The Chargers won a huge AFC West showdown with Denver on Sunday that clinched a winning season for the first time since Ryan Leaf almost single-handedly ruined the franchise. Is it finally time to get excited about this team?
This is the Chargers. A team that thrives to get its fans hopes up, only to bring them crashing back down to Earth. The Chargers are like a wrestler that goes to the ring with a hidden object in his tights and then sucker punches you with brass knuckles when the referee isn't looking.
And ask Kansas City and Cleveland fans if you should get excited about a Marty Schottenheimer coached team.
SO MUCH FOR BRONCOS WEATHER
How bad have things become for the Broncos? The club has lost two consecutive games to California teams in what has been called "Bronco weather." The Raiders humiliated the Broncos last week in a come-from-behind victory. And it was the Chargers on Sunday which emerged from a rain-soaked Jack Murphy Stadium with a firm grasp on the AFC West. (But don't get too excited, yet.)
Broncos coach Mike Shanahan has received a free pass in the Hater Nation for his mastery of the Raiders. But Shanahan isn't quite the genius he's perceived to be against the rest of the league.
The Broncos were in cruise control two weeks ago with an opportunity to put the AFC West away against Oakland and San Diego. A perfect 2-0 wasn't out of the question. Fans could have stomached a .500 record. But to drop two important AFC West games on consecutive weekends shows that this team does not have an ounce of heart. The Broncos are absolutely gutless.
The popular theory in the NFL is that the desperate teams always finds a way to win. The Broncos found ways to lose in the past two weeks. Jake Plummer threw four interceptions on Sunday, as Reuben Droughns made like Michael Blaine and disappeared. The team just imploded.
Hmm, sounds a lot like the old Chargers.
WADE IS NO BUM COACH
The Chargers defense save the team on a day when quarterback Drew Brees and tight end Antonio Gates have been mere mortals. The defense has played great all season and coordinator Wade Phillips--the man Shanahan replaced as head coach--is a big reason why.
Phillips is one of those "good coordinator/bad head coach" kind of guys that the NFL has. Guys like Buddy Ryan, Kevin Gilbride, and of course, Mike Martz. Look for St. Louis to take a run at Phillips when Martz is fired this offseason.
If Phillips has a good sense of humor, he's a shoe-in.
THE MESSIAH KEEPS GIVING
Eli Messiah has delivered three victories in three NFL starts, but just not for his own team--the Giants. How is that trade working out for the Messiah? If he's shown one thing this year, it's that he can't handle a blitz. If his name was Eli Jones, he would be on the bench right now.
The best part is that the San Diego improves its draft position with each Giants loss, as the club owns the Giants first selection thanks to the Messiah trade. Nice job Poppy Manning.
With this type of football acumen, it's hard to imagine why Archie didn't win in New Orleans.
Does anybody else get the feeling that Jake Plummer will be the first quarterback in NFL history to thrown an interception on an attempted spike? One day, Plummer will drop back to spike the ball only to have it deflect off a lineman's ankle and into the arms of a defender.
TAMPA BAY MAKES LIKE SHERMAN AND MARCHES THROUGH ATLANTA
The Falcons failed in their quest to wrap up the NFC South on Sunday. Again, Mike Vick continues to be the most explosive and aggravating player in the NFL. If there is anybody in the world that believes that the Falcons got the best of the Vick for Tomlinson trade, please step forward.
It's a wash at best, but the momentum has clearly swung to the Chargers favor this season.
EAGLES MOTIVATED BY THE HATER NATION
So much for the Packers being the top team in the NFC as the Eagles dominated on Sunday. But a couple of points to think about here.
The Packers were coming off a Monday night hangover, which is always tough to overcome. And the Eagles have now taken the crown from the Raiders for "Most NFL Championships won in December."
As long as Andy Schottenheimer is the coach and Donovan White is still the quarterback, there is no reason to fear the Eagles.
In the final seconds of the Broncos game, receiver Darius Watts caught a ball on what turned out to be the final play as he ran upfield instead of heading for the sideline.
Watts was in the precarious position of needing a first-down and to get out of bounds... he did neither.
NEWS AND NOTES AROUND THE NFL
Colts score anther 40 points to win fifth consecutive game. Seriously, Tony Dungy is gambling on these games. There is no other explanation. But remember, the NFL will let the Colts have their fun during the regular season. But when teams are allowed to mug the Indianapolis receivers during the playoffs, this will all be for not.
Shayne Graham kicks game-winning field goal for Bengals. Raven would probably be the best team in the NFC. They won't make the playoffs.
Chad Hutchinson leads the Bears to shocking victory over the Vikings. Alright, maybe this guy can play. But you have to do it against a better defense than Minnesota to really prove it.
David Boston is suspended for steroid use. You mean that's not all natural? Barry Bonds says its natural to gain 30 pounds of muscle in one offseason.
Brett Favre's 37-game touchdown streak comes to an end. It's a shame that Michael Strahan doesn't play for Philadelphia... he owes him one.
St. Louis enjoys its bye week. Oops, St. Louis played San Francisco. Same difference.
The producers of a reality porn show that has taken Europe by storm are in talks with U.S. broadcasters to air the program on the other side of the Atlantic, financial news weekly Barron's reported on Sunday.
Produced by Spain's Private Media Group Inc., the "Private Stars" show gives five "real world" men a shot at a contract with the company -- the winner being the one who performs best on television with one of Private's top female stars, the weekly reported.
Hopefully ABC won't broadcast the show before Monday Night Football. But if America is outraged by a harmless skit, what chance does this show have of making it to our shores?