they’re 0-5, and that doesn’t include the Cards’ loss to the Jets after staying east for a week. So cut them some slack. Move the games back.

  74. Pablo Honey said,

    I dasagree Matt. Going for it on 4th was the right call. They did it knowing that if we failed to get it we would have them pinned back and they would have to run out of a base offense instead of their single wing formation.

    They were only having success against us when the single wing was being mixed in so forcing them into a base offense was a great thing for our defense. Our defense had also been playing well in the 2nd half to that point.

    The defense did their job and the deflating blow was the 3rd and long pass interference call on Clinton Hart.

    The thing that concerns me is the offensive line and WR play. As I was following the game online I thought that Rivers was playing poorly, but then I saw a condensed game it seemed like every play Rivers was under a lot of pressure or the WR’s were absolutely blanketed. Why can’t the WR’s get open? Even on the successful long pass plays they were results of either great catches with tough coverage (40+ yarder to Jackson) or near perfect throws to tough spots (TD to Chambers.) Last week we chalked up the poor pass production to a highly improved Raiders defense, but 2 weeks in a row? I know Miami’s defense is decent but there is no way that we should have only thrown for 142 net yards on 28 attempts! My diagnosis lines up with Daniel in that the play calling is very poor right now. Let’s mix it up!

  75. Pablo Honey said,

    It is a good point by Clark Judge, but one that has been obvious to west coast teams and fans for years!

    I think a better solution to the problem than staying on the east coast like the Cardinal’s did would be to move up your weekly schedule 3 hours every day the week before you travel east. Then fly out to on Thursday afternoon, having Friday practice in the eastern time zone. It is not impossible to set your body’s clock 3 hours ahead when you are starting early in the morning and working out and practicing hard all day. The lighting may cause a few disruptions, but it couldn’t hurt to try. I wonder if anyone has every tried this.

  76. Matt said,

    Clark Judge always gets it and is my favorite reporter. This does not bode well for us, however, as we have 2 more east coast games and 1 game in London. Yikes.

  77. danielbalc said,

    Why can’t the WR’s get open?

    out coached.

    We are telegraphing the plays. I can’t get over that quote from the Miami DE. “They lined up as we expected, and they ran where we expected.”

    that’s unacceptable. You can’t do what is expected and expect to win.

    This may have been an intentional effort to not tip our hand to the patriots thinking we could beat Oakland and Miami with vanilla offensive play calling. I can understand that logic, but it backfired in this game and now the Patriot game looks like a must win.

    One thing is for sure the offense we see on Sunday won’t be anything like the one we saw last yesterday.

  78. Pablo Honey said,

    BTW, since 2003 west coast teams playing in the eastern or central time zones are 31-101 a .235 winning percentage. Playing away games in Pacific/Mountain time zones they are 24-35, a .407 winning percentage. Pretty impressive especially considering the Raiders are bringing down the average with a 1-11 record during that time frame.

  79. Pablo Honey said,

    “last yesterday” Awesome. I am going to start saying this all the time.

  80. danielbalc said,

    hahaha. oops

    but those numbers sure don’t lie.

  81. danielbalc said,

    Very enjoyable game last night. But I think I speak on behalf of football fans everywhere when i ask, “Why didn’t the Chargers run up the score?” Last year New England made a habit of running up the score when the contest had clearly been decided. While a few fantasy owners and a whole bunch of obnoxious new englaners seemed to enjoy this kind of practice the rest of America simply grew disenchanted with a team once considered lovable (when they beat the Rams in the 2001 super bowl I think almost everyone was pulling for the pats. My how the humble have fallen?).

    Last year the running up the score faded down the stretch and the Patriots were able to just barely pull out victories against lesser opponents like the Eagles and Ravens. It finally came to a head with an incredibly unlikely super bowl loss to the New York Giants.

    But still in everyone’s mind this year was going to be the year of even greater vengeance for Billicheat. We expected him to redefine “poor sport” by throwing 60 passes even when leading 40-0 in the 4th quarter.

    Then pretty boy goes down with an injury and America rejoices. This is the time we will not only beat the Patriots but we will rub their faces in it, laughing all the way.

    And so was the case last night. The Chargers had plenty of opportunity to “pile on” but instead they did the traditional football standards of run, run, run, kick. The classy thing. The sportsmanship thing. The right way to play the game.

    I agree, that’s how it “should” be played, but if any opponent deserved to not be treated with respect it was this one.

    Billicheat remained bitter till the bitter end. Calling a timeout with 2 seconds left in the game to try and cut the deficit from 20 to 13. WHY? why risk another player getting hurt? Why bother? What the heck was he trying to prove?

    To me that was simply a reiteration of why we should have inflated the score. We should have kept picking on the sorriest corner in the league and the guy who might actually be sorrier than the sorriest corner in the league.

    That’s just my opinion. Anyone else feel the same?

    BTW does anyone really believe that the Broncos are better than the Chargers?

  82. danielbalc said,

    I can’t believe I was ever a fan of the cheap shot king Rodney Harrison. Here is his whiny little quote about how hard life is without Brady…

    “When you remove the best quarterback in the National Football League, of course, they’re [licking] their lips,”

    “They’re excited because they feel like we lost an integral part or the most important part of our team.

    “But we realize that’s over and done with. We can’t harp on that. This year is totally different than last year. We’re not going to score 38 points a game. We’re not going to blow people out by 25 points at halftime. It’s just not going to happen.

    “We don’t have that type of team. So we’re going to have to go back to ways of fighting, scrapping and just fighting for every single bit of yardage, every single bit of victory that we can get.”

    waaaa poor baby.

    memo to Rodney, YOU PLAY DEFENSE! Tom Brady being absent has nothing to do with your side of the ball giving up 30 points. Why are you talking about how many points your team is or is not going to score? It has nothing to do with you. Why are you talking about fighting for every single bit of yardage?

    (but thanks for defining what the word “integral” means, I’m sure that will help New England fans)

  83. danielbalc said,

    And the sorriest corner in the league added this beauty…

    “We’ve got to come together as a team. There’s going to be speculation. There’s going to be down talk. But the thing is we’ve just got to stay focused. There’s some pluses out of this game. What they are? I’ve got to look at the film. But, especially the life of a DB, just block it out and keep playing. You know what you’ve got to do. Just do it better.”

  84. Matt said,

    What their offense did for their defense last year was hide the fact that they are old, slow and not very talented by outscoring everyody.

    Not this year and now their defense is being exposed for what it is, bad.

    It also shows how average the rest of the roster is (both offense and defense) without their all-world QB. That must be a tough pill to swallow for all those guys who had an over-inflated view of their own ability.

  85. Goldminers said,

    Forget last night and wanting to run up the score. Nice win but it’s only one win. Next game is a tough one. Long travel, playing a team coming off a bye and a good team. I would be worried. They better be focused.

  86. danielbalc said,

    I would be worried.

    Of course I am (about this trip, not about the season). So far on my pre-season projections for the Chargers I am 5 and 1!

    The only game I was wrong on was the Carolina opener and I knew that would be a very close game.

    I’m not in the habit of changing my predictions so I will rely on what I said in August…

    Oct 19 @Buffalo 10:00am
    Another trip I am not looking forward to. Chargers find a way to pull it out on a last second field goal.
    Chargers 24 Bills 22

    I accurately predicted the Chargers would lose in Miami because I foresaw that playing games at 10AM is the great equalizer. I knew it wouldn’t be easy for the Chargers going across the country playing a team coming off a bye and that’s exactly what we are doing again this week! When will the NFL schedule makers stop those kind of shenanigans? You would think with the ridiculous travel schedule the Chargers take on going to London and the East coast 4 times that we wouldn’t ever have to play a team coming off a bye. Quite the contrary. We have 2. I haven’t looked it up but I’m sure there are at least 5 teams who never play a team coming off a bye, let alone go across the country to face a team coming off a bye.

    The Chargers are now just a game behind the extremely overrated Broncos and get to play them at home.

    Broncos next 4 weeks are @ NE, Bye, home against Miami @ Cleveland
    Chargers next 4 are @ Buffalo, @ New Orleans (London), Bye, Home against KC

    I think the Chargers will be tied after 4 weeks (3 games)

    BTW the other most overrated team in the league is the Tennessee Titans.

    Here is how they have gotten to undefeated…
    Jax 10 -Ten 17
    Ten 24- Cin 7
    Hou 12 – Ten 31
    Min 17- Ten 30
    Ten 13 -Bal 10
    Opponents combined record… 9 and 19. Opponents combined ave points per game is a little over 18.
    Chargers opponents are a combined 17 and 15 and combined average points per game is 22.

    Who you play, where you play and when you play matters.

    The Titans will lose 3 of their next 5 games. Mark that.

  87. danielbalc said,

    BTW goldminers,

    Your SF team is toast. f they couldn’t manage to squeak out a victory over back to back teams coming from across the country then they have no buisiness thinking they can make the playoffs. They will get two more chances when NY and Washington come to town near the end of the season but it’s catastrophic to not take advantage of those cross country trips.

    The worst part is that they were winnable games with the defense giving it up at the end. bummer. At 4 and 2 they would have been tied with AZ right now. But 2 games behind the Cardinals who are riding high doesn’t look very promising.

    The good news is the seahawks are ruined and the rams despite lucking into a win, are not good at all. So that’s 3 wins you can hope for.

  88. Goldminers said,

    You’re right. They are done. I am very disappointed with the 49ers. They have let too many games get away from them. The play of the QB is terrible. They will be lucky to make it to 8-8 this year. Not only did he cost the Niners the game on Sunday he almost cost me a fantasy win. A fantasy win I needed very badly now that my QB is out for a few weeks.

  89. danielbalc said,

    “after further review, pats came closer than score”

    This is crazy talk…
    http://www.patriots.com/search/index.cfm?ac=searchdetail&pid=34484&pcid=41&rss=1

  90. Pablo Honey said,

    Look for a big win in Buffalo on Sunday, the Chargers have taken my advice and moved their schedules up this week to adjust their internal clocks to east coast time.

  91. danielbalc said,

    Along those lines please check out my comment under the NFL conspiracy theory…

    https://danielbalc.wordpress.com/2008/09/18/nfl-conspiracy-theory/#comment-6174

    although I must warn you the facts are quite disturbing.

  92. Matt said,

    Soooo another East coast trip and another loss. Our defense just does not play with the same passion and energy on the road as they do at home and it is really hurting us right now.

    If they could have forced a punt after we scored to go up 1 late in the 3rd Q it would have been a different outcome. We just cannot play a complete game on the road and that is frustrating

    Our remaining schedule:

    Saints-London
    KC-Home
    Steelers-Away
    Indy-Home
    Atlanta-Home
    Oakland-Home
    KC-Away
    Tampa Bay-Away
    Denver-Home

    I figure we need to go 7-2 the rest of the way to ensure a playoff spot (and most likely a division title) although 9-7 might get us in as a wild card.

    I can definitely see us losing to the Steelers and the Bucs and this game in London could go either way which means we have to beat the remaining teams which include home wins against Indy and Denver.

    Not going to be easy but definitely doable. Obviously we have the majority of our games at home which is huge we just need to steal a few wins on the road and we will be fine.

  93. danielbalc said,

    The game turned on 4th and 1 at their 40 early in the 4th quarter.

    You have to go for that. They didn’t and even though the punt “looked” like a good decision pinning them back at their 1, it dramatically limited our offensive opportunities. If you go for it on 4th and 1 and they stop you, good for them, but when you stop yourself by not even trying. That’s on you.

    Also noteworthy was the play immediately before where Sproles ran himself out of bounds in view of the down marker. Either he didn’t understand the down and distance or he figured it was a situation where the offense would have gone for it. who knows. It was bad though.

    In a game where the lead keeps changing you have to keep up otherwise you lose.

    My feeling is that the failure to go for it on 4th and 1 also led to the terrible interception by Rivers during the next possession. That in fact was the play that ended the game for us. Rivers rarely ever makes such bad decisions. But maybe in the back of his head was a sense of desperation. I don’t know. It was just so unlike him to chuck a ball into coverage like that.

    When i look back at my predictions I didn’t have the Chargers having their 4th loss until a month from now. But that’s because I figured that after last year they had figured out how to win these close games. They clearly haven’t. (By They I mean Norv). The good news about the remaining schedule is this…

    Next week in London is a neutral site. So while the time change hurts a lot the home field advantage is taken away from the saints.

    After that the only 10AM game is in KC on December 14th. That is likely to be a very difficult matchup even against a stinky KC team.

    When we go to Pittsburgh we play at 115 pacific.

    When we go to Tampa we play at 515 pacific (unless due to flex scheduling they take that game away which would be a disaster).

    So after this London game the time change thing will finally become easier.

  94. Anthony Settergren said,

    Assuming the Chargers beat Denver, KC twice, and Oakland, they will be 7-8. In order to make the playoffs they will at least need 9-7, meaning they need to win 2 of the following games.

    @Steelers
    Colts
    Atlanta
    @Tampa Bay

    That is a very tall order. Also, 9-7 may not be good enough depending on how Denver plays.

    I think the season is over, realistically speaking.

    Atlanta would be the easiest game of the 4, but Matt Ryan is turning out to be a very good rookie QB, and against our horrid defense, he could shred it.

    Of course, homers will predict 10-6 easy, by beating Atlanta, Colts, and the Bucs. Which is insane.

  95. Matt said,

    Unless these players on defense start playing better (which may or may not be possible, i.e. they may be playing as well as possible already) we will not make the playoffs.

    Norv has been talking all week about how the players are in position to make plays they just need to make them. They need to be better than the person that lines up across from them. Right now that is not the case anywhere on the field.

    This defense has been exposed this season as being very average without the all-world Merriman creating havoc. He is a huge difference maker that frees up everyone else to make plays and now that he is gone no one on our defense scares anybody.

    Seriously how many times have you heard Shaun Phillips name called this year? How about Igor Olshansky? Or Castillo? This defense is built on being able to pressure the QB and it is not happening at all.

    No pressure. No sacks. No turnovers. That is a recipe for an average football team even if your offense is ridiculously good.

    I would like to think that they can play better but the more I watch the more I believe they are playing up to their potential and their potential is not good enough.

    Tim Dobbins, Antwan Applewhite, Jyles Tucker, Ryan Bingham. These are not names that I want playing the majority of the snaps yet they are. Not good.

  96. Matt said,

    We need to finish 10-6 to assure us a playoff spot.

    I believe we will win our remaining home games. The only “good” teams we play at home are Indy which is a Sunday night game which we always play well in and Denver whose defense might be worse than ours and revenge will be on our minds.

    That leaves us room for 1 road loss. Assuming we can beat the Tyler Thigpen lead Chiefs in Arrowhead, we will need to either win on the road in Pittsburgh or Tampa.

    Fix the defense somehow and maybe we can do it.

  97. Pablo Honey said,

    I am still pretty confident we will make the playoffs this year. 9-7 should win our division no problem. If we sweep our remaining division games we will hold the tie-break over Denver and can probably finish 8-8 and make the playoffs. Here’s how I see it playing out:

    San Diego:
    Kansas City – W
    @ Pittsburgh – L
    Indianapolis – L
    Atlanta – W
    Oakland -W
    @ Kansas City – W
    @ Tampa Bay – L
    Denver – W

    Denver:
    Miami – W
    @ Cleveland – L
    @ Atlanta – L
    Oakland – W
    @ New York Jets – W
    Kansas City – W
    @ Carolina – L
    Buffalo – L
    @ San Diego – L

    What’s pathetic is that I can honestly see a scenario where we both finish 7-9 and we still make the playoffs. The reality right now is that this team still has a good shot at making the playoffs, but absolutely NO shot at making or winning the Super Bowl.

    The defense is bad. Really, really, really bad. As Matt pointed out we are running out a bunch of 3rd stringers and it shows. The offense cannot carry the team every time. Yesterday when Drew Brees reached 20 pass attempts Philip Rivers was at 2. Our offense is under an insane amount of pressure knowing if they do not score they are going to be facing a bigger hole next time out because the other offense is practically guaranteed at least 3 points.

    The coaching staff needs to wake up. I am not a big fan of firing coaches in mid-season but they are doing a terrible job. The game plan is bad, but the penalties are completely out of control. You cannot win games when you are penalized over 140 yards. I was not able to watch the game on TV yesterday so I followed online. It seemed like every play there was either a personal foul or an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Chargers. It is out of control. Fix it now!

  98. danielbalc said,

    I’m not on the “Defense is really bad” bandwagon.

    Yes we gave up 37 points yesterday.
    but lets really look at the points allowed per game..

    CAR-26
    DEN-39
    NYJ- 29
    OAK- 18
    MIA- 17
    NE- 10
    BUF- 23
    NO- 37
    now lets look at those teams ave points per game…

    CAR-21.7
    DEN-24.7
    NYJ- 26
    OAK- 15.2
    MIA- 20.7
    NE- 21.8
    BUF- 23.5
    NO- 27

    Outside of the Denver and the NO losses we were right in line with the averages for the other teams. In other words the D isn’t really really bad. It’s just average.

    the offense on the other hand is the best in the league! The best offense in the league and an average defense SHOULD be better than 3 and 5.

    How do you get to 3-5 with the best O and an average D?
    bad breaks…
    Tough road games, Bad calls and a couple of missed tackles and missed catches and you find yourself losing games you should have won.

    The record for West coast teams playing on the east coast is now 0 and 9. 0 and 10 if you count the Chargers in London.

    As for the officials yesterday? There is NO doubt in my mind that they were told to call ticky tack PI’s in an effort to increase the scoring. This game was mandated by the league office to be a shootout after what happened in London last year. It was also clear that since the saints were losing the home field advantage that the calls were going to give the advantage back to them.

    Call me a homer and a sore loser and whatever else but from what I saw the Chargers were getting SCREWED on everything from pass interference’s to excessive celebrations to phantom holds.

    All that being said they were still in postion to win the game when Norv killed us again!
    The failuire of the coaches to get a play in to Rivers in time is the worst. This simply cannot happen in the nfl. especially without crowd noise that would usually be on the road! That made me soooooo angry. I don’t know how norv can live this one down.

    the wasted time out cost us 40 seconds! Those 40 seconds would have come in pretty handy as we had to huck a hail mary from the 50. 40 seconds from the 50 is plenty of time.

    Anyway I don’t think they are out of it. I agree with pablo that they have to win out at home and win in either pitt or Tampa. I think both are winnable because they are late games (4 and 8). If they were 1 games I would say no chance. Here is the scary part. The chargers may lose the evening game against tampa to flex scheduling. This would be a disaster. Philly plays Was, Buff plays Den and Pitt plays Ten. I am willing to bet they make it a steelers titans matchup and we get dropped to another death game.

  99. danielbalc said,

    BTW 3 members of the saints shouldn’t have even been playing in that game because of steroids violations.

    interesting.

  100. Matt said,

    There is no way we are going to sniff the Super Bowl with this defense and that is all anyone cares about in this town. But it is fixable if the coaches will just get their heads out of you know where!

    1) Put pressure on the QB- If we can’t get pressure with rushing 4 then blitz and blitz some more and blitz some more.

    2) STOP PLAYING THIS STUPID ZONE DEFENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Play tight man to man coverage as we have very good corners who can lockdown their men for a few seconds just not 6-7 seconds like they are being asked to do now.

    This combination has worked in the past and the only reason I can come up with as to why we are not doing this is that the coaches do not believe they have the athletes in the front 7 to make it work.

    .

  101. Matt said,

    Daniel,

    We have given up the 5th most points per game and the 5th most yard per game in the league. Those are the 2 stats I care about.

    That is bad, not average.

  102. Goldminers said,

    “I’m not on the “Defense is really bad” bandwagon.”

    Wow! You’ve got to be kidding me? They are really bad. They are dead last in passing defense in the AFC. They can’t put pressure on the opposing QB. They can’t tackle or cover. In my book that translates to really bad.

  103. Pablo Honey said,

    I didn’t get to see the game on TV as the Cowboy game was on locally at the same time, but after watching a condensed game on NFL Network I have a couple observations:

    1. Daniel is absolutely right, from what I saw the Refs were gunning for the Chargers HARD. The PI call in the end zone was insane, GREAT coverage by Gordon. And what was with the Ref ruling that Gates was out of bounds on his TD catch? That wasn’t even close! And the unsportsmanlike conduct calls on both teams were insane. I think in addition to wanting a high scoring game the NFL was trying to come across as being professional and not looking like the players can do whatever they want. Instead they ended up making 2 of their highest appeal teams look very sloppy.

    2. No one is talking about it, but Darren Sproles needs to shoulder a large part of the blame for this loss too. The only player on the field who ever has an excuse for turning the ball over is the QB, as they are handling the ball far more than any other player and they are a sitting duck target to get hit and fumble and they have to put the ball in the air for a living. All other players should never fumble, especially on kick and punt returns when you know you are going to get hit. Also I watched his return of the safety punt and he completely outrun and ran away from his blockers. He had the whole right side open with 3 blockers and probably had a realistic shot at taking that punt back all the way but he got too greedy. Still it probably isn’t too likely he would have got a TD but I am pissed at him anyways.

    3. Our offense looks good. For the first time this season I saw the L.T. I expected to see. It looks to me like our offensive line is playing MUCH better, if they can keep it up we will be strong. And Philip Rivers is a total stud. His throws are totally on the money, and it seems like the receivers are always well covered so he is making some precision throws. Anyone who tries to blame Rivers for this loss is absolutely out of their mind. I love his deep ball throws and I hope that we keep challenging deep.

    I definitely believe we are going to win this division. We have had bad breaks and suffered through a tough schedule, but our division is bad and from what I saw from our offense we are going to start winning some games soon. Let’s just hope the defense can put it together soon because they are lousy.

  104. danielbalc said,

    OAK- 18
    MIA- 17
    NE- 10
    BUF- 23

    was this the really bad, awful, no-good, terrible defense that played in these games?
    That was the past 4 weeks before the second highest scoring team in the league put up 37 points on us in a game that was a total shootout.

    How did the defense go from being average for 4 weeks to being “really, really bad” in one week?

    I’m sorry but I am unwilling to sound the “lets fire the coaches” alarm after a game like we saw on Sunday. Again a game that was designed to be a shootout!

    in fact if we gave up the exact amount of points in the second half that we did in the first half, we would more than likely finish 6 and 2. look…

    KC-26
    Pitt-39
    Indy- 29
    Atl- 18
    Oak- 17
    KC- 10
    TB- 23
    Den- 37

    Honestly? We would probably lose to Pitt and maybe to Den or Indy but if I guaranteed you right now that was how many points we would be giving up to each of those teams I think you would take your chances on winning 6 games wouldn’t you?

  105. Pablo Honey said,

    I have been looking at the stats and thinking hard about the future of this team all morning and I am hopeful. The fact is our schedule has been brutal. We have only played 2 teams with a losing record, beating 1 handily (Oakland) and losing 1 close after we traveled all the way across the country (Miami).

    Realistically at this point in the season I cannot see the Chargers going worse than 6-2 over the 2nd half. I can tell you that I watched the Cowboys-Bucs game and there is NO way we should lose to the Buccaneers on the road in week 16. By the way Daniel we cannot lose that game to flex scheduling, week 16 is not a flex schedule week (weeks 10-15 & 17 are).

    All that being said we still need to be realistic here and agree that the defense MUST improve. Here is the most important stat – We have not recorded a turnover in 2 straight games or a sack in 3 straight. This MUST change. Cottrell is running the same defense as last year, a scheme that is designed to allow a lot of yards but create turnovers and sacks. It worked great last year, but that was with Merriman destroying offensive lines all year. The scheme has to change to suit the players we have now, if Cottrell can’t get this done he needs to get out of here.

  106. Pablo Honey said,

    VERY VERY VERY VERY good news from Chargers Park.

  107. Matt said,

    This is clearly great news.

    This tells me our defensive struggles have been more about scheme and less about ability of the players.

    I look for Riviera to come in and start playing good pressure defense with tight man to man coverage instead of this crappy bend but don’t break zone we have been in so much lately.

    The front office clearly believes (and rightfully so) that we have enough talent to go deep into the playoffs and also that we are not out of the race yet (thank you Denver for being terrible) and I am really excited that they had the guts to pull the trigger on a move like this and save our season.

  108. danielbalc said,

    question:

    If Weddle knocks down Delhomme’s last second TD pass
    If Hackulie doesn’t blow his whistle
    If the plays get in on time and Rivers throws a TD pass to force overtime in London

    If 1,2, or 3 of these happen does Cottrell get canned?

    If any one of these things happen we are 4-4.
    If two of them happen we are 5-3
    If all of them happen we are 6-2

    And what about the other 2 losses? At Miami the D gave up 17 points. At Buffalo they gave up 23.

    If we had scored on the 4th and goal in Miami does Cottrell get fired?
    If the offense converts a 4th and 1 at Buffalo’s 40 does Cottrell get the ax?

    The point is that the 5 losses could just as easily have been 5 wins had the offense done a better job in a couple of crucial places or had the coaching staff been more aggressive in play calling or had some very small things occurred. Little tiny things.

    Everyone who blames Cottrell for not being aggressive enough is crazy. The Chargers bltized at a much higher percentage than the average NFL team.

    They didn’t play a lot of man to man because the blitzing was ineffective. The rush wasn’t getting to the QB. That’s on the players not the play caller.

    I like Rivera, but I think he had as much to do with the defensive failures as anybody. The first two losses of the year came down to inside linebackers inability to cover their zone. Which also happened to be Rivera’s job to coordinate.

    I think Rivera may have been undercutting Cottrell. I think he was gradually getting players on to his side by putting in little blames here and there.

    I do think the defense will play better for him because he has stolen their allegiance.

    But I think next year he will do the same thing to Norv Turner.

    This is a coaching staff on a sandy foundation right now.

  109. Pablo Honey said,

    I agree with you Daniel. I definitely feel like Rivera has been undercutting Cottrell in an effort to get his job, but I don’t mind it because I like him better as the D.C. and I expect the players to respond to the change and the defense to perform at a high level now. I am guessing the campaign for Turner’s job has already begun for Rivera. If the defense plays well the rest of the year and we either miss the playoffs or fail to reach at least the championship game expect to see Rivera as our new head coach either in the offseason or sometime next year. Worse than that would be the defense continuing to play poorly and the entire coaching staff being on the hot seat.

  110. Matt said,

    This was the right move.

    Anybody who wants to defend this defense needs to get their head checked.

    The stats don’t lie.

    We are not sacking the QB enough. We are not creating enough turnovers. We ARE allowing too many yards per game. We ARE allowing too many points per game.

    Things needed to change.

    As far as Riviera undercutting Cottrell, this was the logical next step if the defense faltered. You are not going to have an established defensive coordinator\almost head coach be your linebackers coach for long. He was either getting this job or another job real soon.

    I also don’t think it was him going behind the back of Cottrell and creating a mutiny.

    I believe that once this team lost Merriman, they decided they could not play defense the same way and decided to change the scheme from attacking to more of a passive scheme and it is clearly not working.

    Our best bet at being successful is allowing our front seven to create pressure by exotic blitz packages and allowing Jammer, Cromartie, Weddle, and Cason to play aggressive man to man defense behind them.

  111. Matt said,

    This was the right move.

    Anybody who wants to defend this defense needs to get their head checked.

    The stats don’t lie.

    We are not sacking the QB enough. We are not creating enough turnovers. We ARE allowing too many yards per game. We ARE allowing too many points per game.

    Things needed to change.

    As far as Riviera undercutting Cottrell, this was the logical next step if the defense faltered. You are not going to have an established defensive coordinator\almost head coach be your linebackers coach for long. He was either getting this job or another job real soon.

    I also don’t think it was him going behind the back of Cottrell and creating a mutiny.

    I believe that once this team lost Merriman, they decided they could not play defense the same way and decided to change the scheme from attacking to more of a passive scheme and it is clearly not working.

    Our best bet at being successful is allowing our front seven to create pressure by exotic blitz packages and allowing Jammer, Cromartie, Weddle, and Cason to play aggressive man to man defense behind them.

  112. danielbalc said,

    Tim Dobbins, Matt Wilhelm, Derek Smith

    What do they have in common?

  113. danielbalc said,

    As far as Riviera undercutting Cottrell, this was the logical next step if the defense faltered.

    I also don’t think it was him going behind the back of Cottrell and creating a mutiny.

    huh?
    You’ve been watching too much Joe Biden.

  114. Matt said,

    The point of the comment was that it was not an intentional act, but something that would occur naturally when you have someone as talented as Riviera in subordinate role.

  115. danielbalc said,

    My point is that if Rivera is so talented why have our middle linebackers sucked?

    It’s one or the other. Either Rivera is a good coach intentionally sabotaging the guy ahead of him or he’s not a good coach.

    Which one would you prefer?

    Or give me a third option. I would love to hear a third option

  116. Matt said,

    It’s one or the other.

    Wrong.

    Or give me a third option. I would love to hear a third option

    Riviera is a good coach AND our middle linebackers suck. He can only coach them up so much. If they are not talented enough find someone who is.

  117. danielbalc said,

    Interesting third option… but how can Rivera help this season if that is the case?

    And what went wrong between last season and this season (outside of Merriman)?

    And when did he change his name From Rivera to Riviera?

    But let’s revisit the possibility that he undercut Cottrell… Wouldn’t that make you more hopeful about the potential success this season? Wouldn’t you rather have Rivera be a dirty dude than our players being no good?

  118. Matt S said,

    …All I know is we are going to blow out the Chiefs in two weeks by getting multiple INT’s and sacks and everyone will be back on the bandwagon.

    The real test will come in Pittsburgh, if we can create pressure and win there, this move will have saved our season.

  119. Goldminers said,

    I have new hope. I just saw Shawne Philips renewing his strength at the BBQ place in 4S Ranch at lunch. No hanging of the head.

  120. danielbalc said,

    Unbelievable column by Canepa in today’s UT. He interviews AJ Smith and some of the things has to say about the coaches and the players are pretty unexpected from any GM.

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20081031/news_1s31canepa.html

    The quote that stood out the most to me was…

    “I was convinced something was wrong,” Smith says. “It wasn’t just that we weren’t playing well. The team, in my opinion, was going south – fast – in their belief of the system and strategy. I thought this team was at the breaking point of being lost. I felt we were on the brink of collapse in attitude and desire.

    “Coach Turner and I had been concerned for weeks, and the two of us were on the same page all the way through. I was convinced it was slipping away, and after Buffalo and New Orleans, I could see it and feel it.”

    Wow. This furthers my point that Rivera (and probably not just Rivera, but all of the assistant coaches) was less than enthusiastic about his support of Cottrell.

    Teams don’t just “slip away” from the coaches unless somebody is within the ranks stirring up ill-will. This is a basic leadership concept. This is why gossip and slander is so deadly.

    My feeling is that Cottrell is not the kind of guy who would question or talk back to Turner of AJ. I think he is the kind of guy I would want on my team. Rivera? Very talented, but also very driven. He is the kind of guy who would question and talk back.

    Short Term- this move is going to provide an instant improvement. The Chargers Defense will look fantastic. They will make the playoffs.

    Long Term- it’s only a matter of time before Rivera does the same thing to Turner and the offense. He wants the head coaching job. That’s why he was released in Chicago. Not because he wasn’t talented but because he couldn’t continue to work under Smith.

    Mark it.

  121. danielbalc said,

    When Rivera wasn’t re-signed in Chicago Lovie Smith said…

    “As much as anything, it’s just a fit that we have and right now the direction I would like to go and the direction that Ron would like to go, we’re going in two different directions,”

    Sounds too familiar.
    I think Smith was protecting his own job.

  122. Matt said,

    I don’t think Norv Turner is in any danger of losing his job.

    Him and AJ Smith are on the same page, he is doing a great job and his offense is the best in the league and super creative.

    You may not like some of his 4th down decisions but most of them have been standard and would have been made the same way by 95% of the other coaches in the league.

    Also, the team does not need someone behind the scenes telling them the scheme and system are not working. They are the ones that play every Sunday and they (and the rest of us fans as well) can tell it was not working and it needed to be changed.

    It is much easier to change the coach instead of telling the coach to change his system.

  123. Goldminers said,

    if all Rivera is concerned about is advancing his cause to become head coach and putting that ahead of winning then I would hate to see him even hired in the first place. The only way he might take Turners job is if the team fails. If that happens then he hasn’t done his job on Defense. The offense is not and will not be the problem this year. He would be shooting himself in the foot if the defense fails.

  124. danielbalc said,

    Well Denver did exactly what we expected Denver to do. Pooped out at home against Miami.

    I only saw a little bit of the beginning of the game but I distinctly remember this sequence of the first 8 pass attempts for Jay Cutler
    1. first pass is intercepted
    2. completes a 5 yard dump pass
    3. incomplete
    4. incomplete
    5. Incomplete
    6. Intercepted for a TD
    7. Incomplete
    8. Completes a 2 yard TD Pass and Dan Deirdorff begins to pour praise upon him “what an arm! What Intelligence! This guy is so good! I hope that I can be reincarnated as an attractive woman so I can have Cutler babies!”

    huh?

    I’m not saying that Jay Cutler doesn’t have potential to be a good QB but I am saying that right now he is the most overrated QB in the NFL.

    His passer rating is 86.9, 16th in the league.

    His completion percentage is 15th in the league at 62.3

    His yards per attempts is 17th at 7.2

    16th, 15th and 17th in the league at 3 main areas…

    When you consider that the guys he is above are mostly new or replacement starters like Fitzpatrick, O’Sullivan, Flacco, Orton and Orlovsky his rankings look even worse.

    Point is Chargers are in fine position to make the playoffs. Right now we control our own destiny. If we win out we are in. That’s gotta motivate the players.

    The two toughest games on the schedule are week 11 at Pitt and Dec 14 at KC.

    Tampa Bay did NOT look good in KC. This means that either KC is good at home (true) or TB is not as good as we feared (also true).

    They way ATL looked against Oakland also is a bit of a cause for concern. I have never seen a team dominate like that going across the country. never.

  125. Matt said,

    Say Denver has problems is an understatement.

    They only ran the ball 12 times for 14 yards while Cutler threw 46 times.

    This is a team that knows their defense is terrible and goes into panic mode from the opening kickoff knowing they have to score alot of points to win.

    Denver pulled within 2 early in the 4th quarter. The crowd was loud, they were at home, all they needed was a stop from their defense and they would have won.

    What happened? Miami marched down the field, completing passes at will and scored a TD to put the game away.

    We will win the division, I am more concerned with getting our defense to the point that they can be a Super Bowl winning defense. That will be the challenge over the next few weeks.

  126. danielbalc said,

    I don’t think that improving our defense will be a challenge at all.

    I think we have all the tools and the right philosophies already in place. All we were missing was the players buying in.

    They will buy in to Ron Rivera. They already have. I predict a combined total of less that 40 points in the next 3 games.

  127. Matt said,

    Yea I am very confident that it will happen and this team will look completely different over these next 8 games.

    I can see us losing in Pittsburgh maybe but other than that I think we win out and take some momentum into the playoffs again this year.

    It does look like the road to the Super Bowl will go through Tennessee which should be interesting.

  128. Pablo Honey said,

    Looks like the Broncos’ luck continues, as they will be facing Brady Quinn in his first ever NFL start on Thursday. Even though Derek Anderson has been struggling this year I feel more confident in him than a guy with 1 drive experience in the NFL. This went from a no-chance to a possible win for Denver.

  129. Save For Retirement said,

    Here is what Bill Simmons wrote in his Page 2 column titled “Powerful glimpse into the Future” where he ranks all the NFL teams.

    Thought you guys would want to see what he thinks of the Chargers and LT

    20. San Diego Chargers
    I vote for the following new rule: If you win your division with a record of 8-8 or worse, you don’t get a playoff spot. It goes to someone else. If we can prevent people from dancing after touchdowns, we can prevent 8-8 division champs from making the playoffs. Meanwhile, here’s a great question from Jon King in Ventura, Calif.:

    “Can we safely say that in two seasons LaDainian Tomlinson will be out of the NFL looking for a one-year contract with a team (a la Shaun Alexander)?”

    Hmmmmmm. I don’t know whether we can SAFELY say it. But we can say it. Just know that he is a sensitive guy and won’t appreciate it. Just because he’s running for 3.9 yards a carry and killed 200,000 fantasy teams this season doesn’t mean we should mention it or bring it up.

  130. Matt said,

    Bill Simmons is a hack and the most miopic Patriots fan on the planet.

    He deserves no attention.

  131. danielbalc said,

    So the Chargers barely squeaked out a win on Sunday against the lowly Chiefs. Big deal. It’s a HUGE win and if you are depressed after if it that’s your problem. Several noteworthy points…

    A) The Chargers are the first team to win after coming off a London Game. Last year Miami and the Giants both lost after London, this year New Orleans lost.

    2) My pre-season score prediction, which can be seen on comment #5 said…
    Nov 9 Kansas City 1:15pm
    A good team to come back to against. Chargers may take a while to get into rhythm but once they do they will win this game.
    Chargers 20 Chiefs 14

    This is an almost freaky prediction. And once again I was very right on with my expectation of a close game. (this has been the case with each of our losses Car, Den, Miami, Buff and NO) All of them I saw coming down to the wire and they all essentially did.

    D) The Chargers have had more than their share of bad luck losses this season, getting 1 good luck win is simply the process of evening things up.

    Let it be known that the defense looked exactly like the defense under Ted Cottrell. If you want to cite second half improvements all you are doing it echoing the same sentiment of the ted cottrell d.

    Let it also be noted that the Offensive play calling was awful. Norv is so in love with Philip Rivers throwing the deep ball that he could cause us to miss the playoffs.
    Everyone keeps saying that the Chargers are “unable” to run the ball. This is completely wrong. They are “unwilling” to run the ball. 36 pass attempts and only 25 rush. Consider the best teams in football… Giants 31 pass attempts 44 rush. In fact only 5 of the 13 winners yesterday passed the ball more often than they ran it.

    Establishing the run is the key to winning football. We have the ability, just not the will.

    Next week against a stout run defense like Pittsburgh I don’t expect us to even try 16 rushes. OK, I can handle that. But I can’t handle it against a KC team that gives up 200 yards per game!

    I know everyone blames the defense but the fact is we had a chance to score more points against Buffalo, Miami, New Orleans, Denver and Carolina. The offense is just as much a problem as the defense if they can’t put up more than 20 points on KC. And the offensive problems are simply a lack of commitment to the running game (which would make the defense better as well.)

    One final complaint. the super late goal line pass interference call on Clinton Hart?!?!?!?! What the heck? And the free time out for a instant replay on a ball that was clearly caught? Officials again seemed out to get us.

  132. danielbalc said,

    Also regarding Bill Simmons. He is a hack. it’s unbearable to read him. The only time I read him is when the Pats, Red Sox or Celtics lose. But even then he doesn’t write anything. He wrote up a huge piece when the Red Sox came back to beat the rays in game 5, because he was sooo sure the red sox would end up winning the series and eventually the ws. But after the rays beat em in game 7… crickets. Nothing. No article. No column. No blurb. Nothing.

    How can they pay the guy if he can only write when his team wins?????

    Right now he’s on cloud nine because the patriots are winning games here and there. How quickly he forgets the hurting that the bolts laid on the pats.

    He can whine all he wants about LT and the chargers but given the chance right now I think he would prefer LT over benjarvisgreenelvis and would probably like to have Philip Rivers over Matt Cassel as well.

    Chargers 20th? Interesting. How many of those 19 allegedly superior teams would be favored to beat the Chargers? We will get a chance at numbers…. 3, 15, 10, and 8 in the weeks to come. And since the Chargers destroyed numbers 11 and 14 and lost on a last second plays to numbers 5 and 22 as well as some close road losses to numbers 13, 16 and 17 I think the Chargers might be a little bit better than 20th in the league. But what do I know, I’m almost as much of a homer as Simmons is.

  133. danielbalc said,

    a couple more points about yesterday…
    Pete Prisco laid into Herm Edwards for going for 2. Prisco, as we all know, is an idiot. If you want to lay into Herm Edwards lay into him for punting the ball at the Chargers 44 with less than 5 minutes to go. Yeah it “worked out” as the chargers took just 90 seconds to go negative 5 yards and have to punt the ball, but it took several incredible plays for the chiefs to get that final TD (a 4th and 8 as well as a 17 yard “pi” ) and if the chargers would have run, run, run. instead of run, sack, run. They would have pushed the Chiefs even further back and likely have taken more time off the clock. The right move was to GO for it on 4th and 5. The right move also was to go for 2.

    The chiefs last week lost in OT against the Tampa Bay Bucs (the number 8 team in the league according to bill simmons). The week before that they nearly beat the NY jets (number 13 according to BS). So should it be any surprise that they would push the number 20 team to the limit just 2 weeks after they came back from London?

  134. Matt said,

    I could care less how we win games from here on out as long as we win.

    I am curious as to why our defense did nothing different this week than any other week. Some of it has to do with the Chiefs game plan which was to utilize the quick throws, but there were some 3rd and 4th and longs where we should have brought pressure and did not.

    I guess we can hope they are saving something for a supposedly better opponent like the Steelers.

    I agree we better commit to running the football more from here on out. We have tough road games in Pitt and KC where weather will be a factor and we need to be able to run the ball.

    This game coming up will tell us alot about our chances going forward. If we can pull out a win I don’t think we will lose the rest of the season.

  135. Goldminers said,

    “”And the offensive problems are simply a lack of commitment to the running game””

    Wow! I actually agree with you on this one.

  136. danielbalc said,

    Some stats from todays UT that make it seem like the Chargers winning on sunday is impossible…

    Since 2006 the Steelers are 5-0 at home against teams with an average completion percentage of higher than 65 (Chargers are at 65.2). That’s a strange stat that simply tells us that the Steelers step up to passing challenges.

    During the regular season the Chargers are 0-12 in pittsburgh.

    Since 2003 the Steelers are 9-0 on the back end of back to back home games. Evidently they like to sleep at home.

    If i were a betting man I think the smart money would be on the steelers. I predicted the Steelers would win this game 26 – 17. The only way I think the Chargers can win this game is if Big Ben starts. He’s hurt and not playing well. If he starts we have a chance to get some interceptions and if we win the turnover battle we can win this game. That’s the only way I see a victory.

    So If we get more turnovers I predict the Steelers 23 the Chargers 24.

  137. danielbalc said,

    More bad news for the Chargers prospects. West coast teams playing on the east coast this season are 0-13

    Which also brings up another subject…
    The patriots and the Jets both STINK!

    Tonight they face off in what is being hyped up as “a clash between two of the AFC’s best!”

    Currently record wise they both sit at 6-3

    NE has 3 losses Miami, SD and Ind (14-13)
    NE has 6 wins over KC, NYJ, SF, DEN, STL, BUF (21-33)

    NYJ has 3 losses NE, SD, OAK (12-15)
    NYJ has 6 wins over Miami, AZ, CIN, KC, BUF, STL, (20- 34)

    Thus they have been beaten by mediocre teams and have beaten bad teams.

    Where does that put the Chargers who have beaten them both?

    I’m not sure. The Chargers only losing to good teams, and withe the exception of Carolina, on the road, makes me feel a little better about them.

    Another point I’d like to make…
    KC is the best 1-8 team in football history.

    look at who they have lost to…
    NE, OAK, ATL, CAR, TEN, NYJ, TB, SD (46-26) (The last 3 losses were by a combined 8 points)

    and the one W was over 5-4 Denver

    Is it possible that the Chargers having a difficult time with KC is because KC is actually a good football team?

  138. Matt said,

    I have a feeling we are going to win this game tomorrow and not lose the rest of the way.

    I can’t explain it, it just feels like we are finally going to turn the corner and start playing complete football games and not look back.

    Just a feeling.

  139. Matt said,

    So much for feelings.

    Look, we may still be able to put something together over the next 6 games and win this division, but does anyone believe we are contenders for a Super Bowl?

  140. danielbalc said,

    My rundown of yesterday’s game…

    First of all I have to say the biggest obstacle to this season has been the schedule making. In our three east coast games we have scored, 10, 14 and 10. In our 7 other games we have averaged 31 points per game. This is NOT a coincidence.

    not only is it difficult for a west coast team to play on the east coast but the schedule makers made it even more difficult by A) having both Buffalo and Miami coming off a bye the week before B) playing the buffalo and Miami games at an early time and C) having Pittsburgh be in the middle of a three game home stand…. Since 2003 the Steelers are 9-0 on the back end of back to back home games. Evidently they like to sleep at home.

    Ouch. The Steelers in the meantime never take a trip over 2 hours long!

    OK so that’s my schedule maker whine… Now for my Chargers cheese…

    The first two games of the Ron Rivera era remind me an awful lot of the first 2 games of the season. No we didn’t give up a ton of points but both games saw the opposing team march down the field in the final seconds to score. So put all the blame you want on Ted Cottrell but the scheme at the end yesterday looked identical.
    Rush 4,
    give up the underneath pass.
    miss a tackle.
    lose the game.

    But again I don’t believe it was the defense that lost us this game as much as it was Norv Turner and his complete disinterest in running the football.
    On the Chargers final drive they finally looked like the Chargers. It was a beautiful football purist type of drive that lasted for over 7 and half minutes using 17 plays and driving 78 yards…
    The drive went like this…
    p- inc
    p- 1 yd
    p- 15 yd
    p- 11yd
    r- 6 yd
    scramble- 5 yd
    r- 9 yd
    r- 2 yd
    p- inc
    r- 10 yd
    r- 0 yd
    p- inc
    p- 17yds
    r- 2 yds
    p- inc
    p- inc
    FG

    the totals 9 passes for 44
    7 rushes (counting the scramble) for 34

    The key the the drive however was plays 5 -11 when we went from our own 45 to the Pittsburgh 23 (easy field goal range) without completing a pass! Just playing hard nosed football. Not looking for the huge gainer or the bomb downfield instead going right into the trenches and seeing who is stronger.

    The drive stalled out when we abandoned the run. Oh how fondly I remember the days of Martyball when the Chargers would get inside the 10 yard line and run the ball every single time. LT was a touchdown machine. Now he has to beg them to call his number. Why? Because Norv Turner is a QB coach not a football coach.

    There were plenty other mistakes I could call out like the missed field goal or the red zone INT or the failure to apply any kind of pressure on Roethlesberger as he drove his team down for the deciding field goal. But I truly believe that all of these problems stem from a mentality of finesse over physicality. That’s Norvball.

    And now for the good news….

    I didn’t expect the Chargers to win this game unless they were able to win the turnover battle (another staple of martyball). Well they didn’t. So they lost the game. But that’s ok. I figured they would lose this game. It was too tough. Too many things stacked against them. Had they been at home they would’ve won. Had this game been schedule a week later I think we would have won. It was all together just bad timing for the Chargers and with that in mind I had expected them to lose a close game.

    Now we get to the must wins. And with a 3 game homestand finally here I believe we will win. At least the next 3 in a row. Indy, Atlanta, Oakland. I believe we will average 31 points per game like we do on the west coast.

    And then comes the key to the season, @ KC @ TB.

    If we lose one of the next 3 it’s probably over. If we win them all we might be able to gain some momentum going into KC and TB. IF we can do those things I am certain we will beat Denver in the last game to win the division. Denver will lose at least in NY and maybe in Carolina. So we just have to take care of business at home and steal some games on the road. It’s very doable.

  141. Goldminers said,

    West Coast teams are 0-13 when playing back East this year. Interesting.

  142. Matt said,

    Why is this team surrounded by controversy seemingly every week?

    It is quite funny at this point.

  143. Save For Retirement said,

    Do you guys not consider Denver a West Coast team? I know one time zone difference but still seems like they are playing at 11AM their time which is still early. Just wondering since I have seen Denver win on the East Coast two weeks in a row.

  144. Goldminers said,

    Nov 23 Indianapolis 5:15pm
    Colts are in a frustrating season but find a way to get a win off of 3 Rivers INT’s. Panic as the Chargers have lost two in a row!!!!
    Colts 26 Chargers 21

    How do you feel about the upcoming game? Are you still sticking by your original prediction? They have to pull this one out or they are done.

  145. danielbalc said,

    Well the crux of my prediction was that it would be around this time that panic would set in on Chargers fans and that it would be due in part to Philip Rivers struggles.

    Since the panic started a couple of games ahead of schedule I can certainly imagine the Chargers winning this game and turning around a poor season.

    The Chargers are a better football team than the Colts. They are a better team than the Steelers. But they are being critically hampered by poor scheming to go along with some really bad luck and one of the most difficult schedules in NFL history.

    The coaches could have compensated for the scheduling challenges by taking the team out a day earlier on their three east coast trips. They didn’t. They could certainly compensate for the bad scheming but they don’t. And there isn’t much you can do about blown calls and bad bounces.

    But the biggest thing that bothers me is the flat out stupid mistakes the coaches make. Like throwing the ball from the endzone on 3rd and 9. Or abandoning the running game when you’ve got 1st and goal from the 5.

    The good news is we are in a win/win situation from here on out. Either Norv changes his idiotic philosophies and we start winning or he keeps his philosophies and we lose and he’s gone at the end of the year.

  146. Goldminers said,

    My prediction…Norv keeps his philosophies. Coaches rarely change philosophies. Did Marty ever change his philosophy? But I think they can win with the current philosophy if they just execute.

  147. danielbalc said,

    I only saw the end of the game.

    I watched as the Chargers looked like they were going to do it. They looked like they were going to seize the bull by the horns and show that they really do belong in the playoff picture.

    Rivers was orchestrating a fantastic two-minute drive, the team looked like it really believed. And then it all unraveled soooo quickly.

    It started with one of the most unlikely things I’ve ever seen. A phantom false start call!
    2nd and 10 at the colts 37 and as the ball is snapped the official comes in saying the “left guard” started before the ball was snapped.

    I rewound the play and watched it about 10 times and saw no false start. I saw a perfect jump from a pulling guard who was ready to level somebody. OUCH.

    This would prove to be fatal as the next play was the dropped ball by LT. OUCH

    Followed by a great play by Mannumaleuna to get the Chargers into field goal range but of course Norvel had to mess it up by calling a timeout! WHY CALL A TIMEOUT?!?!

    Let the play go, run the clock down to the one minute mark or force the colts to use their timeout, then try kicking the field goal. Terrible clock management from a terrible coach.

    Then when the colts got the ball things got reallllllly interesting.

    The Chargers D was making the right kind of plays to thwart a manning comeback. On 3rd and 5 from the Indy 48 Eric Weddle played a perfect positioning on Marvin (I shouldn’t be allowed to play football after I shot a man in my car wash) Harrison. He stopped him way short of the first down mark slamming him to the ground with second left on the clock. but the official came in and spotted the ball at least a yard further than it could have possibly gone. So the instant replay gods intervened and pulled the ball back a little bit.

    Now just a couple of weeks ago in a monday night game the 49ers faced a similar circumstance with the clock winding down and an replay moving the spot. In that instance the refs put the ball down and blew the whistle in less than 5 seconds. Mike Martz would later criticize this move by the officials and get fined tens of thousands of dollars.

    Well last night with the team having the ball moved back being the colts the officials wanted to make sure they didn’t get any complaints from Tony Dungy so they gave manning 25 seconds from the spotting of the ball to the starting of the clock. during those 25 seconds manning was able to dissect the defense and audible to the most appropriate pass play, which happened to be a 14 yard cross pattern to the aforementioned criminal Harrison.

    This killed the Chargers.

    I don’t know about the rest of you but I was completely convinced it was going to be a pass of some kind. I didn’t for 1 second believe that the Colts, with nothing to lose by going for it, wouldn’t try to seal the deal with a big completion. But the Chargers coaching staff didn’t see things the same way i did and they sold out on the run. Of course if the Chargers had indicated that they were going to cover the pass I think manning would have had plenty of time to audible it to a QB sneak the way that play was handled was just another example of bad luck going against the Chargers.

    Evidently there was some type of fumble play that I missed as well. I can’t wait to see that one.

  148. Matt said,

    Groundhog Day all over again.

    It seems like every game their are 2 or 3 plays that decide the game and we cannot make those plays this year.

    We were driving for the game winning touchdown and all of a sudden we have a false start (at least a percieved one), a dropped pass by LT and a coach who does not understand desperate times call for desperate measures and bingo we lose again.

    If Norv would have went for that 4th and 2 we win the game. The colts were on their heals, we had confidence, it was the right time to take that risk and we went with the conventional call.

    I think of coaches like Shanahan and Tomlin and I know they go for it there and end up winning the game.

    Not only are there 2 or 3 plays a game that we end up on the short end, but there are always 2 or 3 blatant blown calls against us.

    1) Phantom pass interference called on Cooper (wat?) er Hart I guess on a crucial 3rd and 5 that would have stopped their drive

    2) A clear catch and fumble that was quickly blown dead by the official a la Hochuli (consipiracy anyone??)

    3) A phantom false start by Dielman on our last drive that killed our momentum.

    4) Total mismanagement of the end game by 1) assuming a 1st down on a play that was so close it was an obvious measurement every time and 2) not starting the clock right away after the review so Manning had time to adjust his play and blocking scheme.

    I am ready to admit that the league has intsructed officials to cheat us. I think an in depth investigation is warranted by our owner.

  149. Goldminers said,

    I’m starting to believe there is a conspiracy. I don’t think I’ve seen a team have so many bad calls go against them is a single season as the Chargers. The blown fumble call was bogus. What’s with these whistle happy officials. Let the play go. They can always review it later and change the call if it’s not right. The pass interference was another bad call. I’ve come to the conclusion that the biggest problem with the defense is lack of linebackers that can cover. All night Manning was throwing to wide open receivers (mostly running backs and tight end) on short underneath routes. Where are the linebackers? Matt Wilhelm couldn’t cover his grandmother. And when they blitz they still can’t get to the QB.

    Why do they take LT out of the game when they get inside the red zone? That makes no sense to me. But alas, they are not out of it yet. Daniel, you did predict a lose to Indy.

  150. Matt said,

    Yea amazingly we are in the same position we would have been in had we won (and Denver beat the Raiders).

    We now have to win out and believe that Denver will lose to either the NY Jets or Carolina on the road.

    It is hard, however, to have to beat your opponent and the refs every week.

  151. danielbalc said,

    It is hard, however, to have to beat your opponent and the refs every week.

    that’s exactly norv’s weakness.

    Our offense is so talented we could be putting up way more points with better play calling. i’m convinced of it.

    If we take the game out of the officials hands by putting up 40 we can get back into this. But norv has no clue what he is doing.He might be a good offensive coordinator but he sucks as a head coach.

  152. Pablo Honey said,

    I am convinced that a significant amount of NFL games are fixed at this point. The game yesterday was indeed orchestrated by the officials. The only way we could have won that game was if we were able to secure a victory by 2 or less points. Why? SImple, the Chargers were favored by 2.5 points.

    The officials are in far too good of a position to not be fixing games and making a boatload of money. I think that last weeks game vs. the Steelers is the most glaring example of the officials throwing a game that I’ve ever seen. That game was officiated terribly, and completely in the Chargers favor. Why? The Steelers were bet heavily as favorites to cover 5 points. If you take a look at the stats in that game, the Chargers had no business being even close to the Steelers. We were getting dominated on both sides of the ball, but the Steelers were constantly being hit with costly penalites, keeping the game close. The Refs had apparently done their job when on the last play of the game the Steelers got a fluke touchdown, enough to cover the spread.

    So what do the Refs do? Illegally take the score off the board, and then chalk it up to an incorrect interpretation of the rules! Here’s an interpretation for you: an estimated $66 million dollars was lost by bettors on that game. How much of that do you think slipped into the Officials pocket?

    There is too much money going around for these guys not to be involved. The NFL has created a big money machine, and now the zebras are running the show and reaping the benefits. Since minor infractions occur on basically every play, they can essentially throw a flag at will, kill drives, and control outcomes. It has gotten so bad that people are starting to wake up to it.

    I wish I had the time to analyze every game and determine which officials are calling (or not calling) questionable penalties each week. With the right analysis and comparison with the money won/lost each week on certain games I am certain that I would be able to determine a pattern that would be an indicator of which officials are getting in on the action. I would love to break this down and throw it in the NFL’s face.

    It is getting to the point where it is hard to watch games anymore. It seems like there is controversy behind every call, and it is ruining the game. The big question is, what can be done to stop it?

  153. Goldminers said,

    How can you say Norv is a terrible play caller and a good offensive coordinator. You’re contridicting yourselve. I’m not disagreeing that he’s a bad play caller although the if the players would just execute…

  154. danielbalc said,

    I guess I mean to say when he is only an offensive coordinator he does an ok job. for example. if he had been up in the booth last night there is no way he would have called that idiotic timeout. When he is up in the booth he can get a better feel for what is going on. he can read things better, think more clearly.

    Maybe it’s the adrenalin of being down on the field and in the action. He just doesn’t have the composure that a head coach should have.

    He’s not cut out for the job. It’s that simple.

  155. danielbalc said,

    On September 15th I made the following comment…

    It was 2005 when the Chargers were victims of an awful lot of bad luck (remember the Philadelphia blocked field goal for a TD?) We had an awesome team then but didn’t make the playoffs because of stupid little fluke things. I sure hope this season doesn’t go the same way.

    This is how that season started out…
    Sep 11 – Dallas – L (24-28)
    Sep 18 – at Denver – L (17-20)

    It also included heartbreakers like this…
    Oct 10 – Pittsburgh – L (22-24)
    Oct 23 – at Philadelphia – L (17-20)
    Dec 11 – Miami – L (21-23)

    We can’t let that happen again.

    That season ended up 9 and 7 and missing the playoffs.
    This season we are praying for 9 and 7!

  156. Goldminers said,

    Amazingly, 9-7 will probably be good enough to make the playoffs this year. It’s still possible. Arrgg! Your optimism must be rubbing off on me.

  157. danielbalc said,

    Well the fat lady belted out a whale of a tune yesterday. YUCK!

    It’s over and it’s somewhat of a relief. Now I don’t have o hold out hope for a 9-7 division championship. Instead I can enjoy disagreeing with every single play call that Norv Turner makes.

    I don’t care if they offer him a contract extension this week they are still going to have to fire him at the end of the season if they want to seel any tickets next year.

    I didn’t want to have to say “i told you so” regarding my original opinion of Norv Turner but…. excerpts from February
    2007

    February 14, 2007 at 5:49 pm · Edit

    Your candidates seem to be… In order of most to least likely.

    1) Ron Rivera
    2) Rex Ryan
    3) Norv Turner
    4) Mike Singletary
    5) Jim Mora

    All except Turner are in their 40’s

    Turner is not a solution, He is a interim type of guy, he would bet fired after a season.

    Rivera and Ryan both deserve a shot.

    Singletary still needs to grow.

    Mora would be a reasonable choice. The talent level of the Chargers is much higher then with the Falcons. Plus he wouldn’t have to deal with the idiot Vick. What coach wouldn’t want Philip Rivers (a coaches son) over Mike Vick?

    I’ll be happy with rivera, ryan or mora. In that order.

    If it’s turner I will be turning in my tickets.

    February 19, 2007 at 5:53 pm · Edit

    Ah DANG! I’m turning in my tickets

    February 20, 2007 at 3:05 pm · Edit

    Well this is weird scenario. My favorite candidate for the job, Ron Rivera, has been hired by the Chargers, not as head coach (that went to my least favorite candidate), not as D-Coordinator (that went to Matt’s favorite candidate), but as the Linebackers coach. this is good news. This actually may be better news then I had originally thought. As stated earlier, Turner is an interim type of guy, and the best candidates for head coaches usually come from within. This is probably why turner got the job to begin with, he had previous experiences with the Chargers. NOW with Rivera in the fold he will acquire those experiences and build his reputation to be the Bolts next head coach. Unfortunately that doesn’t give too much promise for next season, but I feel much better with Rivera and Cottrell on the sidelines (or in the booth) then I would have felt about Turner just making this a “lets score 100″ type of team.

  158. Matt said,

    Wow kinda scary foresight there prophet.

    This certainly looks like the most likely scenario to play out this off season.

    However, for any of this to happen AJ Smith will need to admit he was wrong in hiring Norv, something I do not think he is capable of doing.

  159. Matt said,

    Here is how the Chargers make the playoffs:

    1) We beat KC and Tampa. No small feat as both games are on the road, but this team seems to be playing a little better now so it is possible.

    2) Denver loses to Carolina on the road and Buffalo at home. Denver should lose to Carolina, in fact, if they win I will be shocked.

    That leaves Buffalo as the game where we need the most help and here it is.

    It really needs to be a bad weather game, a really bad weather game. Seeing as it is in Denver in December I don’t think that is too much to ask. (no more of this 65 degrees and sunny crap last like week) The Broncos have zero running game. Tatum freaking Bell is their starting running back. Yea that Tatum Bell.

    If the weather is bad and you make it a game where the team with the best defense and running game wins, Buffalo can and should win.

    3) We get revenge for the Ed Hocculi gift in week 2 and crush Denver at home to sneak in.

    Piece of cake.

  160. danielbalc said,

    well the dream of making the playoffs at 8 and 8 is now over.

    It was one thing to ask for the Broncos to lose the next 2.
    It was another thing to ask the Chargers to beat KC in KC.
    But now the word comes down that the Chargers in TB, which was supposed to be the sunday night game is now an early game. Meaning back to back 10AM games for the Chargers.

    That will be 5 times on the season that the Chargers play at 10AM. This should be high on the priority list of things to change in the NFL schedule making.
    Having a west coast team play at 10AM makes no sense at all. setting aside the obvious disadvantage to the players and just look at the numbers of it. Ratings for 1PM games are always better than ratings for 10AM games. Why are they insulting the local economy? Look at in another perspective. Say you are a sports bar and restaurant and a huge part of your profits comes on game days. You think they like 10AM games?

    Once I was in vegas and the the Chargers were playing in Baltimore at 10AM vegas time. We went over to the ESPN Zone in New York New York. The first thing i ordered? Coffee!

    That’s lame, and simply shouldn’t be.

    Another lame aspect I just realized is that now Denver will have seen the results of the Chargers game before they play. Supposing the Chargers win this sunday and Denver looses that makes Denver’s game against buffalo critical. And now the Broncos have the benefit of knowing whether or not they need to win. this is all around stinky.

  161. danielbalc said,

    To add to the conspiracy of the NFL schedule making let me throw out this little nugget.

    Pittsburgh, and east coast team, Has played in the 10AM slot only twice so far this season and will finish out with 2 more. so four total 10 pacific, 1 eastern, games for Pittsburgh but 5 for west coast San Diego. Hmmmm

    BTW did Pittsburgh makes it to the AFC championship game last year?
    They are rewarded awfully generously for a 10-6 season and a first round loss in the playoffs.. (5 night games).

  162. Matt said,

    Well this week went about as well as possible with us winning and Denver getting crushed.

    Now the real hard part.

    1) We have to go win another east coast road game playing at 10 AM pacific, this time against a very good team. Clearly we are going to have to play maybe our best football of the year to get this win, just maybe the team will realize the importance and rise to the occasion. then…..

    2) Denver needs to lose to Buffalo at home. Initial weather forecasts do not look good for a snow game, but things can change fairly quickly in the rockies in December so we shall see.

    The big question is how will Buffalo respond after losing a heart-breaker to the Jets where they basically gave the game away. Are they going to quit and not put forth an effort? Or will they do their duty as an NFL team and compete hard?

    One thing is for sure, if we can win early that will put a ton of pressure on the Broncos as they play late and hopefully mistakes will follow.

  163. danielbalc said,

    As happy as I am that the Chargers won the game yesterday Norv Turner has only furthered my conviction that he is not qualified to be a head coach in the NFL.

    After the Chargers scored the go ahead TD Philip Rivers was running around the field with his helmet off, Vincent Jackson was over by the stands waving goodbye to the 16 remaining Chiefs fans all of them appearing to be completely oblivious to the fact that they are going to have to attempt a 2 point conversion!

    What happened? A delay of game and a terrible failed attempt!

    To make matter worse the Chargers had a timeout which SHOULD have been called by their head coach. Of course the team also SHOULD have been prepared to attempt a 2 pointer. In fact just before the game winning TD pass the Chargers were in a timeout and you could see Norv talking to Rivers on the sidelines. It didn’t come up that, “hey, after we score a TD we will need to go for 2 so don’t go running off the field like a bozo.”

    Combine all that with the idiotic play calling the punt attempts on the Chiefs 35 and the fact that our O-line gave up 3 sacks to a team that only had 6 all season and you can say as a matter of fact that we had no business winning this game.

    But the final straw came when I read this quote from Norv Turner in the paper this morning. The subject is the chances of recovering an onside kick…

    “You’ve got a chance in this league, the way onside kicks are, you’ve got a pretty good chance of getting it,” Turner said. “About 50-50.”

    50-50????? You idiot. 50-50 is your chances of making a 4th and 1, something you never try!
    Onside kicks this season are 7 of 46!

    That type of asininity has been the hallmark of Norv Turner’s coaching philosophy.

    So have I given up? Not quite. We still have a silly chance at making the playoffs, but if we do, it will be in spite of Norv certainly not because of him.

    It will be because the players finally willed themselves to win football games.

    Here is how I will know that has happened. When LT, Sproles or Hester is breaking a long run or dump off pass and getting into the secondary, if I finally see Vincent Jackson blocking I will know that the Chargers players have decided to play.

  164. danielbalc said,

    BTW, GREAT flex out by NBC next week. Instead of two teams fighting for their playoff lives the nation gets to see two teams fighting for their playoff seedings.

    enjoy.

  165. danielbalc said,

    Another norv complaint.

    Why the heck are we throwing for the endzone from the KC 10 on third and 1 with 36 second left? While the play action pass did score the game winning TD it left them with enough time to get into the position they were in to attempt a game winning field goal.

    When we were in similar situations this year but on the opposite end, like against the Colts, Steelers or even the first game against the Chiefs, there was a little thing called clock management where the opposing coaches made sure that they gave the ball back to us with as little time as possible.

  166. Matt said,

    Or how about a 4th and 3 call to throw deep down the sideline which has little chance of being completed instead of something more high percentage?

    Time management and game management skills are really lacking and it has cost us alot of wins this year.

  167. danielbalc said,

    man I wish I would hear Norv Turner deliver a sound bite like Jim Zorn did…

    “Where do I need to improve?” Zorn said. “Not only on Sunday, but on Wednesday, on Monday, all the days, all the game-planning, all the paying attention to detail. I need to make good use of this time and I will — because it hurts. I just feel like the worst coach in America, to have to lose the way we’re losing. … I feel sick to my stomach even thinking about having to go and do this kind of evaluation.”

  168. Albino Hayford said,

    I tend to cut Norv slack because he was a member of the Dallas Cowboys’ organization, but I do blame him for several of the Chargers’ close losses this season. The Chargers are a fun team to watch, but their games are so weird and unpredictable, like watching a pinball ding around before sliding off the playing surface. They will only be a championship team when they can start really domination other teams on both sides of the ball, and not winning or losing by the seat of their pants and a fortunate onside kick attempt, then holding their breath for a missed field goal.

    And don’t even get me started on my bi-polar Cowboys…I’ve got a lot of complaints about them too, but I’ll spare this thread.

  169. Albino Hayford said,

    (sic) “dominating”

  170. danielbalc said,

    Pro bowl was announced today and strangely enough the two highest rated Quarterbacks were left off the team…

    Philip Rivers and Tony Romo.

    Instead of Rivers the AFC will be represented by Manning (10) Cutler (12) and Favre (15)
    Instead of Romo the NFC gets Brees and Warner and the other Manning (16)

    So the most middle of the pack guys go while the top guys stay home? And we wonder why nobody watches the pro bowl?

    The most ironic part is that Rivers probably doesn’t make the pro bowl because the chargers record, but my contention is that the chargers record is a result of a failure to run the football. So had they run the ball more we would have won more but rivers numbers wouldn’t have been as good. But would he have made it then?

  171. Matt S said,

    Brett Favre stole his spot.

    It is and always will be a poularity contest.

  172. Matt S said,

    So I was watching NFL replay last night which was showing the Steeler\Raven game and I could not believe the calls the Steelers were getting.

    I am convinced the league or rogue officials purposely help determine the outcome of games with their calls.

    Early in the 2nd quarter Pittsburgh had a 3rd and 1 and got stuffed, however, they got a favorable spot and were awarded a 1st down. Baltimore challenged the play and after seeing the replays the announcers, the fans in the stands and everyone at home could tell he was stopped behind the line to gain.

    The spot was upheld, however, and the explanation given was that there was not a sufficient angle to make sure in fact did not cross the line to gain. Hmmmmmmm.

    Fast forward to the end of the game and a very similiar situation arises when the Steelers throw a ball into the end zone for the game winning score. The only problem is the ball never crossed the goal line, only the player did. The call on the field is no touchdown.

    The Steelers review the play and although there is not a sufficient angle and no one could tell for sure if the ball actually crossed the goal line THEY OVERTURN THE CALL ON THE FIELD.

    This to me is as glaring an example of favoritism and controlling the outcome of the game as I can remember.

    I am really having a hard time seperating the NFL from boxing or pro wrestling at this point.

  173. Matt said,

    “How bad has the Chargers’ luck been compared to the first-place Broncos? The Bolts have a plus-44 point differential and trail Denver (which has given up 40 more points than it’s scored) by two games. If there were a Bill James of football he could come up with a formula to explain precisely how preposterous this is.”

  174. Anthony said,

    I can’t believe the Chargers are in the position to make the playoffs. Denver is a bad football team. The Chargers have no defense and a stalled running game behind an average offensive line. Making the playoffs would be great for the team and the fans but does anyone really think they can beat the Titans, Ravens, or Steelers on the road in bad weather?

    It doesn’t matter, next week is a Super Bowl game against the Denver Hochulis.

  175. Matt S said,

    I love it when a plan comes together.

    As bad as this team has played most the year, they seem to finally be getting it together and I honestly would not rule out a deep run in the playoffs at this point.

    Beating Denver this week should be no problem as they are terrible and have zero confidence (listening to their press conferences made me almost feel bad for them)

    Then you talk about having to beat Indy at home. I can tell you the Colts are praying Denver wins because they want no part of us.

    We beat them in Indy in 05 to break up their undefeated season, we beat them here while intercepting Manning 6 times and we beat them in Indy again last year in the playoffs and we should have beat them again this year if not for more bad officiating.

    So now you have to go to either Pittsburgh or Tennessee. We beat the Titans on the road either last year or the year before (can’t remember) and last year in the playoffs at home and we lost to Pittsburgh in a bad weather game on the road this year on the last play of the game.

    This team knows it is better than their record shows and knows they can go on a run and when playing well can compete with anyone. I don’t expect slow starts to be an issue from here on out as every game is a playoff game all they needed was a second chance and thanks to Denver they now have one.

  176. Matt S said,

    Denver players said they were unaware of the Chargers outcome until after their game.

    This is the funniest and most untrue statement I have heard in a while. They knew they had to win and that is why they couldn’t.

  177. Matt said,

    So it seems everyone who is supposed to know something about football has already awarded Peyton Manning the MVP.

    Philip Rivers hardly gets a mention.

    He leads the league with a 104 passer rating (Manning is 6th at 96.8). He leads the league in TD passes with 32 (Manning is tied for 3rd with 26). He is 5th in passing yardage with 3,802 (Manning is 4th with 3,907).

    If he has a good game on Sunday and the Chargers win their division he should be the MVP hands down yet he does not seem to even have a chance. Absurd.

    Our QB has had one heck of a season. He is THE reason we still have a chance to win our division this year.

    I would like to see him get the credit he is due both from the MVP voters and certain people in this circle who seem to still think he sucks.

  178. danielbalc said,

    What a game yesterday.

    It is pretty difficult to believe that the Chargers are AFC West champions but it’s still fantastic. I’m so pumped to have the Colts coming here. I’m also pumped to hear all the complainers whining about how an 8-8 team is in while a certain 11-5 team is left out.

    hehehe

  179. danielbalc said,

    I think a strong argument for PR MVP can be made in the fact that the Chargers led the league in points scored.

    Thus blaming the 8-8 record on the offense is pretty tough to do. If it’s the result of defensive issues then how can you hold that against Rivers?

  180. Save For Retirement said,

    Here you go:

    Check this article out. Classic Cutler comments about the Chargers after the game. A national writer tearing down the chargers and the Broncos’ charter breaking down last night. Worth the read and should produce some very nice posts.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=ArIF1rOTfctL_w6nsi2Zz7o5nYcB?slug=ms-morningrush122908&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

  181. Matt said,

    Funny article.

    Cutler seems like a good teammate completely throwing his defense under the bus.

    If I remember correctly, his offense only scored 21 points so it really does not matter how his defense played as they did not do nearly enough on offense to win.

    He is a clown.

    Also, anybody who does not give the Charges a chance on Saturday has not watched this team play all year.

    We have owned the Colts the last few years. They were lucky to clip us earlier this year on a walkoff FG after some very bad officiating gave them a chance.

    It was also the first week our defense played with Rivera as their coordinator, so I expect them to play even better this week.

  182. danielbalc said,

    Cutler is such a loser. Totally throws his defense under the bus. Totally runs his mouth and never is able to back it up. How this guy receives any accolades is beyond me.

    As for people not giving the Chargers a chance… I am shocked to see how true this is. I can’t find a single article where the writer isn’t all over the Colts.

    The worst of all however was Peter King and his monday morning quarterback explaining why he is going to vote peyton manning MVP. Most of his vote is based upon the fact that Manning struggled in the beginning of the season because he was dealing with a really bad knee injury. ummmm Mr King, do you honestly think Manning’s knee injury was worse than the torn ACL that Rivers had to have multiple surgeries to repair? Does he honestly think that the Chargers would have made the playoffs without Rivers having the best QB performance of anyone else this season?

    I also enjoyed an article that said something about how Champ Bailey was the only bronco who played well last night. Did they even watch the game? the reason Bailey had so many tackles is because Rivers was throwing at him all night just picking him apart. It was a thing of beauty.

  183. danielbalc said,

    And then there is this…

    Tomlin is taking a lot of heat for having Roethelbeger in a meaningless game and him getting injured. But yet Dungy gets praised for having Manning stay in the game until he reached enough yards to end the season with over 4000 (the first guy ever to have 9 4,000 yard seasons)

    That was clear cut stat grabbing and the Titans missed a huge opportunity to make them pay for it by pile driving the hillbilly into the dirt.

    Clearly the national media is racist against mike Tomlin and that’s why they are harassing him and not Dungy.

  184. Matt said,

    I can’t help but find satisfaction in failings of the Bill Belicheat coaching tree.

    Charlie Weiss- How is Notre Dame doing this days?

    Romeo Crennel- Fired

    Eric Mangini- Fired

    Not too good a legacy so far.

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