(...to insert best adjective to describe the amazing game on Monday!)
Before I start this week's Play-by-Play (again, courtesy of ESPN), I have to say that I haven't had ANY time to check any blogs or posts yet. I literally logged in and went straight to posting this, so I'm sorry if this is rehashing stuff that's already been analyzed.
This week's post will consist of the p-b-p, then, I'll give some other info about what made this trip awesome.
Let's go! (See post after the jump)
As some of you are aware, I live in Indiana and am a season ticket holder along with my dad. We sell all of the games except a couple. This year's picks were Buffalo (OUCH!) and the MNF game against San Diego (totally made up for Buffalo trip). Our seats are in the 6th row, corner end zone where D. Bowe always stands during warm-ups and talks to the crowd (this made things REALLY fun at the end of the game).
Let's get to the p-b-p:
|1st and 10 at SD 25||D.McCluster up the middle to SD 21 for 4 yards (C.Liuget). FUMBLES (C.Liuget), RECOVERED by SD-Q.Jammer at SD 21. Q.Jammer to SD 21 for no gain (D.McCluster). Kansas City challenged the fumble ruling, and the play was Upheld. (Timeout #2 at 08:44.)|
*This was NOT a fumble. I recorded the game and watched it once I got home last night. DMc was down WAY before the ball came out. I have no idea how they said there was no clear evidence that he was down. This is one of the MANY bad calls from an officiating crew who really did a terrible job calling the game in general (we'll see more later).
|3rd and 4 at KC 26||(Shotgun) P.Rivers pass short middle intended for V.Jackson INTERCEPTED by D.Johnson (W.Gilberry) at KC 22. D.Johnson to KC 23 for 1 yard (V.Jackson).|
*First off, props to Gilberry for getting his hand on the ball. Now...let's state the obvious: DJ is having a Pro Bowl season. If he keeps playing like this, he HAS to make the Pro Bowl. He has consistently played at a high level, and it's nice to see it being recognized (Gruden called him one of the best LB's in the league during the pregame).
|1st and 10 at SD 39||M.Cassel pass deep middle to J.Baldwin for 39 yards, TOUCHDOWN.|
*Welcome to KC, Mr. Baldwin. This is why we used a first round draft pick on you. The talent is there. However, please stop letting balls bounce off of your hands and go straight up in the air. That sucks. If you're going to drop it, drop it towards the ground! Either way, this specific play was great all the way around: great route, great throw, and a great catch.
P.S. HOLY COW! Cassel threw a deep one for a TD (no RAC or anything)!
|3rd and 4 at KC 22||M.Cassel pass incomplete short right to L.Pope [T.LaBoy]. San Diego challenged the incomplete pass ruling, and the play was REVERSED. M.Cassel sacked at KC 16 for -6 yards (T.LaBoy). FUMBLES (T.LaBoy) [T.LaBoy], RECOVERED by SD-D.Hughes at KC 22.|
*This was another blown call by the officials. Whatever happened to needing clear evidence to reverse a call? There's no way it was absolutely clear that Cassel's arm wasn't moving forward.
|2nd and 5 at KC 17||P.Rivers pass short left to A.Gates for 17 yards, TOUCHDOWN NULLIFIED by Penalty. PENALTY on SD-A.Gates, Offensive Pass Interference, 10 yards, enforced at KC 17 - No Play.|
*I won't include the whole p-b-p, but this entire play series was HUGE. First, let me say that this specific play was NOT offensive pass interference. We got a big break here. Both guys were jockeying for position. It happens on almost every pass over 15 yards (and most of them shorter than that, too). Bottom line: the officials for this game SUCKED on both sides of the ball.
Anyway, the whole series looked like this: 5 yard run, TD nullified by offensive pass interference, DJ sacks Rivers, holding on the Chargers, Jackson catch for 10 yards, Novak misses 52 yard FG. That was a big deal in this game playing out the way it did.
***CHARGERS POSSESSION SUMMARY:
-This is way too much for a bunch of screen shots from ESPN, so here's the basics: San Diego had the ball inside of our 30 yard line (Scoring position, IMO) 9 times. Here is what happened:
1. D. Johnson interception
2. 44 yard FG
3. Mathews fumble
4. Missed 52 yard FG
5. 44 yard FG
6. 42 yard FG
7. 26 yard FG
8. Their only TD
9. Rivers fumble (HOW THE HECK DID THAT HAPPEN?!?!?!?!?!?!?!) The guys right behind us had made the decision to leave (like several others) right after the Chargers got the first down on 3rd and 1. What was hilarious is after the fumble, I turned back around and they were there. They said, "We were slowly walking up the steps in case something happened. Then, we heard everyone screaming and saw it, so we sprinted back down here." Here's my two cents, if you spend the money to go to the game, STAY AT THE GAME. We ran into a lady at the airport on Tuesday who said she'd left before it was over. Um...YOUR BAD! We stayed until 3 minutes left in the Buffalo game, and that game was over WAAAY before then. All I'm saying is that it's stupid to spend all that money and not watch the whole game when it's close. As we saw, you NEVER know what could happen. When Rivers fumbled, we were all jumping and I don't think there was a single person who wasn't saying, "Unbelievable!" or "How did that just happen?!" By far, that was the coolest play I've witnessed in person at a football game.
---So, that's 9 possession in scoring range, and the Chargers got 4 FG's, 1 TD, 3 turnovers, and a missed FG. Perfect example of Romeo's "Bend but Don't Break" defense.
|3rd and 14 at SD 47||M.Cassel pass short left to S.Breaston to SD 30 for 17 yards (S.Gregory).|
*This made the game winning FG possible. Breaston continually comes up with big plays for us. I like this guy more and more each game, and with Baldwin making plays, and D. Bowe being D. Bowe, I think we FINALLY are going to see Matt Cassel's full potential (for better or worse).
Speaking of Cassel, let me say this: While, he did have three turnovers, I believe that NONE of them were his fault (I could bend and say that the INT at the end of regulation is partially his fault). Hear me out on this. One INT bounced off of Baldwin's hands, the fumble should not have been a fumble (ruled incomplete pass on the field and there wasn't evidence to change it, IMO), and then the INT in the 4th, which really looked like the receiver ran the wrong route. Also, Cassel has led 2 game winning drives in the last three games (IND and SD). I do agree that he is inconsistent, but I also believe that this is when we'll truly see what we have with Cassel. He has plenty of weapons right now (and that doesn't include those obviously injured...Moeaki and Charles) and already has confidence in Baldwin (leading receiver for the game). All I'm saying is don't count him out completely yet. Let's see what we REALLY have with him. If he sucks with this receiving core, then I'll jump on the bandwagon to get him out of town.
LET'S SUMMARIZE AND I'LL GIVE SOME PERSONAL INFO AFTER THE GAME:
Points to improve:
*Before the 4th quarter, 7 of our 10 third downs were 3rd and 8 or longer. Just as we have had issues in the past games this season, we have GOT to do a better job on 1st and 2nd down moving the ball consistently.
*We get murdered over the middle in our pass defense. Two ways to fix it: either get more pressure on the QB (Rivers had all day at some points), or figure out a way to better cover the middle. We consistently are beat over the short to intermediate middle in our pass defense. I am okay with it (it happens because of the "Bend but Don't Break" approach) as long as the D can consistently hold teams to FG's and turnovers. However, we're going to be playing some REALLY good teams soon, so we have to figure out a way to AT LEAST get better in this area.
*Play four quarters of good football. We got lucky again. We should've lost. If Phyllis Rivers knew how to hold onto the ball, we would've lost that game. We can't ignore that. We were gift wrapped that game at the end(even though we led the whole freaking time).
*People need to get over Haley's beard. It's clearly his stylish zip hoodie that holds the magic.
Overall, it was an awesome trip and reminded me why we spend so much for season tickets and travel from Indiana :). That being said, our team still needs to make major improvements for us to make the playoffs (I can't believe I can even say that after the way we started the season).
Here's how it works: I believe we need to be 10-6 to win the division. So, we'd need 6 wins. Here's how I think we CAN get it done... beat Denver twice (hard to win in Denver, but they suck this year, so it's possible), beat Miami, beat Oakland, and then that leaves us with the need to win only 2 of the 5 "Murderer's Row" games vs Chicago, NYJ, GB, NE, and Pittsburgh.
People, it will be hard, but it CAN be done. I'm not saying we're there yet. I actually think we have a long way to go. All I'm saying is that it is possible.
QUICK PERSONAL NOTES:
*I really like D. Bowe. He is a very fan-friendly guy. One example: He gave (BEFORE THE GAME) a guy in our section the gloves he warmed up with. Pretty cool. Another example is...
*In our section, people started hitting the exits after Succop's game winner. I noticed the players coming to our corner, so I booked it to the front row and started high fiving players and almost got a glove out of the deal (guy next to me got it). That was awesome. The players were partying just as much as we were. Bowe was in our corner as well and was playing off the crowd. That was major fun. A rare moment where the fans and players interacted after the game. Totally awesome.
*The Tomahawk Chop after the game was awesome. Added to the party feel.
*As my dad and I were leaving the stadium, someone knocked on our car window and said, "You guys can't leave yet." My dad said, "Why?" The reply..."Because you haven't given me a chest bump yet!" So...we both stopped the car, got out, and gave the dude a chest bump. As we started to get back in, someone else said, "You're not done yet!" And we gave another dude a chest bump. Two guys we'd never seen before...and it was awesome.
Let's face it people: Arrowhead is the best stadium in the NFL. I don't want to hear about Seattle or anywhere else. We have the best fans and the best tailgating. I don't even care if you disagree, then you suck! :)
That's it for this week. Here's to hoping that we don't have a letdown game (I'm actually worried that we might) against Miami this week.