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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No more Shanahanigans!

The longtime face of the Denver Broncos will change.

The team announced on Tuesday that Mike Shanahan has been fired and will relinquish his duties as head coach and executive vice president of football operations.

In a statement, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said: "After giving this careful consideration, I have concluded that a change in our football operations is in the best interests of the Denver Broncos. This is certainly a difficult decision, but one that I feel must be made and which will ultimately be in the best interests of all concerned.

Shanahan has coached the Broncos since 1995 and won back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1997 and 1998 seasons. But Denver has not made the playoffs in the last three years.

The Broncos collapsed this season, finishing 8-8 after having a three-game lead in the division. With the AFC West title on the line, the Broncos were routed by the Chargers 52-21 on Sunday.

"I appreciate the 21 years that Mike Shanahan has given to the organization as an assistant and head coach, and the two Super Bowl wins in that time," Bowlen said. "His contributions hold a special place in Broncos history."

Bowlen said that the team will hold a news conference on Wednesday morning to make the announcement, and Shanahan will speak shortly thereafter.

As for Charger fans, a sigh of relief should be given. Anything that could possibly put a divison rival in disarray is always welcome.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Chargers uphold title of AFC West Division Champions!

Sunday, Dec 28, 2008
By Casey Pearce,

Four weeks after most left them for dead, the resilient Chargers won their fourth-straight game and 14th-consecutive game in the month of December to complete an improbable comeback to claim their third-consecutive AFC West title Sunday night.
The Bolts’ emphatic 52-21 victory over the Broncos in front of a record crowd of 69,131 at Qualcomm Stadium allowed Norv Turner’s squad to become the first team in NFL history to make the playoffs after starting a season 4-8.
“This is obviously history, the way we trailed the division and how we’ve now won it,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “We know the expectations we set out with and how high they were at the start of the year. All we’ve done is reopen some of those goal and some of those expectations now that we’ve got ourselves into January.”
The Chargers scored on their first four possessions of the first half and totaled a season-high 491 yards of total offense, forced two turnovers on defense and made a little history as they were able to vindicate a Week 2 loss in Denver and end the Broncos’ season.
Rivers tossed two touchdown passes to finish the season with 34, eclipsing Dan Fouts’ franchise record of 33, which he set in 1981. The Chargers also rushed for 289 yards as a team to set a new franchise record, and LaDainian Tomlinson’s three rushing touchdowns to push his career total to 126. LT entered the night tied with Marcus Allen for second-most in NFL history, and Tomlinson now sits alone in second place.
“Those things are nice individual things that come along with playing the way we played today,” Turner said. “It’s exciting to win the division. It’s exciting to know we’re going to play again.”
The Chargers came out with their foot on the gas pedal and never let up. They took a 3-0 lead on their opening drive of the night when Nate Kaeding capped a 60-yard drive with a 28-yard field goal.
Denver answered with a 26-yard touchdown run by Tatum Bell on their first possession of the night, but Matt Prater’s failed extra point attempt prevented the Broncos from tying the game.
The Bolts responded with a 73-yard touchdown drive, highlighted by Vincent Jackson’s 37-yard catch and punctuated by LaDainian Tomlinson’s one-yard touchdown run, his first of three on the night which made it a 10-6 game.
“The way the offense came out and got us that lead was huge,” safety Clinton Hart said. “We were able to dictate the pace of the game. It’s a whole lot easier to play with a lead, especially against an offense like that. We put together a complete game.”
Following a Broncos punt that ended their second possession, the Chargers widened the gap even further. A 34-yard catch by Antonio Gates set up an 11-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to give the Chargers a 17-6 lead.
The Chargers made it four for their first four as another Denver punt led to another Bolts touchdown drive. Tomlinson’s four-yard touchdown run made it a 24-6 Bolts’ advantage.
Late in the second quarter, the Broncos drove deep into Bolts territory and threatened to trim the lead just before halftime. But Paul Oliver picked a perfect time for his first career interception as his pick of Jay Cutler in the end zone brought the drive to a halt and allowed the Chargers to maintain their commanding lead.
“It seemed like every time they’d start to get going offensively, our defense would make a big play,” Jackson said. “Our offense and defense really fed off of each other tonight.”
The Broncos made it a little interesting early in the third quarter as they drove 73 yards on their first possession of the second half. Bell’s 37-yard touchdown run made it a 24-13 game just two minutes into the third frame.
As they did throughout the night, the Chargers had an answer. On the ensuing drive, Tomlinson’s 45-yard run, his longest carry of the season, put the Bolts on the door step once again. Rivers’ 13-yard pass to Darren Sproles allowed the star signal caller to set a new franchise record with 34 touchdown throws on the season and gave the Chargers a commanding 31-13 lead.
Just two plays later, the Bolts piled it on some more. On Denver’s first play of their drive that followed Sproles’ touchdown catch, Shaun Phillips tipped a Cutler pass that landed in the hands of Luis Castillo. Following the interception, Tomlinson found the end zone from 14 yards out to push the lead to 38-13.
“We practice the tip drill every day in practice,” Castillo said. “I looked up and saw the ball and was able to grab it.”
Early in the fourth quarter, Cutler threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tony Scheffler to pull Denver within 17, but the Broncos never got any closer. A 37-yard run by Sproles set up a two-yard touchdown run by the do-it-all back.
After a stop by the Bolts’ defense, the Chargers got a chance to drive one final nail in the coffin, and Jacob Hester served as the hammer. The rookie back picked up 37 yards in the waning minutes and scored his first-career rushing touchdown to round out the scoring at 52-21.
Tomlinson finished the night with 96 yards on 14 carries to finish the season with 1,110 yards and 11 touchdowns. Sproles led the club with 115 yards on the ground as the Chargers controlled the pace of the game and had the ball more than 12 minutes more than the Broncos. LT made sure to thank his offensive line for their big night.
“The guys up front, they totally dominated,” Tomlinson said. “They did what any good offensive line does; they took control of the game.”
Sunday’s win allows the Bolts to host the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC Wildcard playoff game next Saturday night. The Chargers enter the playoffs on a four-game winning streak and believe they’re playing their best football at the right time of the year.
“We’re on a good roll,” guard Kris Dielman said. “We’re ending the season on a good note. Now it’s time to go into the postseason and make a good run.”

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Here we go!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SAN DIEGO ---- The last 80 seconds of Sunday's showdown between the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills took more than 15 minutes. That wasn't the case at Invesco Field, but an untimely information drought prolonged the suspense some 30,000 feet up. That left an ESPN ticker as the only news source on the charter flight escorting the Chargers home after a victory at Tampa Bay.

A season was at stake, and its outcome remained a mystery as inconsequential results passed by. Finally, pertinent information scrolled into view. Bills 30, Broncos 23. Final. The plane went into hysterics in celebration of a sentiment clearly evident during Monday afternoon's press conference at Chargers Park.

A great weight has been lifted. After a season full of heartbreaking losses and ill-timed underachievement put them in a bind, the Chargers regained control.

No more scoreboard watching. No more cursing Ed Hochuli. No more hoping for help.

The AFC West title is on the line on Sunday against Denver at Qualcomm Stadium.

The Chargers win, they're in the playoffs.

"It's exciting I'll tell you what," Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson said. "That plane ride was pretty long. They wouldn't give us the down and distance and exactly what was going on (on the ticker). It was pretty fun experiencing that as a team. Here we are, with one meaningful game to go. We're not in there yet, but at least we have a chance."

That was tough to imagine three weeks ago, after a loss to the visiting Atlanta Falcons dropped the Chargers to 4-8. The Broncos' magic number was at one, and thanks to a pair of Chargers victories and Denver losses, it hasn't changed.

"It's a blessing for us," Chargers tight end Antonio Gates said. "Despite the situations we've had the whole season, we continue to scratch and claw for wins. We're finally in a situation where we can control our own destiny."

The Chargers have somehow crawled out of a hole dug themselves, one that seemed six feet deep as far as this season was concerned. It was a surprising position and a stark contrast to the lofty expectations set for a supposed Super Bowl contender in a weak division.

"We felt confident that we'd have a strong year," Jackson said. "Looking back on it, some of those last-minute losses jumped on our backs and slowed us down. It took a little while to recover but we learned about resiliency and we showed it late in the year."

The Chargers were able to focus on the present, maybe because prospects of a playoff berth were so remote, have rattled off wins when it counted most and put together their most complete performance of the season against the Buccaneers.

"This month has tested the true character of this Chargers team," Gates said.

"We wanted to finish the season strong, no matter what happened with other teams and no matter what happened during the previous 12 games. We wanted to take care of our business and let everything else work itself out."

The Chargers did their part and the Broncos failed to do theirs, which has given the Chargers a real chance at redemption.

"I'd be lying if I said I hadn't watched the scoreboard, but I haven't made it a regular practice either," Chargers head coach Norv Turner said. "I did last night, after we won the game. Our only chance was to win the game and hope something good happened. Now we have an opportunity to win a game and have something real good happen for us."

Chargers notes

Chargers head coach Norv Turner shed light on the Chargers injury situation at Monday's press conference. WR Malcom Floyd (collapsed lung) is doubtful to play against the Broncos. LB Brandon Siler injured his foot during Sunday's pre-game warm-ups and had X-rays on Monday. LB Anthony Waters (hamstring) has a chance to be activated for the Denver game and DT Jamal Williams (foot) will be limited in practice but is expected to play in the regular-season finale.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hell Ya!!!

San Diego breathes sigh of relief after they win against Tampa and the Broncos fall in Denver.The discussion for the offensive MVP award centers on two players: QB Philip Rivers and WR Vincent Jackson. Both players authored monster performances in Tampa Bay against the third-ranked pass defense of the Buccaneers.

Rivers connected on 21-of-31 passes (68 percent) for 287 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. He spread the wealth to eight players with three of them finding the end zone: Antonio Gates (two), Brandon Manumaleuna and Darren Sproles.

More importantly, Rivers did not turn the ball over against a team that came into the game ranked No. 3 in interceptions.

Jackson was the primary benefactor of Rivers’ success, tallying his third 100-yard game of the season with a seven-catch, 111-yard performance. In the process, Jackson went over 1,000 yards on the season (1,051) for the first time in his career.

On the defensive side of the ball, the MVP chatter focused on NT Jamal Williams, CB Quentin Jammer and LB Stephen Cooper. Each made his case loudly against the Buccaneers.

Williams logged five tackles as the defense held Tampa Bay’s running backs to 19 carries for 50 yards (2.6 avg). Although he was denied his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl invite, Williams has been his usual dominant self over the final two-thirds of the season.

Jammer made a pair of big plays to secure the victory. The first came when he smacked a scrambling Jeff Garcia, forcing Garcia to bleed from the nose and lose composure down the stretch. The second play came when Jammer tipped a pass intended for Ike Hilliard into the arms of Antoine Cason, who sprinted 59 yards for the deciding TD.

The final defensive contender, Cooper, continued his furious finish by intercepting his fourth pass in the last three games. Cooper is second on the team with 92 tackles despite being suspended for the first four games of the season.

Not one of these five superstars will head to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl at season’s end. But as they showed in Sunday’s waxing of the Buccaneers, they are the driving force behind a team that has the capability to be among the league’s best.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Still Alive!!

Source: Associated Press

By Doug Tucker

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—The San Diego Chargers got lucky. Even better, they’ve got Philip Rivers.

After their onside kick bounced off Chiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe’s chest and Kassim Osgood recovered for San Diego, Rivers needed just four plays Sunday to complete one of the most stirring comebacks of the season.

With 1:13 left, Rivers hit Malcom Floyd with a 4-yard TD pass. Then his 10-yarder to Vincent Jackson with 36 seconds to go lifted the Chargers to a 22-21 victory over the stunned Chiefs, who led 21-3 in the third quarter.

“We never stopped believing,” said Chargers tackle Marcus McNeill. “I think (the Chiefs) thought they had the game won when the clock was low in the fourth quarter. But we knew if we got another chance that we were going to go down there and score.”

After their try for a two-point conversion failed, the Chargers (6-8) still needed help from the football gods. Aided by a delay-of-game penalty, the Chiefs (2-12) tried a 50-yard field goal on the final play. Connor Barth, who had been nine-for-nine before missing a 34-yarder in the first half, was wide left.

“I’m kind of speechless. Don’t know what to say,” Barth said. “There’s no excuse.”

Rivers, who came in with an NFL-best 102.0 passer rating, was 34-for-48 for 346 yards and two touchdowns when his team needed them the most.

But he could hardly bare to watch Barth’s attempt at the winner.

“I had a pretty good view and a pretty sick stomach,” he said. “I was just thinking, ‘There is no way this can happen again.’ He certainly had plenty of leg, but just missed it left.”

A loss would have officially eliminated San Diego’s slender playoff hopes. But Rivers said the Chargers, preseason Super Bowl favorites, would not let even a Denver victory over Carolina later Sunday dampen the thrill of beating KC.

“There have been so many doubts and we’ve fallen so short of the expectations,” he said. “The way we’ve bounced back these past two weeks in our division and won says a lot about our guys. It is big for our locker room and team, no matter what plays out the rest of the day.”

The Chiefs will have to win their final two games to avoid setting a franchise record for fewest wins in a 16-game season.

“I’m still in utter shock right now,” said linebacker Rocky Boiman. “How we can come so close and still somehow let it slip away, it doesn’t seem possible.”

Losing a 21-3 lead is not even the worst thing that’s befallen the Chiefs in this miserable season. Against Tampa Bay, they squandered a 24-3 advantage, a team record.

Bowe, who caught a 1-yard TD pass from Tyler Thigpen, appeared to have the onside kick.

“I think sometimes he takes his eye off the ball,” said Chiefs coach Herm Edwards. “Those are plays you have to make along the way.”

After the onside kick, Rivers’ first play produced a 39-yard pass to Vincent Jackson to the 19.

Thigpen threw for one touchdown and ran for another for the Chiefs and was 19-for-28 for 171 yards.

The Chargers had three turnovers and, perhaps more embarrassing, gave up three sacks to the NFL’s worst pass rush. Tamba Hali had two sacks and caused two fumbles for a Chiefs defense that hadn’t gotten a sack since playing San Diego four games ago.

The three sacks pushed KC’s season total to a league-low nine, and the Chiefs need five in their last two games to avoid tying the NFL record for fewest in a season.

Running back Larry Johnson capped a 96-yard drive with a 4-yard TD pass to Tony Gonzalez on KC’s first possession.

Patrick Surtain’s 50-yard return of an interception set up Thigpen’s 3-yard TD in the third period.


Larry Johnson is the fifth player to throw a touchdown pass for Kansas City this year and the seventh to throw Tony Gonzalez a TD pass in his career. Johnson is the sixth in team history to throw, run and receive for a TD. … Temperatures hovering in the low 60s when early-arriving fans first showed up, had plunged into the 20s by the end of the game. … The Chargers beat the Chiefs twice this year by a total of two points. … The Chargers have given up five of KC’s nine sacks.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Charger Girls 09'

The new squad is by far the best ever and there spot on this site is way overdue!

Charger update

Source: USA Today
Fresh from Thursday’s win over the Raiders, the Chargers were hopeful of getting some Sunday help with the Chiefs upsetting the Broncos.
But just like the Chargers’ season, the Chiefs couldn’t win it at the end.
The Chargers are now three games behind the AFC West-leading Broncos with three to play. One more Broncos win or one more Chargers loss, and Denver will clinch the West.
So despite playing a team with but two wins, the Chargers will be a desperate bunch on Sunday in Kansas City.
“We need to go win,” coach Norv Turner said. “And Kansas City is playing well; played awfully well in a very close game against Denver.”
The Chargers (5-8) also remember that the Chiefs (2-11) gave the Chargers all they could handle in a 20-19 victory in San Diego earlier this year. The Chiefs went for two points in the closing minute and failed.
Plus this time the Chargers will face the Chiefs featuring running back Larry Johnson this time around.
“Larry just brings another dimension,” Turner said. “You have to tackle him; he is a big, strong guy.”
Too bad Chiefs quarterback Tyler Thigpen isn’t as stout. He fell short on a fourth-and-goal play Sunday that iced the win for the Broncos - much to the Chargers’ chagrin.
“He came awfully close to scoring,” Turner said. “You watch when he took off running and I didn’t think he could make the end zone from as deep as he was.”
The Chargers are deep with their own problems of sneaking into the playoffs. They remain alive, but by the slimmest of margins.
— WR Vincent Jackson had a career-high 148 receiving yards one week after getting shut out in the loss to the Falcons. “I had more opportunities,” said Jackson, who had a 59-yard touchdown catch. “I think I had only three or four catches the past few games. I got opportunities and got involved early in the game and took advantage of that.”
— While Jackson enjoyed a big game, the Chargers’ top wide out, Chris Chambers, didn’t have a reception. But he wasn’t bumming after the game. “Not at this point,” he said. “We’re just getting wins anyway we can.”
— OLB Shaun Phillips said the difference Thursday night was the Chargers collecting four turnovers. “That’s the one thing we’ve been lacking,” said Phillips, who had a career-high 2.5 sacks. “I think we have been losing games because of our inability to create turnovers. When we see that we can create turnovers, we can win games.”
— ILB Stephen Cooper, who had career-high two interceptions, gave coordinator Ron Rivera kudos for his aggressive game plan. “Coach Rivera did a great job calling great defenses, trying to come from the weak side and strong side, trying to get different looks. It was just a good job with the play-calling.
— Coach Norv Turner was impressed in how the Chargers bounced back after a draining loss to the Falcons last Sunday, which put a serious dent in their playoff hopes. “We had a very short week,” he said. “Guys came back in on Monday and a number of them were beat up and had a lot of things they had to handle physically. And then we had to get ready for a game over a short period of time. Obviously our guys did a great job of preparing. They weren’t distracted from a stand point of the way things have been going.”
— RB Darren Sproles scored two touchdowns for the third time in his career - it was the first time the two came on receptions.
—SS Clinton Hart (neck) didn’t practice Monday after missing the game on Thursday.
—OLB Marques Harris (hamstring) returned to practice and should go Sunday.
—FB Mike Tolbert (shoulder) remains unable to practice.
—LB Anthony Waters (hamstring) didn’t practice. He suffered the injury on Thursday.
—DT Jamal Williams will probably be rested on Wednesday to keep him fresh for Sunday.
PASSING OFFENSE: B - Philip Rivers completed 10 of his 22 passes, but he was able to throw for three touchdowns and 214 yards. The Chargers backed off throwing the ball in the second half; otherwise his numbers would probably be better. Vincent Jackson had one of his better days as a pro with a 148-yard performance which included a 59-yard touchdown. Rivers was effective on screens, finding Darren Sproles (three catches, 34 yards and two touchdowns). Pass protection was on the mark as Rivers was never sacked and hit but once.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A - The offensive line rebounded after getting beat on the past couple of weeks for its passive play. LaDainian Tomlinson continued his domination against the Raiders with 91 yards and a score on 25 carries. But more important was the line letting the Raiders know it planned on being physical from the start to the finish. Great job up front by the big uglies.
PASS DEFENSE: A - This unit played with the passion and production the Chargers expected all season long. It got after JaMarcus Russell and Andrew Walter in a big way, forcing three interceptions, a forced fumble and snagging three sacks, Stephen Cooper got two of the picks; Matt Wilhelm had the other. OLB Shaun Phillips shook off an unproductive stretch by collecting 2.5 sacks — he had four sacks in the previous 11 games. CB Quentin Jammer, with two passes defensed, had a solid game.
RUSH DEFENSE: A - The Chargers allowed but 54 yards rushing, their second-lowest of the season. DT Jamal Williams continues his second half which has him playing stellar, and inside linebacker Stephen Cooper had seven tackles to go with his two interceptions. SS Steve Gregory was active with seven tackles filling in for Clinton Hart. Once the Raiders fell so far behind, their running game disappeared.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C - This could have easily been an ‘A’ but a penalty by Antoine Cason wiped out a kickoff return touchdown by Darren Sproles and the Chargers allowed one to be brought all the way back just before the half. Sproles did show a 29-yard kickoff return and 14-yarder on a punt. P Mike Scifres was keen in averaging 45.4 net yards on five efforts.
COACHING: A - Coach Norv Turner has taken his share of abuse, so he deserves praise for keeping the Chargers focused despite the playoff window all but closed for the year. He got back to what the Chargers once did best - run the football. Not only did Tomlinson collect 49 first-quarter rushing yards but in doing so he knocked the will out of the Raiders as well. Defensive coordinator Ron Rivera’s plan was to attack the quarterback and the Chargers responded with four turnovers. It was a solid job by the coaching staff in not letting the Chargers pack it in.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I'm back!!!!!!!!!!

I'm finally back from the mountains and this blog is back in business!! Please check back in soon, for all the latest Charger news!!!!