Sunday, December 1, 2013

Live Blog: Chargers/Bengals

Because I got a wild's time for a Live Blog!

Today's Matchup...San Diego Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Here's how this is going to go today...I'm going to type and save, and then "Publish" sporadically...probably about every half hour or so.

So, if you want to follow along... You can just read here, and then click refresh every half hour or so.

It's not very efficient...but then again, we are talking about a Chargers game here.

Fair Warning:  Any and All Bengal fans.... I will be a HUGE Chargers homer.  I won't lie, or even pretend to be fair or balanced, or anything of that nature...I'm a Chargers fan.  I will blog as one.

Today's Game features the 7-4 Bengals, who are leading the AFC North and the 5-6 Chargers...who are in 3rd in the AFC West..and their only hope to make the playoffs is with a wildcard birth.

The Bengals have a good shot either way...Win the Division, or a Wildcard.

If the Chargers lose today...they are pretty much out of the playoff race.

Historically, the Chargers haven't fared well against the Bengals (using no scientific data whatsoever to back this just feels like, in the past several times they have faced...the Bengals usually win).

Most of the World/Nation will be tuned into the Broncos/Chiefs game this this Blog has a chance to be the only documented record that this game actually occured.
(I'm picking the Broncos in the other game...and I don't think it will be close.  I could be wrong, but I don't trust that Chiefs team.)

The Game is Scheduled to start in about 5 minutes.  Hold on tight.  Feel free to text or tweet me during the game...I may include you in the blog.

Let's Go Bolts!
We've got Ian Eagle and Charger Hall of Famer Dan Fouts calling the game for CBS today.  Also known as the combination of "The Bird and The Beard".  I like Fouts as the color guy...but he is a Charger Hall of Fame player...and probably had the best NFL Beard of all time.

Fouts beard fears no man.
Cincinnati burns a timeout on the first drive of the first half...that was werid.  Don't see defenses calling time outs that early in the game.

Chargers gaining some decent yardage, early on so far.  Although on all 3 first down plays...they have run the ball...this is kind of a pattern for the Chargers...they like to run on first down.  And they do it alot out of the Shotgun.

The Chargers decide to mix it up, and throw on first down, and run on 2nd and now they are in a 3rd and 10.  What do I know?  Rivers completes a pass to Gates for the first down, and he fumbles.  The Bengals recover, and CBS goes to commercial.

I think Gates could have been down...but I didn't see the fumble very well, because I was typing the blog.

BTW, Twitter is abuzz about the Vikings Bears game...could be a tie?  I refuse to turn the channel on the basis that I'm blogging this game.  I think Gates was down...but then again, I'm an unabashed homer.

The ruling on the field of a fumble, recovered by the Bengals will stand as called.  Not enough evidence to overturn it.  Darn.  The Bolts had a nice drive going there.

The "Red Rifle" takes the field.  Andy Dalton has been struggling this year, but I am a firm believer that the Chargers woeful pass defense will be just what he needs to get off the schnide.  Surprisingly, the Chargers hold the Bengals to a 3 and out on the first drive.

Ryan Mathews is running hard again today.  He's been pretty good this year.  He's not great, he's no superstar, and he's not going to put up big numbers week in and week out, but he's played well this year, and if he could stay healthy...he could end up making a lot of money in his next contract (probably NOT with the Chargers, however).

Bengals hold the Chargers...and we'll see Mike Scifres.  I love Scifres.  He's my favorite punter of all time.  Honest, if I were to ever buy a jersey of a would be Mike Scifres # 5.

Do I look like a punter, Punk?
Plus, he actually looks like a football player (unlike most kickers)...and he kicked collegiately at Western Illinois...who is in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, the home conference of my SDSU Jackrabbits (Who incidentally dominated Northern Arizona yesterday in the first round of the FCS playoffs).

The Bengals are now moving the ball.  That lost fumble by Gates may be one of the most important things to happen in the game...because the Chargers defense, just can't stop anybody.

Just saw that Manning and Alex Smith each started their games off with an interception.  So, the best Quarterback to play in Kansas City the past two weeks, is Philip Rivers?  Right?  I mean, he didn't throw any interceptions.

The First Quarter concludes, and it is 0-0.  However, the Bengals are threatening...and will probably get a Field Goal at least...and that's if the Chargers can figure out a way to stop them...which they haven't on this drive.

The Law Firm punches the ball into the end zone on the first play of the second half, and the Bengals lead 7-0.  Remember back in the first quarter, when the Chargers weren't behind?  I liked that better.

Impressive Drive by the Bengals there.  Although... to be honest, the Chargers defense isn't very good.  They can't rush the passer, they don't cover well, and they are pretty much a poor tackling team.  Other than that, they are great.

Phil Rivers and his new favorite target, Keenan Allen...just made a beatiful hookup to continue a drive on a 3rd and 10.  Keenan Allen is special...I'm just gonna go out on a limb here.  Play following that...Rivers hits LaDarius Green Down the seam for a TD... Novak kicks the XP, and we're all tied at 7.

They just showed Bengals DC Mike Zimmer on the sideline, I was actually a fan of him being hired as the Chargers head coach last season, when it was clear Norv Turner wouldn't be retained.  I'm actually glad he wasn't interviewed, because I really like Coach Mike McCoy.  But I do have an appreciated for Coach Zimmer...his defenses usually play pretty well.

Chargers actually hold the Bengals to another 3 and out.  A Manti Teo sighting on the first play, breaking up a pass(he's quietly been playing better), and an actual QB sack on 2nd down.  Chargers get the ball back, but their decent field position is ruined by not 1 but 2 penalties, on the punt return.

Keenan Allen.  I just can't help myself.  He Good.  Can not believe he wasn't drafted until the 3rd round.  New General Manager Tom Telesco found a gem in that pick.  Anyway, he just made another beautiful catch.  But the drive stalls out...forcing Scifres to punt again...and it's downed inside the 5 yard line.

BTW, Ian Eagle just mentioned that Scifres has the highest % of kicks downed inside the 20 yard line of any punter in NFL History.  Don't you see why I want his jersey?  The Mike Scifres Jersey!  There should be a Kickstarter campaign for this...yes, buy me a Scifres jersey.

Unrelated Note:  Mrs. Coach...who doesn't like "Dumb Comedies" just burst out laughing at the Anchorman 2 Commerical that was just on.

The Red Rifle just threw the ball about 50 yards downfield...right to San Diego Free Safety Eric Weddle.  I'm not a Bengal fan but, What are you thinking, Andy?  That was not a good decision.  Thankfully, I am a Chargers good job.  Weddle returned it to the 45 yard line...good field position for the Chargers.

Meanwhile, Peyton Manning has thrown 2 interceptions in Kansas City, and Philip Rivers has yet to throw any there.  (also, as he played there last week...he's unlikely to throw any there this season)

2 minute warning, and the Chargers have a first down, on the Bengals side of the 50 yard line.

The Bengals defense rises up and shuts down the Charger offense though, and they are forced to punt.  Bengals get the ball back inside the 20 yard line (thanks Scifres) with just under a minute to play in the half.
-The Bengals play it conservative, so the Chargers burn a couple timeouts to get the ball back.
-When they do get it back (after a great punt), they run a draw play for Danny Woodhead, and that's the half?  Why burn the timeouts then?  Hoping for a good punt return, I guess.

All tied up at 7 at half time.  Pretty good game.  Honestly, I think the Chargers have been playing better, moved the ball better anyway... but the score is tied, because of that Gates fumble.

I think we need a picture to "spruce up" the blog here.  I just changed my facebook "cover" photo to this:

Go Big. Go Blue. Go Jacks!
In other unrelated news:  I'm playing some "Old Man Basketball" tonight at the gym.  I hope I don't get injured.  Just started my marathon training plan this morning.  This leads to an interesting Question:  What will there be more of... Points scored by the Chargers or Points scored by me tonight?  If I was a betting man...I'd go with the Chargers at this point, even with only 7 points at half.  It's been a long time since I've shot a men's size basketball.

First Half Stats that matter:  I drank 3/4ths of a pot of coffee in the first half by myself.  I'm going to lay off the caffeine in the 2nd half, probably need to drink water in the 2nd half because I'm playing basketball tonight.  Stupid Exercise.

Bengals get the ball to start the 2nd half.  They made it out to midfield, and there the Chargers decide to actually play some defense.  Andy Dalton gets called for Intentional Grounding on the incomplete 3rd down pass...which saves the Chargers about 10 yards....Keenan Allen fair catches at the 17 yard line, so that could have been the 7... that penalty may be something.  Anyway...Chargers ball, and I need to go get a glass of water.

Chargers are mounting a nice drive here, but let's see if they actually get points out of it.
-And right after I type that...Rivers hits Gates over the middle, and Dre Kirkpatrick rips the ball out of Gates hands on their way to the ground.  Turnover.  Bengals Ball.  Gates has now lost the ball TWICE in Cinci territory, at least in Field Goal range.  I know he's a future Hall of Famer and all, but Gatesy needs to pick it up.

And, let me say this...if that goes down as an interception...that's a crime.  because all Rivers did was throw a good, completed pass.  His Target is the one who gave up the ball.  Replay Review confirms...Bengals ball on the 25 yard line.  Egads.  It's hard being a fan of this team sometimes.

The Chargers D just blew up a flea flicker near midfield.  BGE looked to pitch back to Dalton, but held on, because a defender was back there.  Gotta say, I love the flea flicker, and that was the perfect time to call it.  2nd and short...near midfield.  Bengals convert on 3rd and short anyway.  Now they are really rolling, and the Bengals are into FG range at the very least.

And a TD pass from Dalton to AJ Green.  The XP by Mike Nugent is good, and the Bengals lead 14-7.  Green was so open on that play, even Andy Dalton could hit him.
FB Message from my favorite Mailman:  The most open AJ Green has been all year.

Let me make this proclamation right now...14-7, with 1:35 to go in the 3rd.  I fully expect the Chargers to tie this game, and then turn around and lose in the most heartwrenching manner imaginable.  It is the way of the Bolt.

On 3rd and 5, the Bengals Blitz, and Rivers calmly steps up and hits Keenan Allen.  Who wisely decided to NOT give the ball to the Bengals for no apparent reason.  A Danny Woodhead draw play, and we are at the end of the 3rd quarter comes to a close.

On an unrelated note:  My lovely daughter is making us homemade pizza for us, from the kitchen.  She's a peach.

Another unrelated note:  Just scrolled my twitter feed and someone had retweeted a quote from Coach K on there...this is common, I follow alot of coaches and people who follow his "twitter quote" account.  Although I have to wonder...why don't they ever quote him the way he talks to his team in the huddle or the sideline?  If the outside world knew how much he cursed at them, would he be as universally beloved?  I doubt it.

3rd and 10 at the Cinci 39 yard line...and throws incomplete for LaDarius Green...who was tackled by the Cinci defender while the ball was in the air.  Which is legal today for Bengals, I guess.  Here's the thing with Pass Interference...I know you can't call it on every play.  However, if you see a guy falling down and he runs into the open receiver's legs...and then he falls down, and still almost makes a one handed catch...that's probably pass interference.  I'm just saying.

Anyway, Scifres punts...fair caught on the 9 yard line (Thanks Scifres!), and it's Cinci's ball.

Bengals running back is tackled for a loss of 1 on the first play.  Bengals called for holding, and the Chargers take the penalty?  WTH?  Instead of 2nd and 11, it's now 1st and 14.  I don't like that decision.

Ona 3rd and 3... Dalton hits his WR Hawkins in stride, and he takes it 50 yards downfield.  Good Grief.  My prediction of tieing the game isn't looking very good right now.  C'mon Chargers...your season is on the line!  3rd and 6 from inside the SD 30, and Dalton calls a TO.  Good.  I need to pee.

Mikw Nugent on to kick the 46 yard field goal, and it's "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" for Nugent.  17-7 Bengals lead...and privately my prediction of tieing the game before blowing it, is looking bleak.

The Broncos now lead the Chiefs 35 to 21.  (They trailed earlier 21-7...and one of those TD's was a Kick Return by the Chiefs)  The Chiefs just aren't that good.  I'm serious.  I think they make the playoffs and lose in the first round.  And, I think the Chargers will beat them in the 2nd matchup this season too.

And Keenan Allen breaks a long 3rd down gain...he fumbles the ball on his way to the ground.  This is going to be reversed (he was called down on the field)...and the Bengals will get the ball.  This is the curse of the blogger, because I wrote earlier that he didn't do he does it.  That's 3, count em, 3 turnovers by the Chargers on completed passes for decent gains in this game.  And each and every one of them have been recovered by the Bengals.  ARRGH!  Frustrating!  But what am I gonna do?  (although my chance to outscore the Chargers tonight at old man basketball are getting better and better)

The Mike Zimmer defense has done a great job against the Chargers today.  Held them to 7 points.  This after putting up 41 in Kansas City last week.

And The Law Firm fumbles...and Eric Weddle recovers and returns it to the 43 yard line.  Andy Dalton had to make the tackle.  The Chargers aren't done yet!  But they HAVE to score here.  Marching now.
-Woodhead, then Allen, then Woodhead, and they are near the 30 yard line.  Or as I shall, rename it :  The Fumble Zone.  The Red Zone is the 20 and in...the Fumble Zone is the 35 yard line and in. (This designation will be for the Chargers only).

Nick Novak drills a 48 yard field goal, and it's 17-10 Bengals.  Chargers will kick it away and rely (gulp) on their defense to get a stop, and get the ball back in the last 4 minutes.

In other news:
I love Keenan Allen.  I didn't love that fumble he just had a bit ago.

Oh my Lord... Penalty on the Chargers Johnnie Troutman for a late hit, after the FG, and so the Chargers are kicking off from their own 20 yard line.  Bengals are going to get great Field Position.  They return it to the 34 yard line...that kickoff was Boomed would have been a touchback.  Let's see if the Field Position plays a factor in this.

First play was a deep pass to AJ Green.  Bengals approaching FG range already.  That was really pathetic coverage by Shareece Wright of the Chargers.  Bengals pick up another first down, and there's 3:02 to play, and they are in Field Goal Range...inside the 30 yard line.

The Bengals are Riding the Law Firm down to inside the 10 yard line.  And we've hit the 2 minute warning.  The Chargers really needed 7 points, and not 3 on that previous drive.  Those 3 turnovers by the Chargers, especially the two by Gates in Cinci territory, are HUGE right now.  You have to think they cost SD at least 6 points (2 FG's)... which means this would be a very different game from a playcalling and strategy perspective.

First and goal inside the 5 yard line, under 2 minutes to go, and the Chargers are out of timeouts.  That will be your ball game.  Andy Dalton takes a knee, and he will need to do so, only one more time.

So long to the Chargers playoff hopes.

I am going to sign off.  Gotta eat some pizza and then get ready to play some old man Basketball.