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Sunday, January 20, 2008

AFC Championship Recap

So after the first drive I put up a little post about getting the breaks being as important as talent in the patriots undefeated season. As I was watching the second half begin and Donte Stallworth tipped that ball and San Diego’s defense got another turnover for Philip Rivers, I began to think about the chances that the Patriots had run out of breaks. What I didn’t account for was the talent part of the equation. On both of the Tom Brady interceptions the defense of the Patriots held and only gave up a field goal on either interception.

The biggest mistake that the Chargers made to start the second half was to start playing conservative D instead of going after Brady the way they did in the first half. All of a sudden they are giving up an underneath pass to Randy Moss that he strings into a first down and meanwhile no one is within 5 feet of Brady. Thankfully San Diego Defensive coordinator Ted Cotrell can’t keep Antonio Cromartie’s athletic ability down. That pick in the endzone was a game changer. It may not have put the Chargers ahead but you don’t want to get down two scores to New England.

Interesting to see what the Patriots fell back on when they seemed to be challenged. The drive they started after getting the ball back on a punt. was pretty much all Lawrence Maroney. Right up until Wes Welker made the touchdown reception underneath from about 10 yards out.

You do have to credit the Chargers for really outperforming ecpectations. I like Rivers more and more each game I see. I am even starting to tolerate the jaw jacking he does on the field. He responded to questions about that topic in the pre-game. He said that he was most pleased that you don't see him swearing or saying anything offensive on camera.(as I am writing this I am thinking he needs to take it down a notch or two seven) The thing I like on the field is that he looks the same on 3rd and 10 and he does on 1st and 10. There is no anxiety, or nervousness.

The real sign the game was over, was at the 7:00 minute mark in the 4th when you started to see the San Diego Chargers defensive players turning to the officilas to complain as each play was ending. Meanwhile the New England offense is taking small chunks, making the smart decisions; staying in bounds, going down early if necessary to do so.

The big key to this game is was the fact that you just can't field goal your way to the superbowl. Not usually, and especially not against the highest scoring offense in the NFL.

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