Monday, November 30, 2009

Super Bowl: Cowboys vs. Chargers?

When you are known as “America’s Team” and are flying under the radar, that’s very unusual.

When you have won your division three straight seasons, are on a current six-game winning streak and still flying under the radar; that’s also unusual.

Given those circumstances, could the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers fly under the radar all the way to the Super Bowl?


The Cowboys (8-3) certainly are not drawing attention as much as New Orleans (10-0) or Minnesota (10-1) in the NFC.

In the AFC, San Diego (8-3) doesn’t get mentioned nearly as often as Indianapolis (11-0), New England (7-3) or even upstart Cincinnati (8-3).

Of the two, the Cowboys likely will have it rougher down the stretch than the Chargers.

Dallas is just 5-8 with Tony Romo as a starter in December, while the Chargers are 41-5 down the stretch since 2004.

Romo seems to have latched on to Miles Austin as his favorite receiver, something the QB could not have done last season while Terrell Owens was demanding all the attention.

In San Diego, Philip Rivers has quietly averaged more points per game than any starting QB in NFL history, according to CBS-TV.

Rivers has found Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd all to be his favorite receivers … depending on the week and opponent.

Cowboys vs. Chargers in the Super Bowl? Don’t discount the possibility.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Chris Chambers looking to get even with Chargers

Chris Chambers must be licking his cops.

A flop through seven games with the San Diego Chargers this year, he’s been a star in three games with the Kansas City Chiefs.

And don’t you think Chambers would love to get even when the teams play Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium?

Chambers set up KC’s overtime upset of Pittsburgh last week with a 61-yard reception in OT.

He’s itching to do the same against a Chargers team that is not exactly strong against the pass.
Matt Cassel is finally starting to fit in as the Chiefs QB and Jamaal Charles is certainly an all-purpose player to be reckoned with.

The Chargers? They’ve won five straight ... and no QB is playing better lately than Philip Rivers.

San Diego will celebrate its 50th anniversary Sunday by honoring the top 50 players in team history (well, Walter Sweeney certainly should have made the special teams squad.)

But will the Chargers be celebrating about 4 pm?

Chargers 24, Chiefs 21

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Abraham Lincoln explains meaning of Thanksgiving

As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, we truly have an abundance of reasons to be thankful.

Among them for many of us are Faith, Family, Friends, Finances, and the Future.

Why finances, considering what has happened to our ecomony?

If you have any money in your wallet or purse, that makes you among the wealthiest 8 percent of the people in the world.

Thanksgiving Day in America originated in 1863 under President Abraham Lincoln. The following from the "Today in the Word" devotional from Moody Bible Institute explains the origin of Thanksgiving:

On March 30, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln wrote the following words: “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!”

These words proclaimed a day when the nation would come together for remembrance. This preceded the proclamation for a day of Thanksgiving, which came a few months later.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stick a fork in the Denver Broncos

Got a fork? Stick it in the Denver Broncos.

The Broncos are as good as dead after Sunday’s 32-3 loss to the AFC West-leading San Diego Chargers.

Denver started 6-0; the Tennessee Titans began 0-6. But don’t be surprised if the Broncos (6-4) and Titans (3-6) end the season with near identical records.

As for the Chargers, they are on a typical late-season run that has seen them post a 41-5 record down the stretch since 2004.

With the Chargers on a five-game winning streak and Denver on a four-game losing skid, the AFC West is as good as over even though the Chargers only lead by one game.

Consider some recent Charger facts:

Their defense allowed more than 27 points per game the first five games; it has allowed fewer than 14 ppg in the past five.
QB Philip Rivers was sacked an average of three times per game the first five games but just once a game in the last five.
The Chargers averaged one sack per outing through five games, but four per game in the past five contests (thanks greatly to a revived Shawne Merriman and consistent Shaun Phillips.)

And then there’s a Denver team that outscored its first six opponents in the second half 76-10.

In the past four games, the Broncos have been outscored in the second half 77-17.

For all intents and purposes, say goodbye to the Broncos for 2009.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Norv Turner: Best coach in Chargers history?????

The San Diego Chargers have dutifully noted in a press release that current coach Norv Turner has the all-time highest winning percentage in team history.

So, this makes Turner the best coach in the team’s 50-year history?

Not so fast!

Perhaps a better way to judge a coach would be to consider where the team was when he took over … and what it accomplished thereafter.

On that basis, he certainly doesn’t compare to a couple of Chargers coaches over the past generation.

In the 46 games (including playoffs) before Turner took over in 2007, the Chargers were 34-12. Since the current coach took charge, the team is 28-18.

Bobby Ross compiled a 50-36 record from 1992-96. In the 86 games before Ross, the Chargers were 22-64.

Marty Schottenheimer was 47-35 as head coach from 2002-06. In the 82 games before him, the Chargers went 24-58.

All told, Ross and Schottenheimer both doubled the winning percentage during their tenure. In contrast, the winning percentage has dropped 20% under Turner.

The Chargers beam over the fact that Turner has such a significant overall winning percentage. But when all things are considered, Ross and Schottenheimer did a much better job of taking the team from where it was to a much higher level.

Sunday Prediction:
Chargers 24, Denver Broncos 21

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wisconsin's John Clay deserving of Heisman votes

First of all, running back John Clay from the University of Wisconsin is not going to win the Heisman Trophy in 2009.

No how; no way.

But does Clay at least deserve to be in the discussion among people receiving votes?


The three running backs most talked about for the Heisman are Toby Gerhart of Stanford, Mark Ingram of Alabama and C.J. Spiller of Clemson.

Let’s see how Clay stacks up statistically against each of them (listed by rushing attempts-yards-average per carry-TDs.)

Gerhart 262-1,395-5.3-19
Ingram 194-1,297-6.7-10
Clay 218-1,124-5.2-12
Spiller 153-836-5.5-6

Ingram and Spiller are also accomplished receivers. Ingram has 25 catches for 225 yards and 3 TDs; Spiller 24 receptions for 382 yards and 4 TDs.

Clay, only a sophomore, is the most dominating running back at Wisconsin since Ron Dayne.

And don’t be surprised if he one day becomes the first Badgers’ player to win the Heisman Trophy since Dayne in 1999.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Norv Turner looks like a head coaching genius

Norv Turner looked like a head coaching genius Sunday in comparison to supposed geniuses Bill Belichick and Andy Reid.

Belichick’s going for it on a fourth-and-2 at his own 28 late in the fourth quarter handed the Indianapolis Colts a last-minute TD and 35-34 win over the New England Patriots.

If not for Belichick, Reid would have been the dumbest coach in the NFL over the weekend.

Turner, often criticized for not being a good head coach, had a solid game plan in the San Diego Chargers’ 31-23 win over Reid’s Philadelphia Eagles.

Reid? He could have used a little help.

First of all, down by 19 points early in the fourth quarter, he went for an extra point after a TD.

Any mathematician could tell you that the Eagles needed two TDs, a pair of TWO-point conversions and a field goal to make up 19 points.

Then, on a fourth-and-4 while down by 12 points in the same quarter, he had to take a timeout to decide whether to go for or kick a field goal.

Duh? A field goal brings you within nine points, but you still need two more scores if you are only within 9.

Worst of all was his team’s play-calling. Each time the Eagles needed one yard for a first down or touchdown, their offense was motionless. It resulted in three field goals in the red zone; one coming after first-and-goal at the 1.

Few people will ever call Norv Turner a head coaching genius. But he sure was able to outshine Belichick and Reid on this particular weekend.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Denver Broncos got the best of Cutler-Orton trade

Kyle Orton for Jay Cutler straight-up would have been a good trade for the Denver Broncos.

Just look at what Cutler – the biggest pouter in the NFL – has “accomplished” this season.

He threw five interceptions in the Chicago Bears’10-6 loss at the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night, tying for the most by a Bears QB since Zeke Bratkowski threw seven in a 42-7 loss to the Baltimore Colts on Oct. 2, 1960.

This comes on top of Cutler’s four interceptions in a season-opening loss at the Green Bay Packers.

Orton? All he has done is lead the Broncos to a surprising first-place standing in the AFC West at 6-2. He doesn’t necessarily win games for you; but he throws very few interceptions and keeps you from losing.

This being said, one must consider what else came along in the Bears-Broncos trade back in April.

The Broncos also received first-round picks in 2009 and 2010 for trading Cutler, along with a third-round pick in 2009. In return, the Bears received a fifth-round pick in 2009 that Denver had already acquired from the Seattle Seahawks for wide receiver Keary Colbert.

Cutler and the Bears already are virtually out of playoff contention at 4-5.

Orton? He needs to lead the Broncos to a win Sunday at the Washington Redskins, or the Broncos will have lost three straight and be in danger of falling into a first-place tie in the AFC West with the San Diego Chargers (if the Chargers beat the Philadelphia Eagles.)

Speaking of QBs, Philip Rivers of the Chargers is far more effective than Cutler or Orton. He rarely loses games for you as Cutler often does and he’s much more capable of leading a winning drive than Orton.

All of which could still make the Chargers the best team in the AFC West.

Chargers 24, Eagles 23

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tomlinson's days numbered in San Diego?

All of a sudden, things are clicking for the San Diego Chargers.

Philip Rivers is passing as well as ever. Vincent Jackson constantly makes big receptions.

Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips are back to making sacks.

But on the other hand, there is one thing missing:

Production from LaDainian Tomlinson.

As much as some people may blame it all on the (lack of) blocking, it looks like LT is near the end of his career with the Chargers.

This is not the worst line Tomlinson has ever been behind. He has done much better behind much worse offensive lines.

The sad thing is that when Tomlinson was injured in the 2007 playoffs, it all came down to one of two things: Either his injury was a fluke or the beginning of a trend.

Sadly, the trend continues.

LT, a certain Pro Football Hall of Fame player, is having his worst year ever in 2009.

He rushed for 15 yards at Pittsburgh and 22 yards at the New York Giants; two of his three-lowest producing days in his nine-year career.

He’s averaging a career-low 3.2 yards per attempt this season and has only three rushing TDs. In every previous season, he has scored rushing TDs in double figures.

Darren Sproles is a great change-up to Tomlinson in the backfield but will never be a full-time running back at 5-foot-6.

The Chargers already knew they needed succession planning at RB in the 2009 draft. They didn’t take a RB until the fourth round in Gartrell Johnson, who is no longer with the team.

It’s too bad that LT will likely never again be the player he once was in San Diego. And it’s too bad the Chargers haven’t had the foresight to take care of their problems at RB.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Rivers clearly better QB than Eli Manning

Eli Manning never did want to come to the San Diego Chargers in 2004 because he thought San Diego had the worst team in the NFL.

Well, Eli, here is some news for you.

Since your refusal to come to San Diego when the Chargers made you the number one draft pick in 2004; the Chargers have yet to experience a losing season.

Not only that, they are now 2-0 against you with Sunday’s 21-20 win over you and your New York Giants at the Meadowlands.

Clearly, Philip Rivers has been better statistically over his career than you.

Besides that, Rivers led the Chargers on an 8-play, 80-yard drive in 1:46 to beat you with a last-minute pass of 18 yards to Vincent Jackson.

(This came after you and the Giants were unable to score a TD after an interception left you with first-and-goal at the Chargers 4 with 3:14 remaining. With a TD, you would’ve clinched the game with a 10-point lead.)

Certainly, Eli, you have the Super Bowl ring that Rivers does not.

However, it’s not always the best QB who wins the Super Bowl. Do you really believe Trent Dilfer was the league’s best QB when the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl?

All things considered, Rivers has turned out to be a better QB than you, Eli.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chargers-Giants step away from dregs of NFL

It’s amazing how perspective can be sometimes.

The San Diego Union-Tribune dutifully notes that the New York Giants (5-3) have four wins against the “dregs” of the NFL (Washington, Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Oakland.)

What it doesn’t note is that the San Diego Chargers (4-3) have recorded three of their four wins against the dregs of Oakland and Kansas City.

This Sunday, the Chargers and Giants step away from the dregs when they meet each other in the Meadowlands.

San Diego QB Philip Rivers should have a field day vs. the porous Giants secondary.

On the other hand, look for Brandon Jacobs to record his first 100-yard rushing game of the season vs. the weak Chargers’ defense.

Over the past four years, Rivers has been a better QB statistically than Eli Manning of the Giants. But Manning has a Super Bowl ring … and a better team surrounding him … to show for it.

That should make the difference Sunday.

Giants 27, Chargers 23

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Manning vs. Rivers: Who got the best of the trade?

Certainly, a majority of football fans in San Diego still remember the 2004 NFL Draft.

There was Eli Manning pouting after he was the first overall pick by the San Diego Chargers. (He didn’t want to come to what he thought was the worst team in football; a Chargers team that went 12-4 in 2004.)

Less than an hour after being drafted by the Chargers, Manning was a member of the New York Giants.

The Chargers wisely instituted a trade for Giants first-round pick Philip Rivers, adding some future draft picks along with Rivers.

As it turned out, those future selections included a couple of stars to be in linebacker Shawne Merriman and kicker Nate Kaeding.

Who got the better of the deal?

Without a doubt, you could argue that the Chargers did. After all, they received what turned out to be three quality players for Manning.

But on the other hand, Manning has won a Super Bowl. That’s more than Rivers, Merriman or Kaeding have ever accomplished.

Come Sunday at the Meadowlands, Rivers and Manning will start against each other for the first time.

No matter what happens, Manning still has a one-up on Rivers with a Super Bowl ring.

That fact alone makes the 2004 draft swap a good trade for the Giants.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Holiday Bowl: USC vs. Oklahoma?

How would this be for a Pacific Life Holiday Bowl match-up in 2009?

Try the University of Southern California Trojans vs. the Oklahoma Sooners!

In a good year, the two schools could be playing for the BCS championship. But in a “down” year such as this, it might be the best chance ever for the Holiday Bowl to get a USC vs. Oklahoma billing.

Talk about getting the top non-BCS or New Year’s Day game if you could sign such a deal.

The Holiday Bowl is in the final year of an agreement where it gets the No. 2 pick from the Pac 10 vs. the No. 3 selection from the Big 12.

No. 12 USC (6-2) is virtually out of the Rose Bowl race with Saturday’s loss at Oregon. But the Trojans still have wins over the likes of Ohio State, Notre Dame and California on their 2009 resume.

No. 20 Oklahoma (5-3) is without QB Sam Bradford for the rest of the season, but the Sooners still have much national respect. Don’t forget that they only lost by three points to No. 2 Texas without the injured Bradford for a majority of the game.

USC vs. Oklahoma. Pete Carroll vs. Bob Stoops.

The Holiday Bowl better latch on to this great match-up while it still has the opportunity.