2:30 – Seriously. If this game goes like Colts-Ravens yesterday, I may need to give in and stop my NFC slagging, because Eagles-Saints and ‘Hawks-Bears were exciting.

Screen to LDT, and the Pats are lucky that Vrabel got him around the ankles, because otherwise that was an easy six. Another tipped pass on 3rd down, and the Chargers will be kicking it away again.

Pats get five from Maroney, and then he gives four of those back when Marlon McCree comes up and whacks him. I love defensive backs who like to hit. Brady throws another incomplete on third down, and here comes Sauerbrun to punt it away. Simms and Nantz sound like they’re jockeying for a flag on Jammer as Eric Parker returns the punt for another short field for the Bolts.

One More Dying Quail said…”Mike Vrabel today will be playing the role of Willie McGinest, the veteran player who comes up with the big plays when they are needed the most.”

Someone in the Pats organization ought to explain why #55 wasn’t re-signed, as it’s not like they weren’t suffering from a linebacker shortage this year. Cough up the cash!

And we got sound issues, as Nantz sounds like he’s in an oil can for a few seconds.

2:40 – 4th and short after Lo Neal gets stopped up, and they’re going for it, and Michael Turner rips it up through a BIG hole provided by Manumaleuna.

NE forces a turnover, as Rivers throws a bomb to the 2 yard line, Hobbs rips it from Parker Gates as he’s coming down, and Vrabel recovers. Marty will be throwing a challenge flag, methinks. The flag is out, and we’ll probably have a ruling after the break.

An aside on the challenge flag: my dad hates those things; his latest suggestion has been for the coaches to throw a red beach ball out on the field to challenge (easier to see). Refs overturn the call on the field, second down on NE 22 for the Chargers.

Gates gets another catch near a first down, and Rivers hits it himself on the QB sneak. Rivers tosses a Pennington-style floater to Lo, who’s out at the 1, and Fantasy Jesus punches it in for the TD. Kaeding boots it through, and it’s Bolts, 7-3.

One More Dying Quail said…”Gates had not lost a fumble since 2003.” – Nance – he still hasn’t lost one, Jim, because the refs said that wasn’t a fumble.

Past tense, present tense, same difference, OMDQ.

2:53 – Ellis Hobbs gets the return and the Pats get some extra yardage on a 15 yard face mask. Brady needs to step up now…and, Donnie Edwards picks him off. Not good, Dreamboat, not good. I don’t know how Eric Parker makes that catch at all, and now they’re saying it’s incomplete with a bobble. Nantz and Simms have differing opinions, but they don’t challenge, and Rivers gets gobsmacked on the blitz, and we have yet another entry in the “Lame Sack Dance” category. To all defensive players getting sacks: don’t do it; just act like you’ve been there before and will be again.

Chargers punt.

Jim Nantz can’t really seem to come up with names for Schottenheimer’s playoff futility aside from “The Drive.” It sounds like he can’t remember what they were, really, until the video montage comes in.

3:00 – 3 and out for the Pats again, and the punt is on. Chargers ball just past the 20. LDT runs for another 11, and I can’t help but think that the Pats are going to let him have a giant run pretty soon, if he keeps reeling these off…and he reels off 50+ on the screen pass, making two Patriot defenders miss badly. Michael Turner then spells LDT and takes it to the house for six more.

Kaeding puts on the PAT, and it’s 14-3, Chargers. I don’t think the Hobo has an answer for this right now.

3:07 – JN and PS have contracted Joe Buck Syndrome, which causes football announcers to use baseball analogies:
“I would say you need home run hitters.” – JN
“And Tomlinson is definitely a home-run hitter.” – PS

The only known cure is a baseball bat (preferably aluminum) to the head. Anyone willing to take up the cause in the name of science?

Again with the Rules of Engagement promos. Patrick Warburton will always be the dude on Seinfeld with the crappy jacket. Neil Patrick Harris is more believable as a supposed Lothario than David Spade, and that’s really sad.

Kevin Faulk is knocking people over past midfield, but some offensive holding brings it back, and that stuff kills a 2-minute drill.

One More Dying Quail said… The halftime crew is waiting to give us our thoughts on the first half? I’m pretty sure any Patriots fan could provide some interesting commentary on the first thirty minutes of football. Not so sure how much of it would be usable on television, though.

If you can get this woman on TV, then your garden variety Masshole ought to be permissible. (I kid, I kid; I’ve been to most of New England and I like it there, despite the cold.)

3:15 – Phil Simms, a field goal is not an emotional lift when you are down by two scores. However, Brady is moving it down inside the 20, with the last catch by Reche Caldwell, and the Pats are probably going to get that FG out of this drive. Gaffney works it out on the sideline, and this is a good job of the wideouts to get out of bounds. 13 seconds left, and an offside call on Donnie Edwards is going to make it easier.

Brady to Gaffney for six, and that is probably more of the emotional lift they were looking for. Gostowski’s PAT is good, and it’s 14-10, Chargers.

Rivers kneels down to end the half, and it’s 14-10 at the break, in favor of the Chargers. See you in 15 with the 3rd quarter thread.