One common thread in the NFL dictates that decent teams facing elimination will win at home.
In other words, the Bengals are not a decent team. But what does this victory mean for the Chargers? Normally, THN is highly critical of the Chargers. And Sunday was a game that the Chargers should have lost. (At least if you read The Weak Ender. Oops.) It even seemed to be going to plan when the Bengals jumped out to a 21-point lead in the first half. It was one of those things you hated to be right about, even if you saw it coming.
But what many fans didn't see coming was the complete beat-down the Chargers put on the Bengals in the second half. There is a point where teams play carefree with nothing to lose, but this was much more than that. The Chargers dissected a very talented Bengals team to remain in first place in the AFC West. It wasn't so much the Bengals choking, as the Chargers just dominating.
Nobody would have thought twice if the Chargers had kind of packed it in and prepared for Denver. It is the kind of thing that Marty Schottenheimer teams do. They don't win tough games like this, but they finally rose to the occasion. The Chargers with this win showed that they are the best team in the AFC.
Some might point to the Colts and their perfect record. And to be fair, you can't point out Peyton Manning's fault in the clutch without mentioning that Schottenheimer hasn't been so good with the chips on the line. But outside of the Patriots, do the Colts ever play a tough team? They play Houston, Tennessee and Jacksonville twice a year. It is like the NFL's equivalent of the Sun Belt conference. The Colts are never challenged during the regular season. Seriously, it is no wonder they fold in the clutch. And don't forget, the Chargers have the Colts number. They have a pressing pass rush and a run game that will expose the Colts defense. Just like they did last year.
There is no argument; the Chargers are the best team in the AFC.
NO PATERNITY TEST NEEDED
Eli Messiah was winning so many games that you thought that maybe he was not a member of the Manning family after all. But after (expletive)ing the bed on Sunday night, Messiah truly is a member of the family. Nice game, jerk. A couple of picks, no touchdowns. The Giants are the frauds that everybody thought the Bears were losing to the Dolphins last week.
(And before you bury the Bears for last week remember that people liked the Dolphins to go to the Super Bowl this season. So don't be surprised when they win a few games.)
And why should anybody be surprised that the Giants threw away a victory? The Messiah’s game plan of blindly throwing the ball up for grabs just doesn't seem to work against the team like the Bears or when his receivers are hurt. Messiah just doesn’t have the quarterbacking skills to fall back on.
The funniest thing about the BCS mess right now is that all of America would be rallying behind Rutgers and Boise State if this were March Madness. But because this is football, everybody is upset by Rutgers presence. Can anybody explain that? The country should be celebrating Rutgers and their chance to prove what a fraud the BCS is.
USC had the best Saturday ever, jumping up to the three spot in the BCS. The common thinking is that if the Trojans win out, they will move into the championship game. But what happens if Ohio State loses to Michigan on Saturday? Are you going to reason that the Buckeyes should fall below USC because they lose to the second-best team in the nation?
And shut up Florida fans. It is a crying shame that the SEC has an automatic bid in the BCS playoffs at all. That conference is as boring as it is overrated. Arkansas looked like garbage in the second half against Tennessee. Florida can barely hold off an awful South Carolina team. This conference has deceived you. It is the Mountain West with a better press agent.
Boise State rose to No. 12 in the BCS standings, ensuring an automatic bid if they win out. The Broncos struggled against mighty San Jose State, but nobody pushes the Spartans around. Nobody. And congratulations to San Diego State for beating UNLV.
- Anybody want to take a break to go for coffee? This is going to be a long one, today.
- Did anybody else catch Chad Johnson mugging it up with LaDainian Tomlinson and Keenan McCardell following the Chargers beat down? Why do NFL players never seem to care when they lose a game? Especially a game where you had a 21-point lead. Johnson can posture that he is all about winning, but celebrating after setting an individual receiving record following an embarrassing loss says otherwise. Cris Collinsworth would never do that. Bill Belichick would never do that. Did you see the warm reception he gave to his pupil, Eric Mangini? That handshake was as awkward as that Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley's kiss on MTV years ago. But at least Belichick was pissed that his team lost the game. As it should be.
- Marlon McCree's hit on T.J. Houshmanzadeh might have been a cheap shot. But nobody is really shedding any tears, especially after the way Johnson mimicked Shawne Merriman's sack dance. Johnson does get credit for creativity. But just don't act surprised when one of your teammates gets roughed up. And somebody might want to let Dan Dierdorf in on the joke, as he was clueless as to what Johnson was doing. Not that being clueless ever stopped him before.
- Were you bummed that Houshmanzadeh was spelled correctly? It is because the Houshyourmama jokes have been played out. The lamest ever? T.J. HoushmanzaDUH. Painfully awful.
- The Falcons second-half collapse is arriving right on schedule. Atlanta started 6-2 before finishing 8-8 last season. Losing to Charlie (expletive) Frye should make the Mike Vick bandwagon as empty as the stands at an Oakland A's baseball.
- Aramis Ramirez resigned with the Cubs without listening to an offer from the Angels. Enjoy playing for a middle-of-the-pack team. Look for A-Rod to the Angels rumors to intensify.
- Anybody want Drew Brees back? Philip Rivers has certainly silenced his critics. The first half of yesterday's game was eerily similar to Ryan Leaf's debacle at Kansas City that ended up ruining his career.
- Conrad Bain's assistant sent in this note: If Brett Favre is going to break the all-time interception record, he might need to borrow some of Jake Plummer's picks. Packers coach Mike McCarthy wants Favre to play two more years. Yeah, he really wants him to push that record out of reach.
- The playoff hopes of the St. Louis football team are sinking faster than their former owner.
- Washed away in the Eagles huge victory over Washington is that Donovan McNabb completed less than 50 percent of his passes. But at least Marty Mornhinweg is starting to run the ball more. Which should also get Brian Westbrook injured much faster. But hey, it's the NFC, so everybody has a chance. Except for the Cardinals.
If you want to see your favorite band play their hits, don't come to a concert with me. Had the chance to see The Who in Palm Springs on Saturday. (For a full recap of the season, come see our 10 minutes at the Improv in the near future.) But The Who did not play any of their hits. No Sympathy for the Devil; no Fade to Black; no Jumping Jack Flash; no Under My Thumb.
Instead, The Who played three jingles from the CSI television series and a cover of Elton John's Pinball Wizard. What a rip.