Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Playoff Game Discussion: NE-SD

This thread is for discussion of action on the field before, during, and after the second-round playoff game between New England and San Diego. Each game this year will get its own discussion thread, so please discuss the other games in those specific threads.


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Comments

601
by Paul (London,UK) (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 10:14pm

Re 593
That's no way to talk about the Pats.

602
by vijay (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 10:15pm

591: You are right. The thing is that I have some difficulty blaming much of this on Marty. Marty put his team to win, they haven't performed well and they have not executed very well either. The mistakes that the defense made were amazing.

And another question after watching this and the earlier game. Why do teams put new sod in right before a huge game? It has had some impact in both games now...

603
by Jin (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 10:15pm

See what I mean. Now Turner slips when he had a big hole to the left.

604
by stan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 10:15pm

SD receiver will drop the pass to lose game?

605
by cd6 (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 10:15pm

To be fair, that "serial killer" movie is actually about a crocodile, not a serial killer

Yeah, don't ask me to explain, cause I can't.

Good two minute drill by the chargers here

606
by Bobman (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 10:15pm

TBW, my wife is with you on that one (I agree too, but it's mainly her driving it because I am so NFL obsessed). We have 3 boys aged 2-6 and I am essentially only allowed to watch online or at naptime or... you get the idea.

Maybe time for a DVR.

607
by Randy S. (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 10:16pm

Well, Rivers may stink at two minute drives, but at least he can do a two minute dive.

608
by JK (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 10:17pm

omg

609
by B (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 10:17pm

600: Or waste a timeout on the challenge.

610
by Paralis (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 10:17pm

This is the worst game ever.

611
by Harris (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 10:18pm

There is no God. There simply is no God. What kind of benevolent diety would allow this to happen?

612
by stan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 10:18pm

If some ESPN asshole says that Brady won this game, he'll need extra security.

613
by cd6 (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 10:18pm

NOOOOOOOOO

espn boycott begins now
the nfc has just ceased to exist

614
by Jin (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 10:18pm

Here we go, now it's all about Brady's clutchness when he played terrible today.

615
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 10:18pm

How bizarre would it be to have Kaeding trying a 50+ when Marty bungled a 4th and 11 earlier rather than have him kick a 47-yarder?

616
by Bobman (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:34pm

I couldn't have planned this better for the Colts. See y'all in Indy.

What's the over/under on Brady/Manning INTs? I say 5 in the game. Or ten.

617
by joe football (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:34pm

Worst game in NFL history

618
by Anger...rising (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:35pm

Did anyone mention the great decision by SD to take their last timeout before the 2-minute warning, to save 15 seconds instead of 40?

Calling the timeout: 1st down - clock runs to 2:18; 2nd down - clock runs to 2:00; 3rd down - clock runs to 1:14

Saving the timeout: 1st down - clock runs to 2:00; 2nd down - clock runs to 1:54; third down - clock runs to 1:08

619
by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:36pm

I don't see how ANYONE can call this, by far, the worst game in NFL history. It was close, good defensive play (even though the offense had some sputters), and had a dramatic end. Three cheers for hyperbole.

620
by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:36pm

#614... The guy is playing with the worst collection or WRs we've seen this deep in the playoffs in... forever? The drive at the end of the half was simply brilliant. You can't hate on Brady after this game.

My game ball would go to the left side of the Pats o-line. It seems as if it was definately "Lights On".

621
by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:40pm

I will say though, that the Pats got lucky as hell on alot of drives. However, I doubt the refereeing was as 'onesided' as people are saying it is. Questionable calls on both sides.

622
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:41pm

#588: Damn'. Colts fans *already* bitching about refs favoring the Pats.
I thought they'd wait until next Sunday's kick-off.

623
by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:42pm

I hope that Manning chokes next weekend and his defense plays lights-out and we still win...it's funny to see what excuses they can come up with ;)

624
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:43pm

server fall down go boom!

I thought the officiating calls were pretty good. About average.

625
by Marko (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:43pm

What a predictable ending. Brady and Belichick just win. Marty just loses. How many ways can his teams choke in the playoffs?

Interesting comments from LT in the post-game press conference. He really disrespected some of the Patriots and Belichick (because he thought they were disrespectful by doing the "Lights Out" dance in celebration after the missed field goal by Kaeding at the end), saying that they had no class. One more storyline for next year's game between these teams.

626
by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:44pm

well, the pats were thoroughly outplayed, but mental mistakes sunk the chargers.

627
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:49pm

Certainly the Chargers lost this game more than the Pats won it. On the other hand, having the brains *not* to blow it with the game on the line (like, batting down a 4th down throw instead of going for the interception, or even less trying to run it back) is a game skill too.

As a Pats fan, I feel bad for the Chargers (except Merriman, who didn't deserve to be there and sucked anyway).

I am quite sure Manning threw up his dinner, though.

628
by tanner (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:49pm

[Full disclosure: lifelong pats fan. ] I think if both teams had played their best, the Chargers would've won by double digits. But for 12 of the last 13 playoff games, including today, the Patriots have made fewer costly mistakes than their opponents. Given their record in the Brady era, how big a sample size will people need before they stop calling it luck? The ability to minimize mistakes under pressure is a skill in itself; NE was terrible at it today, but the Chargers were even worse, and deserved to lose b/c of it.

629
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:53pm

Weirdest. Postseason. Ever.

The Patriots were 5/5 on fumble recoveries. Oh well, I expect that the Colts will win on a fluky play next week, and everyone will talk about how lucky they were.
The Patriots, Colts, Saints, or Bears will win the Super Bowl. I'm still having a hard time imagining it.

630
by Jeremiah (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:54pm

"I am quite sure Manning threw up his dinner, though"

No way. They already beat the Patriots once this year, on the road. The Chargers were about the last team they would like to face. Colts should be happy they get to play against NE, and at home.

631
by Dan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:58pm

The Patriots recovered every single fumble, 5/5 (plus a sixth, which was overturned and ruled incomplete on review). Credit clearly goes to Belichick.

632
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 11:58pm

#620
I don't know the pre T.O. Eagles WRs were pretty terrible (Pinkston-Thrash-FredEx), but the Patriots WRs do seem have them beaten.

The 2000 Super Bowl Ravens WR crew (not counting Shannon Sharpe) was Qadry Ismail-Travis Taylor-Jermaine Lewis.

But still Caldwell-Brown-I guess Gaffney now has them beat...

633
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:00am

620: Worse then the ones Rivers was stuck with? At least the Patriots can hold onto the ball.

634
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:04am

#630: Yes, sure. Peyton is going to go in all calm and confident.

I am not saying that the Colts shouldn't be slightly favored next week, but as far as Manning goes, this must be his worse nightmare. If he loses this one, there are no excuses, no other redemption chances, even if he wins a big one eventually. Much more than a game on his shoulders.

635
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:09am

Incidentally, I think as things are going the Colts can definitely win on Sunday with Manning playing like an average QB. To lose, Manning has to lose it for them. Which, as we know, he can.

636
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:09am

618: my bad. Thought they had one more TO or one less down.

611: Maybe it's God's way of telling us to turn off the TV and step away from the internets for a week, and do something productive with our lives instead.

637
by Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:12am

634: The last few years, Peyton struggled against the Chargers a hell of a lot more than against the Patriots, and not to mention the game is not at HOME. Do you honestly think this is his worst nightmare? You don't think he wants to get this Patriots-in-the-playoffs monkey off of his back?

638
by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:13am

#628: Given their record in the Brady era, how big a sample size will people need before they stop calling it luck?

I don't think that anybody is calling the 2003-2004 Pats lucky; those were damned good teams which dominated each season. But recovering 5/5 fumbles in a game decided by a FG is indeed pretty damned lucky.

I honestly don't understand is why there is so much resistance to the idea that luck matters; between two evenly matched teams (and both AFC games this week were pretty evenly matched), you would 'expect' luck to be the determining factor.

639
by Alex DL (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:14am

I think the biggest difference between the two teams was clearly situaltional awareness.
Is that coaching? experience? combination of both?
The Patriots, at times looked heavily overmatched. SanDiego was moving the ball with ease and preventing the Patriots from moving it. I just think that the Chargers were a greatly skilled football team that ran into a smarter, more aware Patriots team.
and I have to say that two scoring drives in the last five minutes still qualifies Brady as clutch. what more do you want from the guy?

640
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:16am

637:
Do you think Manning has a Chargers monkey on his back? And if he doesn't, and has a Pats monkey instead, why wouldn't playing the Pats at home in an AFC final, all points of emphasis appropriately stressed and enforced, *not* be his worst nightmare? As I said, if he loses, that's it.

641
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:20am

639-Come to the Manning-Brady 3 thread, i'm sure you could find some suggestions ;)
And I just want to say that post 700 wraps it up perfectly.

642
by Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:21am

640: I guess I used the wrong wording, I wouldn't necessarily call it a monkey anymore. It's more of a shit-people-up game about the Pats owning the Colts in the playoffs. My main point was that the Colts match up a lot better with the Patriots than the Chargers, plus the whole home game thing.

643
by Trevor (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:21am

I want to go on here and yell and scream and curse and shit but i just don't have the energy. i need to quit caring about GAMES this much, find a hobby or something. all i wanted to see what phillip rivers win a playoff game, that's all... at least the internet at work will get a rest this week, no espn, espn radio, peter king, or anything else.

644
by asg (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:23am

I had no dog in this fight, but was I the only one who found the officiating shameful? How could the officials ignore Marty screaming TIME OUT on the sideline during the 2 point conversion? Was I the only one who noticed Merriman getting face-masked by the Pats' left tackle not once but twice on the final drive? Or Asante Samuel locking up the receiver's arm on the pass he batted down on the Chargers 2nd to last drive?

The Patriots got hugely lucky in this game with the fumble recoveries but in my view they got a lot of help from the zebras too.

645
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:24am

I don't think luck really lost it for the Chargers. The two key plays were the personal foul on Florence and McCree's stupid attempt at returning the interception - both clearly mental mistakes. Without those, the game wouldn't even have been close, all other lucky breaks for the Pats notwithstanding.

646
by Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:25am

Terrible typo by me, I meant shut instead of shit.

647
by asg (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:26am

Oh, and #645 reminds me of the Florence personal foul, which clearly should have been offsetting since Graham retaliated.

648
by Fat Tony (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:27am

re 644: you had no dog in the fight but you only saw the chargers getting screwed... uh huh... so you're not a chargers fan but you wanted to see them win this one, therefore you had a dog in this fight.

1)they didn't sync the schottenheimer call for a TO with play on the field so we don't know if the refs blew it by not giving it to him

2) what's up with the facemask call on LT being picked up? 15 yards of field position would have been huge in this game, let alone the automatic 5....

Scifres and the punt coverage team were SD's MVPs today. They had an enormous impact on the game.

649
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:29am

Did you guys hear LDT talking about how the Patriots have no class and that maybe it comes from the head coach?

650
by asg (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:32am

648: I guess I must be suffering from some kind of "fan false consciousness". Is it possible to be a fan of a team without knowing it?

The timing of the play is clear from Marty's body language, since he abruptly stops yelling for the timeout. If the league is going to allow coaches to call time out from the sideline, it needs to be clear what precisely they need to do in order to get the timeout.

As for the facemask flag on LT being picked up, surely it's obvious that for the officiating to be lopsided, it's not necessary for ALL the bad calls to go one way.

651
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:34am

As the last poster before the thread went BOOM, I have to say that the nfl.com feed was extremely slow; I posted that comment about the 50+ yard attempt apparently as it was falling short.

Jermaine Lewis was only a returner on that Super Bowl team; the other wideout, who smoked the Giants' cover boy, Jason Sehorn, was none other than Brandon Stokley. No word as to whether Angie Harmon asked for Stokely's number, but Jason saw it often enough to remember it.

And #1212 has it right -- this forward response joke has gotten as lame as the double genuflect some Pats fans jsut did.

652
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:35am

Luck was defiantly in the Patriots favor that game, but in addition the Patriots had better tactics and better preparation.

653
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:36am

How could the officials ignore Marty screaming TIME OUT on the sideline during the 2 point conversion? Was I the only one who noticed Merriman getting face-masked by the Pats’ left tackle not once but twice on the final drive? Or Asante Samuel locking up the receiver’s arm on the pass he batted down on the Chargers 2nd to last drive?

Just quoting because I agree with this sentiment. People in the IRC chat were talking about how Merriman was getting put in a headlock... I really didn't see it, wasn't watching too closely.

Even the taunting foul, which was called unecessary roughness. Didn't the Patriot end up retaliating with a nice hard shove? Why wasn't it turned into an offsetting penalty?

As far as coaching, I thought Belichek kicking a 48 yarder and Marty avoiding one... of course a TD would help you win, but Marty should've tried to put those points up when he had the chance. Funny how that would've been the definition of Marty-ball.

Rivers played okay, but I think the Chargers put up 30+ points with Brees. Rivers did not make a play when the blitz was coming. You figure out of Gates, LDT, or Parker someone would be open. Rivers missing Jackson on an underthrow early, and then over-compensating (really a poor play by Jackson) stick out as reasons why I want to say, "This is why New England wins."

Again, in the long right keeping Rivers is the right call... but in this game I think Brees would've made more than a 4 point difference.

654
by Fat Tony (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:37am

re 649: if you mean, every marginal call should go SD's way, sure it was lopsided. jesus, let it go, the game was decided by the players on the field, not the refs. SD had every opportunity to put the game away and they didn't do it.

I didn't mean that you were a Charger fan but seeing what you want to see is usually a sign that you have a preferred outcome.

655
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:41am

... and again... I really don't know about my last comment on Rivers... time will tell. I'm sure many SD fans would disagree.

Brees probably goes on to have 3-4 more seasons... and consider the impact of drafting someone else besides Rivers.

656
by Devin Lancaster (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:49am

Even better than McRee not returning the interception -- don't even intercept it, bat it down! That's all he had to do -- great field position, Chargers win.

657
by ElTiante (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:50am

Three Most Miserable Performances by a Group of Trained Professionals
3. Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, et al. in "Ishtar"
2. CIA Bay of Pigs Planning Committee
1. San Diego Chargers Wide Receivers

Philip Rivers deserved better.
Kudos to NE defense and offensive line. Brady faced far less pressure than anyone imagined he would. (The Dwight Freeney spin move seems like a bad lounge act waiting to happen.)

658
by TBW (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:50am

in the end Schottenheimer's real crime was refusing to start Rivers in the meaningless finale last year resulting in Brees injury and the Chargers not being able to get anything in return for him. Making Rivers the starter is fine, although obviously a long-term move rather than a short-term move, but losing Brees without compensation is inexcusable. How good could this team have been either with Brees or if they had an extra first or second round pick last year ?

Yeah, I know, still not good enough for Marty to win a playoff game, but maybe they could have been 16-0 instead of 14-2. Think of how spectacular today's loss would have been then.

659
by NF (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:51am

The Patriots were ridiculously lucky today. The penalty on the kickoff, the kickoff that should have gone out of bounds, the muffed punt (which are usualy recovered by the receiving team) recovered by the Pats, the ridiculous drops, Drayton Florence, and every single fumble being recovered by the Patriots.

Who would have predicted that both the Bears and Saints would advance while the Ravens and Chargers wouldn't?

Fortunately for the Chargers, all the pieces are still young and could improve. Vincent Jackson is their future #1 WR, LT has carried under 390 times for the regular season + playoffs and should not suffer an drastic decline like Alexander, and Philip Rivers will be better with a more experienced Gates and an improved WR corp, as well as a full year of playing experience. Also, they have depth on defense and young stars, and Antonio Cromartie should take Quentin Jammer's job in training camp.

Baltimore, on the other hand, needs to worry about its depth, its older players, and needs to seriously re-tool its offense.

660
by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:56am

655: "This is why New England wins."

What sticks out to me is that the Pats recovered 5 of 5 fumbles.

661
by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:59am

Also, I don't think the Chargers win with Brees. Having watched every game either of the played with the Chargers, I'd much rather have Rivers under center.

662
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:01am

#659: The muffed punt itself was lucky only when seen in isolation. But since SD (maybe Parker himself, I don't remember) muffed two other returns, recovering one out of three is not that unusual, and again clearly highlights mental mistakes by SD players.

Basically. It's easy to see the game breaks as only going one way in retrospect, but it's far less so in reality. And again, it's pretty obvious that the Chargers beat themselves. The only thing that really clicked for NE today was the O-line, and to a lesser extent the D-line. All the rest was from average to poor.

663
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:05am

657: To be far, the ones not named Eric Parker did reasonably well. And it's hard to catch the ball with the Patriots dbs barreling down on you.

664
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:09am

By the way, Marty going for it on 4th and 11 and challenging the INT + fumble were two indefensible calls that helped cost them the game.

665
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:11am

666: So, do the Patriots have you to thank for the game or not?

666
by farkerzulu (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:12am

#

The Patriots were ridiculously lucky today. The penalty on the kickoff, the kickoff that should have gone out of bounds, the muffed punt (which are usualy recovered by the receiving team) recovered by the Pats, the ridiculous drops, Drayton Florence, and every single fumble being recovered by the Patriots.

This is coming from a Pats fan, so take it for what it's worth, but:

1. penalty on the kickoff - you mean the unnecessary roughness penalty againt the Chargers on the PAT, that was assessed on the kickoff? That wasn't luck for the Pats, that was a mental error for the Chargers.

2. the kickoff that should have gone out of bounds - you mean the kickoff that would have gone out of bounds had it not been fielded by the Chargers? That wasn't luck for the Pats, that was a mental error for the Chargers.

3. the muffed punt - you mean the muffed punt that Parker tried to pick up and run, instead of just falling on it after the initial fumble? That wasn't luck for the Pats, that was a mental error for the Chargers.

4. the rediculous drops - ehh, there were a few of those on both sides

5. Florence - you mean where he taunted and then headbutted whoever it was (Graham?). That wasn't luck for the Pats, that was a mental error for the Chargers.

6. the fumbles - okay, that was pretty lucky.

I guess if you want to say that the Chargers screwing things up so badly so many times is Patriot's luck, I can see that. But ascribing to luck for one team things that are obviously boneheaded plays by the other is to minimize those plays' boneheadedness.

I notice you didn't include the INT-fumble in your litany of Pats' luck - maybe that's because of the obvious boneheadedness of the INT/runback, and the fact that Troy Brown made a helluva a play. Does the combination of bad play + good play negate the luck factor?

667
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:13am

What a ridiculous game.
Anyways, I'm not sure if the axe is going to fall on Schottenheimer or not, but I think he did a good job coaching. The problem lies in that his many of his players are a bunch of low character selfish athletic freaks who, frankly, are stupid football players. No awareness whatsoever of what is required in a game situation. The fact that Marty got them disciplined enough to win 14 games is pretty impressive.
re: 659
If by seriously retool their offense you mean find a quality running back, then your analysis of Baltimore is spot on. As far as depth is concern OLB and DE could be improved, especially if Thomas (only defensive FA) signs elsewhere.

668
by BC Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:17am

I agree with 667, firing a coach after a 14-2 season is pure reaction. Schotty should come back next year, and if not then he will command a nice salary on the open market if Spanos decides to clean house.

669
by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:19am

651
Typical Ravens fan, referring to a post we'll never get to (but making me genuflect anyway) ;-)

Tom K, you knew I was waiting for that, right. Sorry about your pain yesterday; believe me, I know it only too well. Maybe Indy can make it a little better by going all the way. Not much to hang your hat on, I know, but the past three Februaries I generally say, "Hey, my team is probably #2." The laughter helps ease the pain.

Cheers,
Bob

670
by MDZ (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:23am

OK, whoever is talking about the Pats being lucky is seriously anti-American. It was obvious that on that 4th down play Tom Brady saw his receivers were covered, and threw it to Florence on purpose after staring down the receiver. Then, mesmerized by Tom Brady's dreamy eyes, Florence just couldn't bring himself to knock the ball down. He had to have the ball because it graced the hands of Lord Brady, but one it was in his grasp he lost consciousness due to sheer delight causing him to fumble the ball away. Also, the genius of Belichek should never be questioned again. His brilliant use of Troy Brown at DB two years ago was clearly in preparation for this exact situation. Remember, this is Bill and Tom's world and we're all just living in it.

671
by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:27am

MDZ, Did you genufelct as you typed that? I know it's not even a multiple of ... you know what number, but I genuflected reading it.

I just want to thank you. I feel blessed for havig had the chance to read it. And think about those dreamy eyes.

Gotta go apologize to my wife that I am not Tom Brady.

672
by TBW (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:32am

I wake up everyday and pray that I can be just a little more like Tom Brady.

673
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:35am

Brain farts are as much part of the game as big plays. In fact, I would say that the team that has the least brain farts is generally more likely to win a game than the team that has the most big plays. Today was no exception.

To call brain farts by one team "luck" for the other is just nonsense, and frankly diminishes the game. If brains and split-second decisions with the game on the line only counted as sheer dumb luck, football games would be just glorified Punt, Pass and Kick tournaments.

674
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:48am

Niners fan here...

I can't believe New England won. They were outplayed in every facet of the game except for the scoreboard. Every single break had to go their way to win, and luckily for them it did.

Some observations...

1) 5-5 in fumble recoveries. Just amazing--even more so when you consider that the Colts pulled the same thing off--except they won by nine.

2) Getting the other team to commit a "unnecessary roughness" when you push their player. I could understand if Florence drew a taunting penalty, but they called unnecessary roughness, and the New England guy pushed Florence while he was bobbing his head. Additionally, how does New England not pick up an unnecessary roughness call when they pushed Rivers to the ground? That turned a 39 yard field goal into a 54 yard one at the end. Calling it equal both ways probably wins the game for San Diego.

3) Marty should have ran one more play at the end. You got nine seconds, run a quick out or something to get about 5 more yards. A 49 yarder is eminently more makable than a 54 yard attempt.

4) Tomlinson is right about New England's general lack of class. Terrell Owens does the same stuff they do--mock other people yet the media is always bashing him. I also remember Bruschi and Vrabel mocking the Eagles during the Super Bowl.

5) The pass interference penalty disappeared today. This hurt both teams equally. Of course if the game is called this way next week, Indy is screwed.

6) San Diego's receivers suck. Someone needs to teach them how to hold on to the ball. That reminds me, how the heck did the official call it a Gates fumble and NE recovery? When a player drops the ball when the act of catching the ball causes him to fall, it is an incomplete pass. This rule has gained a renewed emphasis after the Redskins-Tampa game last year in the playoffs.

All in all, this was New England's "luckiest" playoff win since the Tuck Rule game. To me that shows just how impressive they had been in all their other playoff wins until today. I'm guessing San Diego is +25% or somewhere around there in DVOA.

675
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:53am

I wasn't on FO during the game. Here are my thoughts. I'll read the thread after posting this.

1. Matt Light was mauling Merriman the whole game and he was never called on it.
2. Marty Schottenheimer needs to stop listening to his critics. If he had run the ball on every play, he would have won that game.
3. Brady was so clutch, making defensive backs fumble the interceptions he threw.
4. The best two teams in the league are out of the playoffs before the championship round. The same thing happened last year, only last year it was the Patriots and Colts who were the best teams in the league with early exits. This year, they're the weaker teams who got hot at the right time.
5. Has anyone ever seen a single game where Michael Turner did not look awesome?

676
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:56am

Oh, and 6. FO Favorite Eric Parker did not have a good game. MDS Favorite Marcus McNeill, however, did. I wasn't so sure when MDS called him the best Left Tackle in the league. After watching this game, I believe him. I saw him drill Richard Seymour on one running play, and Richard Seymour is the best run-stopping DE I've ever seen.

677
by farkerzulu (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:00am

2) Are you talking about the spike play? Please. Rivers flopped so bad that even Italian soccer players were embarassed for him.

4) People give TO shit for a bunch of other things, too, and rightfully so. But the way I see it, if you're gonna be such a showboater as to have a signature dance, you have to be prepared to be mocked when you lose. Don't want your dance to be mocked? Simple - just play the fucking game without a dance.

And I have to say I'm really disappointed about LDT's postgame thing - I'm a huge fan of his, and have used him as a counter-example to my Dad's disdain for the modern showboating NFL player. But to refuse to shake hands after the game, and call out the opposing team and it's coach, well, you shouldn't say anyone else lacks class when you uncharacteristically refuse to show it yourself.

678
by Digit (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:00am

Navin-

They didn't get called on pushing Rivers to the ground because the OL threw the guy into the QB. Look at the replay.

Also, I tend to think that if your team goes around doing dances while leading, and then the other team does -your- dance back when they're winning, I think you kinda lose higher moral ground on saying they shouldn't be dancing.

679
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:01am

Flat out, just a stunning collapse by SD. They dominated this game completely, but through a combination of their own stupidity and NE's insane luck (something I've maintained they've had for 6 years), NE wins a game they had no business winning.

I guess this is the year that Manning gets his damn ring so everyone can finally remove the caveat from him--and maybe that means he'll be acclaimed the best QB in the game by the national punditry--finally.

680
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:01am

This reminds me a lot of the Tuck Rule game. Similar bizarre plays, similar in that in both games, the losing team had the game in the bag, but lost due to a lot of mental errors.

So if history holds, next year the Chargers will go to the Super Bowl, only to lose to the Schottenheimer-coached Buccaneers.

Getting the other team to commit a “unnecessary roughness� when you push their player. I could understand if Florence drew a taunting penalty, but they called unnecessary roughness, and the New England guy pushed Florence while he was bobbing his head.

Florence was trying to head-butt Graham, and Graham pushed in self-defense.

Additionally, how does New England not pick up an unnecessary roughness call when they pushed Rivers to the ground?

Because Rivers' fall was a flop good enough to make an Argentinian soccer player proud.

681
by farkerzulu (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:02am

The above was in response to 674, btw.

682
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:05am

last year it was the Patriots and Colts who were the best teams in the league with early exits. This year, they’re the weaker teams who got hot at the right time.

No way. This NE team is #2 in the league in WDVOA. Last year they were #13.

683
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:06am

Rivers flopped on the spike play. The refs were correct in not calling a foul on the Patriots. I thought it was a foul until I saw the replay, where it's pretty clear that the defensive lineman didn't do anything wrong.

684
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:12am

682: WDVOA is the "getting hot at the right time" part. The Patriots have been playing very well lately, but the Chargers and Ravens were better over the course of the season.

Last year, their DVOA was pretty low, but they had lots of injuries and all that. If you're a Pats fan, you probably know all about it. Going into the playoffs, they got many of those players back, and they played like one of the best two teams in football. DVOA only tells part of the story there.

685
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:12am

Reche Caldwell after the game:

"No one gave us a chance."

Methinks he's been reading a little too much of Rodney's Little Dirty Book.

686
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:15am

680: Not true about the head-butt. It's pretty clear that Florence was rushing up to do some jawjacking, and the Pats player didn't really want to have somebody's facemask up against theirs, so he pushed him away. Florence was clearly the aggressor, but it wasn't exactly "self-defense." He could have turned and walked away, but chose to shove him instead. In my opinion it should have been offsetting, but I can always understand siding against the aggressor.

The Rivers thing may or may not have been a flop... it didn't look particularly hard to me, but regardless, #678 Digit is correct, the defender was kind of pushed so there was no reason for a penalty to be called on the Pats.

However, I do think that it's pretty trashy to do a mocking dance on the other team's logo when you win. Celebrating when you make a good play during a game (which everyone does... is it really that bad to have a favorite?) isn't the same as doing it on the opponents logo to belittle them.

Calling out the opposing team for doing so is certainly justified, and is not a sign of a lack of class at all. Maybe Merriman can be criticized as a showboat, but I don't think LDT did anything wrong... at least until he mentioned Belichick. I have no idea where that came from.

687
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:16am

From NY Newsday:

McCree said he never considered knocking down the pass, which would have been a sensible play; San Diego would have taken over on downs at its 41.

"I was trying to score," he said. "I saw there was an O-lineman in front of me and I knew if I could make him miss, there was a lot of room in front of me. Before I had a chance, Troy Brown stripped the ball from me. He made a great play."

688
by Marko (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:34am

Re: McCree: I just saw an interview with McCree on ESPN. The reporter asked why he didn't just knock the ball down. McCree said, "Why would I?" The reporter then said, "It was fourth down." McCree responded by saying (I'm paraphrasing here - it may not be an exact quote), "So what? He threw the ball right to me."

I'm sure TMQ will love that one.

689
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:37am

Yeah... I dunno, the odds of fumbling on the pick return seem pretty small. If I picked off a pass and saw a clear lane to the end zone (which is what he says he saw) then I think I'd go for it too. A TD (or just good field position) would win the game outright, basically.

690
by Marko (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:43am

I agree, if there really was a clear lane (for example, if he jumped a sideline route). But there obviously wasn't, as evidenced by what happened. He caught the ball in the middle of the field, with lots of bodies between him and any clear lane. He was just being selfish and not playing smart.

691
by farkerzulu (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:48am

However, I do think that it’s pretty trashy to do a mocking dance on the other team’s logo when you win. Celebrating when you make a good play during a game (which everyone does… is it really that bad to have a favorite?) isn’t the same as doing it on the opponents logo to belittle them.

I can see what you're saying, and I would've preferred the Pats not do any sort of mocking.

But really - all these players these days with their "dances"... they deserve to be mocked by anybody and everybody. Sure, celebrate a good play, but just play the goddamn game and leave the Dancing with the Stars till after you retire.

692
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:51am

691: A fair point. Honestly dances don't bother me that much, just the frequency with which they are done. Players dance after every play, even sometimes when they weren't all that positive for their team (like a short completion where the CB acts like he's a badass for making the tackle).

693
by Devin Lancaster (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:59am

McCree is both arrogant and stupid. I can see grabbing the pass in the excitement of the moment, then sit down and cut the risk. He was surrounded. And when asked about it later, to pretend he doesn't see the wisdom of batting it down - asinine. If he REALLY doesn't get it - imbecile.

694
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 3:07am

I don't think the McCree play is as bad as everyone is saying. Seriously, we are arm-chairing. Knocking it down is easy to do when it's a hail mary. When there is a pass like that, it looked like he broke on the ball on instinct. What is inexcusable is him not getting down or not putting two hands on the ball.

... and I don't see how the other team making a lot of "mental errors" isn't luck. Is there data that shows the bonehead Charger penalties weren't unpredictable events?

695
by Ben B. (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 3:15am

My big problem with the Pats' dancing: they rushed the field and did it after the missed field goal by Kaeding. First, there were still three seconds left in the game. Second, if Kaeding's field goal goes through, which they had absolutely no control over, then it's a tie game. So it's a little ridiculous for them to be doing it at that point.

Also, I'm a Charger fan, and yes, Rivers was definitely diving on the last drive. Can't decide if this is poor sportsmanship and despicable like in soccer or if it's a genius move to do whatever possible to win.

696
by Kyle (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 3:16am

As a Giants fan who saw team after team, player after player, enemy fan after enemy fan in the stands perform the Jim Jones "Ballin!" jumpshot after they made a play against Big Blue, Chargers fans (and LDT) need to suck it up. When you use a particular dance, gesture or motion to celebrate a play you made against your opponent, you cannot possibly cry "CLASSLESS!" when the other team returns the favor. Especially when they just won the game. What can you possibly say in response to them? They just beat you. The game ended with their final point total larger than your final point total. Just take it on the chin and move along.

697
by Dave (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 3:19am

691: I can see what you’re saying, and I would’ve preferred the Pats not do any sort of mocking.

But really - all these players these days with their “dances�… they deserve to be mocked by anybody and everybody.

You know, I don't have a problem with guys having a little dance. I don't even have a problem with guys mocking other guys' little dances after they make plays. You and your dad apparently do, and that's fine. Different strokes.

But the intent of mocking the opponent's dance after winning the game in your opponent's house, on the middle of their ballfield... I can't possibly believe you really consider that the same order of things than doing the lights out move in the heat of a game after making a play.

The former can at least be an expression of jubilance (of questionable taste). The latter--well, that's the kind of thing you do when you're a dick.

698
by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 3:23am

693: Normally, I'd agree with your assessment, but it really doesn't gel with what else we know about McCree.

699
by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 3:24am

697: Well stated.

700
by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 3:26am

Is anyone else especially curious to see each team's DVOA from this game?

701
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 4:06am

DVOA could be damn near anything, couldn't it? Pretty crazy game. The turnovers will probably hurt the Chargers a lot though.

702
by NF (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 4:13am

The question of which team has been the luckiest over the last 6 years can be easily answered by Aaron. Subtract VOA adjusted for FGs, returns, and fumble recoveries from non-adjusted VOA, repeating for each season, then add the results together. That number will be the sum benefit to that team of random chance in the regular season.

703
by ElTiante (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 4:27am

Watching the game, I was amazed at how nearly every Charger defender danced after making a stop. In fact, the most memorable moment I can think of offhand for Merriman was the celebratory jig he did after a play in which he didn't even make the tackle. New England players saved their dancing for later. Classless or smart?

Admittedly, recovering 5 of 5 fumbles requires luck. But watch the replays and you'll see it might also require a greater degree of alertness and hustle. Maybe focus, too. And good hands. And somewhere in there, luck.

704
by ElTiante (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 4:28am

Oops! Just so I don't get accused of being a Pats homer, Tom Brady sucked today.

705
by farkerzulu (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 4:47am

But the intent of mocking the opponent’s dance after winning the game in your opponent’s house, on the middle of their ballfield… I can’t possibly believe you really consider that the same order of things than doing the lights out move in the heat of a game after making a play.

The former can at least be an expression of jubilance (of questionable taste). The latter–well, that’s the kind of thing you do when you’re a dick.

I don't know - I really hate all the dances these days - like I said, just play the game, and celebrate a good play, but leave the signature moves to Danny Terio (dating myself) or whoever.

And I didn't see the Pats players celebrating while there was still time on the clock - I know there was the penalty for removing helmets in celebration, but I never actually saw the mocking dance that led to the contretemps.

And like I also said before, I wish the Pats hadn't done any mocking, but really, if you're going to have a signature dance that you bust out during the game, when the contest is yet to be decided, who are you to protest having that signature dance turned against you after you've lost?

If it's so disrespectful for the Pats to do the "Lights Out" dance after they've won, isn't it just as disrespectful, if not moreso, for Merriman to do the "Lights Out" dance while the game is still going on?

I may just be an old-schoolish homer here, but I really don't see how the Chargers aren't being hypocritical in their complaints.

Someone upthread made the point about how you see CBs acting like they just made the best play in the world after they stopped an RB after a 6 yd gain. This brought to mind something from another sport - how you see a guy in the NBA throw down a monster dunk, then act like he's the baddest mofo ever, even though his team is down 20 with 5 minutes to go. That's the sort of thing, among others, that made me stop watching the NBA. You don't want that shit to infect the NFL any more than it already has, do you?

706
by Skydivelucky (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 4:49am

Anyone else as disgusted with the officiating in this game as me? Are they afraid to call anything against the Pats in the playoffs? The Reche Caldwell catch was an obvious false start and on the missed FG by the chargers where was the penalty for decking Rivers? and the lack of offsides call a play later?

707
by BillWallace (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 4:58am

Luckiest big game win I've ever seen, including the tuck rule game.

Also the Florence penalty should have been offsetting taunting&UR.

Unbelievable game. Karma dictates that Peyton win easily.

708
by farkerzulu (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 5:00am

on the missed FG by the chargers where was the penalty for decking Rivers?

Philip Rivers got decked on a missed FG? Or are you referring to the non-call on Rivers' soccer-flop on the spike play?

Either way, if you read the thread, you'll see no impartial judgements of bad officiating.

709
by farkerzulu (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 5:04am

Also the Florence penalty should have been offsetting taunting&UR.

You know, I've been thinking about that - it's often said that players should never retaliate to a cheap shot because the cheap shot seldom gets called but the retaliation always does. That penalty was the exception.

710
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 5:06am

705: I dunno, monster jams are always sweet, and if I could do them, I would celebrate every time, no matter what. I think that's a little different, because you can still perform cool and entertaining plays in basketball even if it doesn't really matter anymore, and I think dancing is okay then. Suppose your football team is down 20 with 3 minutes left, but you (as running back) shed a few tacklers, juke out another guy, and run for a 70 yard TD. It doesn't really matter for the game, but it was a great individual effort, the fans all loved it... why not dance?

I just object when you don't do something cool, but dance anyway. I actually am with ElTiante, I vividly remember the Merriman dance after a play where he didn't do anything, and that makes me a little crazy. Typically, I enjoy dancing.

711
by farkerzulu (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 5:15am

I think that’s a little different, because you can still perform cool and entertaining plays in basketball even if it doesn’t really matter anymore, and I think dancing is okay then.
Suppose your football team is down 20 with 3 minutes left, but you (as running back) shed a few tacklers, juke out another guy, and run for a 70 yard TD. It doesn’t really matter for the game, but it was a great individual effort, the fans all loved it… why not dance?

It's never ok to ostentatiously celebrate an individual accomplishment when the team is about to lose.

712
by Jeremy (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 5:18am

Pats fan here. Would just like to point out, for all the people pulling out the ol' "they got lucky" card: if you're going to consider San Diego mistakes good luck for New England, you have to look at the New England mistakes and consider them good luck for San Diego, and then suddenly it evens out.

For example: Brady missed two very open receivers who would have waltzed into the end zone (Watson in the second half and, I think, Gaffney in the first). The Chargers just got lucky.

Gostkowski kicked a kickoff out of bounds. More Charger luck.

LT clearly should have been called for a major facemask penalty on the Colvin interception. Yet MORE Charger luck.

Should I go on? Simple fact is that when you look at a game, you have to look at the whole picture. The Pats certainly cheated death throughout this game, but had they died, you could just as easily say that the Chargers "lucked out" as you can say now that the Pats did. Which is to say that you can say it, but it misses the truth.

713
by farkerzulu (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 5:29am

LT clearly should have been called for a major facemask penalty on the Colvin interception. Yet MORE Charger luck.

I've been wondering about that - is the 5yd incidental facemask penalty still on the books? I haven't seen it called in a long time, and that seemed like the perfect time for it.

And one last comment on the whole dancing, LDT-postgame thing: if LDT - who, like I've said, I really like and respect - were so concerned about etiquette, shouldn't he have stopped his teammates from trash-talking before the game?

Is there any team in the NFL that, from the coach on down, does less trash-talking than the Pats?

714
by Alex DL (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 5:34am

"stay classy San Diego"
The words of Ron Burgundy have never rung more true.
Also, we have all learned that when someone dances at you, you have to dance back.

715
by Paul (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 9:22am

re: 675 Yeah, I thought the Pats line was getting away with a lot of holding all day.

716
by David (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 9:59am

It never ceases to amaze me that people have no problem with someone dancing over a fallen opponent, but somehow regard it as poor sportsmanship to do so over a corporate logo. Both are designed to show someone up.

If LDT is so bothered by this issue, perhaps he ought to have shown some veteran leadership earlier in the season and told Merriman to cut the nonsense. After all, LDT and Rivers have the most to lose if their teammate persists in pissing off large men with anger control issues.

717
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 10:24am

The game wasn't as lopsided as it appeared. Total yardage was about the same. Time of Possession was about the same. San Diego had a couple more penalties, and one more turnover. In a tight game, that made the difference.

718
by Rick (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 10:39am

Have to say - I really lost a lot of respect for Philip Rivers when he flopped. Apparently he thinks he's playing in Serie A. Flopping should be punishable by an unsporstmanlike conduct penatly - that's what they do in soccer, but the reward/risk ratio is still so high that people flop like crazy.

719
by Deb from Dorchester (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 11:08am

"I would never, never react in that way," Tomlinson said. "You guys know me. I'm a very classy person. ... So yes, I was upset. Very upset.
....Did Shawn tell you you're very classy or is this a self-coronation?

720
by MDZ (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 11:46am

#713
Neither the Pats nor Colts trash talk much at all. Or at least neither team trash talks before the game to give the other team motivation. Vanderjagt is gone. This week's interviews could have the most compliments for your opponent ever. I don't see much bulletin board material happening (that isn't completely manufactured by a coach or media).

721
by Buck Naked (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 11:53am

Boston Herald article linked.

722
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:33pm

Erasmus #632:

I don’t know the pre T.O. Eagles WRs were pretty terrible (Pinkston-Thrash-FredEx), but the Patriots WRs do seem have them beaten.

Oh, no way! The 06 Patriots corps had 153 receptions, 1782 yards and 15 TD's. The 03 Eagles corps had just 126 receptions, 1726 yards, and just 5 TD's. The 03 Eagles also had worse receiving Tight Ends. Their only advantage was somewhat better receivers at running back.

2006 Patriots:
Troy Brown 43 384 8.9 4
Reche Caldwell 61 760 12.5 4
Doug Gabriel 25 344 13.8 3
Jabar Gaffney 11 142 12.9 1
Chad Jackson 13 152 11.7 3

2003 Eagles:
Greg Lewis 6 95 15.8 0
Freddie Mitchell 35 498 14.2 2
Todd Pinkston 36 575 16.0 2
James Thrash 49 558 11.4 1

723
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:34pm

I would say the Pats offense doesn't talk trash at all. Brady might whine a lot, but it's no different than most quarterbacks.

The defense is a totally different case though. Bruschi, Vrabel and Rodney Harrison are some of the biggest jerks in the league. That's on top of how they jump on players after the play is over--this might be what they're coached to do--get one last hit in to tire out the opponent.

724
by DW (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:37pm

For the record, I'm a Patriots fan but I think the Chargers played better. However, the Patriots recovered all five fumbles which I think was enough to make the difference. Luck is part of the game. The Jets were lucky last week - they just weren't good enough to take advantage of it. I'm just amazed that Schottenheimer is getting so little grief for that stupid challenge of the interception/fumble that cost the Chargers a time out. How would the Chargers' last drive look with an extra 40 seconds?

725
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:37pm

Re: 712/Jeremy,
People are saying the Patriots got lucky because they recovered 5/5 fumbles and the "taunting" and uncalled OPI penalties both resulted in points for the Pats. Every borderline play except for Tomlinson not getting called for face mask went in favor of the Patriots.

726
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:55pm

714: Are you crazy? If you do that, it's on. Nobody wants that.

Dear San Diego, thanks for giving us yet another week of Pats-Colts mega-hype. Sincerely, the rest of America.

713: Yes, the five-yard penalty is still available, but you're right, it's not called very often. I think the last one I found was in the Eagles-Giants wild-card game in the third quarter. I personally think it's partly because players just don't bother to let go any more - there have been some plays where the NFL probably needs the equivalent of a double minor (although in this case, a personal foul is more like a major penalty, so I suppose it would be a game misconduct ...). Maybe it's time to have "tearaway" face masks, as someone suggested a couple of weeks ago.

727
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:17pm

Every borderline play except for Tomlinson not getting called for face mask went in favor of the Patriots.

Not sure what makes recovering a fumble 'borderline.'

In short, the Patriots capitalized on the opportunities given them (fumbles, penalties on SD), and the Chargers didn't capitalize enough on the opportunities given them (spending the entire first half in Patriots territory, 3 INTS by Brady).

I mean, come on. Brady throws three picks, BLT runs for 143 yards, your team needs to win. No excuses -- that should be enough right there.

728
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:54pm

RE: 148

A missed FG gives the Patriots 17 more yards of field position. But I’d have kicked, too.

Actually, it's 7 or 8. Depends on where the holder puts the ball down.
It was absolutely nonsensical not to kick the FG there.

729
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:21pm

Can someone remind me of what the "5 out of 5" fumbles were?

I can remember the Rivers fumble, the Brady fumble, and the McCree fumble. Maroney fumbled out of bounds once, but he was right there going out of bounds himself, so it's hard to count that as a major "lucky" break.

The muffed punt was one of three similar occurrences in the game, so if that one counts, the 2 recovered by SD should count as well.

Really, there is only one 100% pure luck play that has a strong, often decisive influence on the game outcome: the coin toss in overtime. All the other plays involve some level of skill, or lack thereof (mistakes), and are just as much part of the game as athletic gestures like Binn downing that punt at the 2 after it was bouncing into the endzone.

As for the dance, it was in poor taste to rub it into SD's face, but Merriman is a dickhead and trash-talker extraordinnaire, besides being a cheater, and I am sure the Pats did not forget what he said last week during halftime of the Pats-Jets game. So he personally totally deserved it, especially after sucking for most of the game. You live by the boast, you die by the boast.

730
by barraquda (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:31pm

Re: 716, etc.

Also, Merriman didn't leave his taunting to the playing field - he sent "Lights Out" merch and popcorn to Jason Taylor so he could "watch the Chargers in the playoffs," then told the media about it. Why dancing on a logo is worse is kind of beyond me.

731
by Dave (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:40pm

728: As for the dance, it was in poor taste to rub it into SD’s face, but Merriman is a dickhead and trash-talker extraordinnaire, besides being a cheater, and I am sure the Pats did not forget what he said last week during halftime of the Pats-Jets game. So he personally totally deserved it, especially after sucking for most of the game. You live by the boast, you die by the boast.

OK, so I keep hearing stuff like this. Let me try to explain one more time what I believe the difference to be.

Dancing around after making a play isn't necessarily reveling in the pain the QB you just sacked is feeling. Skill position players get to dance around after they make a long completion, or run, or score. DBs can dance around after they make an INT. Someone like Shawne Merriman, whose calling card is obviously the sack--if a guy like that feels inclined to have a little dance, he's going to bust it out after he drops the QB. He's celebrating his own accomplishments. For everyone who thinks that's in questionable taste and that he should just play the game, I don't necessarily disagree.

I remember one of my favourite football action shots ever was a picture of Larry Centers doing some heroic He-Man pose after scoring a touchdown or something. The shot had several opposing players standing around him. Nobody was taking offense, or very interested. One of them was gesturing mildly towards the scoreboard, plainly visible in the background, which showed that Centers' team (I think this was when he was with the skins) was behind 35-6 in the fourth quarter. That's how you win a ballgame.

If you've won, why bother dancing around, mocking someone's moves? You've won.

Here's the other thing: calling the Chargers colors at the center of the field a corporate logo is nonsense, and misunderstands everything that goes into being a fan of a team. Yes, the team is a capitalist entity, but there were a ton of people in the stands who love the Chargers because irrational exuberance is what being a fan is all about. When you disrespect the team's colors on the field, in front of all the paying customers--well, that's the kind of thing that gets Terrell Owens called an asshole, but I suppose that doesn't apply to the Pats.

If Merriman irritates you, that's fine. If someone on-field mocks him by imitating his moves in a game situation, that's fine too. But when the game is over, and you've won, for Christ's sake, put the dance shoes away.

732
by BillWallace (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 3:05pm

re: "it’s often said that players should never retaliate to a cheap shot"

Florence didn't deliver a cheap shot, his helmet never touched the other guy. He was taunting, which was incredibly stupid.
The other guy initiated contact, for which he should have also been penalized. Off-setting was the right call.

I agree with navin. I can root for Brady even with the whining, but not the Pats defense. The dancing means nothing to me, but it's cheap shot after cheap shot. I hope Peyton carves them up.

On a related note, on the Chargers roughness on the XP, the Pats player who got hit was standing over a charger with his hands grabbing up near his throat area. I couldn't see if he just had jersey and was holding him down, or was actually hurting him.

733
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 4:35pm

RE: 234

Michael Turner is a RFA. He'll likely receive the 1st round tender.

734
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 4:35pm

RE: 234

Michael Turner is a RFA. He'll likely receive the 1st round tender.

735
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 8:49pm

Um, the referees explained why there was no penalty on the LDT "facemask." His hand went over the face, grabbed on the top of the head, and pulled him down. That's not a facemask, which is why the ref put the flag back into his pocket. I thought it was pretty self-explanatory.

736
by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 01/21/2007 - 3:30pm

RE: 698

McCree is the same guy that justified his cheap shot of TJ Houshmandzadeh by claiming that he lost track of the ball. That makes a lot of sense. If you don't know where the ball is, just take a blatant cheap shot at the wide receiver. Can't go wrong, right?

McCree is both arrogant and stupid.

Players should be aware of the situation on the field. Is it that hard to say "It's 4th down, knock it down"?
The vast majority of the time, picking a pass off on 4th down is worse than knocking it down. In this case, there was almost no upside. Returning it for a TD doesn't make much of a difference.