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AFC Championship Running Diary, Part I

by Jeff Briggs

Some of the writers here at RCS got together (online) to watch and discuss yesterday's AFC Championship as it happened. Topics of discussion include Norv Turner, LT, and talking animals. Our observations of the first half are published here. Check back later as we discuss the second half of the game.

Dave: Let the AFC Championship begin.
I'm glad I tuned in to the pregame show. Did you realize there is some David vs Goliath undertones to this game?
Jeff: I decided to never watch pregame shows again
Ryan: They are awful
Dave: So before kick off, I'm curious to know if you guys are wearing sleeves for the games today...
I'm going sleeveless.
Jeff: I'm actually wearing a baseball-tee, 3/4 sleeves
Oh, Rivers is playing
Dave: That's why you need to watch the pregame shows..."If I can walk, I'm gonna be out there."
Jeff: Well, first series of the game and three-and-out for the Chargers. Not a good sign.
Ryan: Game over.
Dave: $1 says Patriots score a touchdown on this drive. Any takers?
Jeff: Why not.
Dave: Uh-oh. Brady is off to horrible start. 1 play, 1 incompletion.
Jeff: $1 coming my way...
Ryan: I bet a dislocated toe hurts...Jeff, you should offer insight to all these knee and foot injuries.
Jeff: Um, torn ankle ligaments suck? Is that the kind of insight you're looking for?
Ryan: Excellent.

 

Dave: DOLLAR WATCH: Dave -1, Jeff 1
Dave: Two three-and-outs to start the game. Maybe the wind is a factor today?
Jeff: LT isn't playing this series...interesting.
Dave: But Jeff, don't worry, according the Jim Nantz, he's eager to get back in there.
Ryan: Mom's making nachos -- time to move into the living room. I'll check in later.
Jeff: Harrison and LT are talking trash. 9:53 left in the first. This hopefully means there will be a big fight later on.
Dave: Its possible.
Hey...the "dude guy."
Jeff: Is 'dude' the new, 'whats up?'
Dave: Not nearly as annoying. And it probably doesn't run the risk of becoming a phenomenon.
Jeff: Over/under on Peyton Manning commercials during this game? 12?
Dave: That sounds like a good number. But I'm going to take the under.
Jeff: Dollar?
Dave: Done.

 

OFFICIAL MANNING COMMERCIAL COUNT: 1

Dave: Is this another Hanson sighting?
Jeff: This game is surprisingly boring so far.
Dave: So according to CBS, any production from a charger not named LT or Gates is unexpected. How did this team beat Indy?
Jeff: Norv Turner's coaching genius

...and another punt.
Dave: They did make it in to Patriot's territory though
Jeff: INTERCEPTION.
Dave: Wow.
Dave: Well, thanks to a 15 yard face mask penalty, the chargers look like they might actually score.
Jeff: I'm predicting we might not hear from Ryan for a while.
Dave: Those nachos better be damn good.
(Ed. note: They were delicious. Thanks, Mom.)
Jeff: Crazy catch for a TD by Chambers, but he landed out of bounds.
Dave: Nate Kaeding alert.
It wasn't pretty but it was good
Jeff: Yep, barely makes a 25-yarder.

Dave: So at what point in time did the marketing departments of America's corporations decide talking animals in commercials was the way to go?
Jeff: After the success of Dr. Doolittle 2.

Dave: What a boring quarter.
Jeff: And only one Peyton Manning commercial.
Dave: Just at the end the Pats have started to move the ball. But Brady looks pretty regular.
Jeff: LT is playing about 25% of the plays as well not at all.
Jeff: Pats are on the one -- I say TD next play, pass to Moss.
Dave: Maroney run.

 

Jeff: You win.

Dave: So Maroney is annoying. When are you gonna draft him next year? This year, he was a solid 8-12 pick.
Jeff: I'm not going to pick him next year. I had him in two leagues.
Dave: But as soon as the Patriots started playing regular football and not beating the snot out of teams, he proved that given the opportunity, he's really, really good. Fantasy-wise.
Jeff: True, but that wasn't until Week 15 or so. I have him at about 14th out of running backs for next year.
Dave: I think for me he's joining the ranks of Lee Evans on my 'do not draft' list.

Dave: So LT not playing is a 'coach's decision'. That’s the word from Steve Tasker.
Jeff: I have to believe that he is not close to 100%. Even though the Chargers played well without him last week, you have to play him if he is healthy
Jeff: The Chargers are moving the ball through the air using their WRs. Big surprise. To me at least.
Dave: Its the toughness of Rivers guiding the ball to its target.
Chargers not looking so good with goal to go.
Jeff: Chargers take a time out to decide who they want to throw an incomplete pass to on 3rd & goal.
Dave: This is huge. Norv needs to dial up a touchdown here.

Dave: Hey another talking animal!
Jeff: A dog saying sausages is decently funny.
(Ed. note: By the end of the day, I hated this commercial.)

Jeff: Chargers stopped short
Dave: And no one is surprised. Nate Kaeding for 23 yards, makes it. It is 7-6, Pats.

Jeff: And now its snowing, hopefully that will add some excitement. Wait, I think it stopped already

Dave: Well, it was only a matter of time before Rivers makes a huge mistake...and it just happened.
Jeff: I'd say that was not really Rivers' fault and Phil Simms seems to agree with me.
Dave: You're probably right. I feel throwing while falling can end badly...

Jeff: And the Pats easily convert it for a Gaffney TD to go up 14-6. The Chargers need to score before the half (3:51 remaining) or they might fall out of contention.
Dave: Things just don't look right for SD. Everything is difficult. 2-4 yard runs. Rivers has nowhere to go with the ball; is scrambling most drop backs. I'd go $1 that SD does not score again this half.
Jeff: I don’t want to take that bet. But for the sake of fun, I will.

Jeff: Wow. That one you can call Rivers' mistake (Hobbs interception).
Dave: Yeah, INT was a much more likely scenario than score.
Jeff: $1 says New England score
Dave: I'd be stupid to bet against the Pats scoring. But I'll take it.

 

Jeff: DOLLAR WATCH: Dave 0, Jeff 0

 

Dave: Can of Cashews: 0 Dave: 1

 

Jeff: Patriots punt, DOLLAR WATCH: Dave 1, Jeff -1
Dave: My game plan today is to force you in to mistakes.

Jeff: Big run by Tiny Daren Sproles
I think we'll be seeing Nate Kaeding again. And here he comes to attempt one from 40
Dave: So how do you feel about this kick? Kaeding 0-4 from 40+ yards in the playoffs.
Jeff: Jim Nantz wants to make sure that we know that fact as well. But to answer your question: I feel bad about it.
Jeff: And its good.
(Ed. note: always bet against Jeff.)
Dave: Just barely.
Jeff: We go to the half at 14-9 New England. And I've found our halftime entertainment. "Fashion On Ice," on NBC.