Monday, December 19, 2011

Chargers/Ravens Game Diary

OK, just thought I'd try this for fun.  It ended up quite long, so feel free to skim around.

Never done a game diary before, so I really don't know what I'm doing.  I sat down with a notebook and a pen and wrote down what I saw as it happened, and then typed them in after the game.

7:12 pm  Settle in on the couch, I'm ready for the kickoff.

For those that don't know, I'm kind of a die-hard Chargers fan.  So I'll probably be plenty partial as I write this, but so far it's been a good day for the Chargers.  The Denver Tebows lost at home, the Raiders lost at home, and for San Diego to make the playoffs they have to win all 3 of their remaining games.  It's just like Norv planned it!

Anyways, it's been a crazy day in the NFL.  The Packers lost to KC?, the Colts won?, the Giants lost to the Redskins?, the Eagles CRUSH the Jets?, Reggie Bush rushes for 200+ yards?  I mean, Chargers beat the Ravens could fit right in, right?

7:14 pm NBC cuts to Ray Lewis screaming "Play like dictators!" which led to my wife saying, "Who is that?  He sounds like a maniac."  I wonder if Ray ever thinks about his buddy sitting in prison for murder.

Chargers still have some (slight) playoff hopes.  Here is what we needed coming into today.
1.  Broncos have to lose 3 straight.  They lost the first one today.
2. The Raider have to lose 2 of 3, and they lost today, and play San Diego in week 17.
3.  The Chargers have to win all 3 games.  The first, and toughest task, will be Baltimore tonight.

7:19 pm Tony Dungy picks the Ravens to win.  Rodney Harrison picks.... the Chargers?  Something strange is afoot.  He NEVER picks the Chargers.  Particularly if they are playing a "physical, smashmouth" style of team like the Ravens are known for.

7:23 Faith Hill has been waiting all day for Sunday Night.
Chris Collinsworth - the Chargers could make some noise in the playoffs, but they will need help and also need to get by the Ravens tonight.

Sports Doofus - if the Chargers lose tonight Norv Turner is as good as fired.  And, it won't be easy as the as the Ravens are in a battle for the #1 seed in the AFC.

7:30 Michelle Tafoya interviews Norv Turner on the field
Norv Turner - We've been playin good.  Playing a tough team tonight.  Rivers needs to play "within himself".

Thanks for the insight Norv.

Michelle - possible injury to starting Ravens CB Webb.
Thanks Michelle

7:31 pm Nick Novak kicks off to start the game.  Touchback.

First Play - Ray Rice off the left side for 21 yards.  Ouch

On a 2nd and 12, Flacco badly misses a wide open Boldin over the middle.  The Chargers and their fans need Flacco to suck tonight.

On 3rd and 12, Flacco hits Boldin for a big gain of 34 yards.  At SD 34 yard line already.  (Sigh)

Chargers Hold.  and Raven's K Billy Cundiff misses a 36 yard FG attempt.  Charger Ball.

7:40 pm Chargers first play - Phillip Rivers completes a short pass to Ryan Mathews and he turns it into a 13 yard gain.

Michaels notes that the Chargers have had 11 different starters on their Offensive line this season.  (NOT a good thing against this Ravens defense)

on 3rd and 7 Rivers hits Randy McMichael for a 1st down.

7:42 pm  A little "Trickeration" by Norv!
-A Reverse pass option given to Vincent Jackson... pulled it down and got a 9 yard gain on the run.

Mathews on a nice gain up the middle, but fumbles.  Jared Gaither starting Left Tackle for the Chargers (as of 2 weeks ago) recovers.  Whew!  Mathews needs to get over that fumbling problem.  He's really fun to watch.

7:47 pm Rivers calls a timeout with 2nd and Goal at the 2 yard line.  Nice drive so far, Norv has been mixing up the play calling on this drive.

7:49 pm Bring Mike Tolbert in to carry the ball and he's stuffed.  3rd and Goal from the 2.
-Draw play to Tolbert scores a touchdown.

-First time in 21 games that the Ravens D has given up a score on the opening drive.  Norv is a genius in December!  The "Accessory to Murder" (AtoM, for short) was blocked well by Tyronne Green on the TD run.

7:53 pm On the kick return, #37 from Baltimore played well beyond the whistle and basically tackled a Charger on kickoff coverage.  This leads to a scuffle, pushing, shoving, taunting... from both teams.

NBC come back from commercial and there are no penalties on the previous play?  And NBC doesn't discuss it, either.  Evidently, Baltimore can play beyond the whistle, jump on the pile, and pull off helmets, and this is well within the rules of the game.  Kind of like watching Duke play basketball, if it's Duke it's not a foul, because "that's how they play".

Ravens bring out the "Don't Blow This For Us, Joe" Offense.  This features lots of hand offs to Ray Rice, and short passes to Tight Ends.

8:02 pm End of 1st quarter  San Diego 7 Baltimore 0
-if San Diego can stop the run... I like their chances, Flacco has been off on a couple of throws.

8:05 pm Rice starts the second quarter like the first, with a nice run for a 1st down.  Inside the San Diego 20 yard line, now.  Short Run, then incomplete pass.  3rd and 8 on the 15 yard line.  Flacco threads the needle on a beautiful pass to Tight End Ed Dickson for a TD.  Great Throw, Flacco.  Score is tied:  7-7.

That was a nice drive by the Ravens and what they want to do.  Survived a few errant passes and pounded the ball well.  Although, the drive survived because Flacco was able to scramble for a 12 yard gain on a 3rd and 10.  I swear your local junior high quarterback could scramble for a first down against this version of the Chargers defense.  It happens every game.

8:12 pm  Rivers takes over at the 20 yard line, following the touchback.
-lets see how the Ravens defense reacts to that first drive by the Bolts.

8:14 pm Rivers gets sacked on what I call a "Norv Drive".  (The Norv Drive - short run up the middle, followed by a deep pass out of Shotgun formation.  Repeat. )
Run Mathews - Pass for a first down.
Run Mathews - Sack - BUT, a penalty on Terrell Suggs for slapping McMichael on the side of the head saves the day for the Chargers.  1st down off the penalty.

Norv Drive - continues.
-Run Mathews - Deep Pass to Gates, first down
-Run, pitch to Mathews... big loss.  2nd and long... Deep pass to Vincent Jackson...incomplete.  That was there, Rivers overthrew him.

8:21 pm 45 Yard Field Goal by Nick Novak is good.  10-7 Chargers lead.  7:44 to go in the Half.
(-Feeling good.  got points off a "Norv Drive".  Let's see if the Ravens go back to the "DBTFUJ" Offense, or if they let him wing it since that TD pass was on a rope.

8:26 pm  Joe Flacco is sacked...but penalty flag on the play, false start on the Ravens, back up and do it again.
3rd and 10 - 11 Yard gain.  (If you wrote this stuff, meaning the Chargers play, as fiction, no one would  believe it.... too improbable)

8:30 pm Flacco overthrows a wide open Ray Rice on 3rd and 3.  He would have gained 20 yards.  Flacco is really, really, erratic.  That TD he threw was a laser fired between two defenders, and yet, he's had a couple of BAD misfires.  I mean, just bad.
-Punt is a touchback, so SD will take over on the 20 yard line.

8:33 pm There is 3:11 to go in the half as Rivers approaches the line. (Please don't turn it over.)
-Mathews up the middle for 2
-Pass to Floyd dropped, so it's 3rd and 8.  2:21 to go in the half.

Ravens bring a ton of pressure and Rivers makes them pay.  58 yards down the left sideline to Vincent Jackson.  NBC cuts to a look of Flacco on the Baltimore sideline that is just precious.  (That's how you play QB in this league, Joe)  2 minute warning.

8:37 pm 1st and 10 at the Baltimore 20 yard line.

8:38 pm Rivers hits Malcolm Floyd and it's first and goal at the 1 yard line.  Tolbert up the middle, stuffed by AtoM.

8:40 pm Pitch to Ryan Mathews around the right side.  Touchdown.  :19 until halftime.  17-7 Chargers lead.

8:42 pm Flacco takes the field in the Shotgun from the 20 yard line following the kickoff.  Hits Rice for a nice gain out of the backfield.  Timeout Ravens with 4 seconds left until half time.  (Please no PI to set up a field goal attempt)
8:44 pm Flacco sacked by former Raven Antawn Barnes to end the half.

Norv for President!
-Seriously, the Chargers look great.  The Ravens seem caught off guard, like they expected an easy game.  Norv may or may not be back coaching this team next year.... but they never quit on him.  All that being said, it's only halftime and this Chargers team has found about a thousand different ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory over the past two seasons.

9:00 pm Ravens kickoff - Touchback
Nervous Charger fans are waiting for the sky to fall.
-Michelle Tafoya reports that the Ravens coaches are saying the officials need to call holding on the Chargers offensive line.  However, Norv Turner told her that the Chargers are simply blocking better.

Thanks Michelle, glad you cleared that up.

3rd and 8 and the Ravens Blitz, Rivers beats them deep to Malcom Floyd for 16 yards.

Ravens Blitz again... Rivers beats it again, complete pass to Vincent Brown for 15 yards and the Bolts are across midfield.

9:05 pm Nice Run by Ryan Mathews around the left side for 18 yards.

9:06 pm Philip Rivers hits Malcolm Floyd deep for a TD.  The extra point is good.
-AtoM looks absolutely pissed on the sideline.  NBC breaks out the "San Diego Super Charger" song from the early 80's as they go to commercial.  24-7 Chargers.  (Really?)

9:08 pm Ravens come out throwing, in the Shotgun.  Possibly a good sign for the Chargers?
-Tommie Harris sacks Joe Flacco... Harris has been a great addition as a mid-season pickup.  He's played well.  2nd and 18.

(As a Chargers fan, I like seeing Flacco back in the 'gun.  Less Ray Rice to worry about)
-Sack by Antawn Barnes.  Wow.
-a late flag comes out, facemask on Barnes during the sack.

9:15 Quinten Jammer drops a sure pick on a tipped ball.
-Next Play - Linebacker Takeo Spikes intercepts Flacco and rumbles to the Baltimore 25.  Replay shows that Flacco threw it right to him.  Although, to be honest, he was wide open on the play.
-Chargers are penalized 15 yards for excessive celebration after the return.  Of course.

6:23 to go in the 3rd quarter.  Rivers takes over at the Baltimore 42 yard line.
-Chargers go to "Norv Drive" mode.  run, pass.  run, pass.  Then...Pass complete to Floyd!  First and goal at the 4 yard line of the Ravens.

9:21 pm Ryan Mathews leaps over the pile (from the 4 yard line?) for a touchdown.  Novak kicks the extra point.  31-7 Chargers lead.  4:05 left in the 3rd quarter.  Norv for President!

9:27 pm Ravens take over
-NBC runs a graphic stating that the Chargers are the first team in history to score on their first five possessions against the Ravens franchise.

9:30 pm Shaun Phillips intercepts Joe Flacco on a tipped pass.  Wow.
-2 incomplete passes and a draw by Tolbert leads to a field goal attempt by Novak.
-Novak hits the right upright from 37 yards out, which leads to a scintillating conversation between Michaels and Collinsworth on how John Madden would have called that a "doink".

9:35 pm Ravens come out in a Shotgun offense, and are running no huddle.  (This does not displease me.)

9:36 pm  End of 3rd quarter.  31-7 Chargers lead the Ravens.

9:38 pm  Start of the 4th quarter.
-Flacco sacked by Barnes.  Again.  I'm not sure I'd consider my team to be a Super Bowl contender with him as my Quarterback.  Nice punt by the Ravens will pin the Chargers on their own 1 yard line.

9:41 pm Rivers gets the Ravens to jump off-sides on first down.  First and 5 at the 6 yard line.
AtoM tackles Jacob Hester by the facemask.  This leads to a penalty flag being thrown, and then picked up?  What the heck was that?  Barnes had half that amount on Flacco earlier.  Officials are probably worried about Ray and his buddies knowing where he lives, or something.

9:45 pm  Tolbert runs a draw play up the middle for 22 yards.
-Ummm... Baltimore?  Norv runs that play all the time.  But thanks, anyway.
-Chargers have now moved to the 44 yard line, all on the ground (and had an obvious facemask penalty picked up off the ground for no reason).

9:47 pm  On a 3rd and 5, Rivers hits Mike Tolbert on a screen pass and he picks up a first down by spinning away from AtoM.  However, in Ray's defense he wasn't able to reach Tolbert's facemask.

9:49 pm Ryan Mathews breaks a big run to the left.
-Chargers are at the 10 yard line of Baltimore.  This drive has taken over 9 minutes, started at the San Diego 1 yard line, and had exactly 1 pass play (a screen pass to Tolbert).  FG by Novak is good.  34-7 with 4:28 left to play in the game.

9:56 pm Flacco takes over and immediately floats one down the left sideline near no one on the field.
-NBC cuts to the Ravens sideline and shows their defensive players, they are pissed.
-Chargers are playing backup Linebackers now, as Bront Bird and Andrew Gachkar are playing for Donald Butler and Spikes.

10:01 pm Flacco is sacked for the 5th time.  Shaun Phillips was in there, and is down.  Hope he's OK.

10:02 pm Flacco throws a 36 yard TD pass to WR Torrey Smith.  1:55 to play.  34-14 Chargers lead.
-Backup safeties Oliver and Stuckey were in the game on that play, ignored by the announcers.

10:06 pm  Onside kick attempt by Baltimore.  Recovered by the Charger's Patrick Crayton.  Flag on the play.  Illegal touching by Baltimore, so it's Chargers ball at the Raven's 44 yard line.

Hester with a carry up the middle and Baltimore calls time out.  1:48 to play and down 20 points, and the Ravens are hitting after the whistle and calling timeouts.  Classy.  Both Suggs and AtoM get in late hits after every whistle.  Rivers lets the clock run down to 57 seconds and calls timeout.  Norv calls for a run on 4th and 2 instead of punting, and Mathews is just short, so the Ravens take over on downs.

10:13 pm  Ravens send out Tyrod Taylor at Quarterback?  Why were you just calling timeouts, Harbaugh?  Taylor sacked by Corey Leiget.
-3rd and 13 with 9 seconds left.  Complete to Anquan Boldin.  Tackled.  Game over.  34-14 Chargers win.

Thoughts:  I guess the Chargers players do want to keep Norv around.  That game was a clinic.  Baltimore, if I were a Ravens fan I'd officially be worried.  You just got pounded by a team that people consider to be "soft".
The Chargers, if they don't make the playoffs (and let's be honest, the odds are against them) they will have no one to blame but themselves.  They gave away 2 divisional games against Kansas City and Denver that they should have won.  You win those and you are a game up in the division.

No excuses are acceptable.  But they showed tonight what they are capable of, and that they can beat "physical, running" football teams.  Great job by the entire team tonight, and yes, great job by the coaching staff.  Norv, you did good.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting and fun to read Mark. Keep it up!!!
    Who was your favorite comedian? Make the rest of the year a fun time for you all!!