AFC Championship Live Blog: Chargers @ Patriots, Pre-Game and First Half

Hello folks, S2N here with you for the AFC Championship game, and I’m still having a hard time believing that Jim Nantz is an award-winner of any sort.

Have some fun in comments with the pre-game, and I’ll be back for the start of the game.
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Phil Simms is offending all sense of fashion yet again with that shirt and tie. Who picks that out for him?

Jesus, you’d think football players never played in the cold before. Windchills at 0, and….Steve Tasker as a sideline reporter? I’m guessing CBS didn’t want to get caught without a sideliner for injury reports again after last week. Gostowski kicks off to Sproles, who’s tackled at the 25 — and here comes Marmalard. LDT gets three on his first carry and two on the second.

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Does anyone else find it annoying when announcers say “last year’s MVP vs. this year’s MVP?” as if Tom Brady and LDT actually square off on the field, literally?

Anyway, incomplete on third down, and Mike Scifres kicks one back….and there’s going to be a five yard flag for running into the punter. They’ll try it again. Welker fair-catches the next punt at the 27. Brady overthrows Kyle Brady on first down — no perfection for Tom Terrific. Koolaid Maroney gets only two yards on the 2nd down carry — and Antonio Gates is going out of the game. Another incompletion, and it’s trading 3 and outs.

Ed in comments says the Pats scored 13 of 17 times on first drives. Make that 13 0f 18 now. Sproles gets the punt back somewhere inside the 30 of SD. Rivers hits Chris Chambers for 20 something and they’re at the 43. Michael Turner gets 5 to the 49. Going to Chambers again past midfield. Asante Samuel knocks down the pass headed for Vincent Jackson. Short pass to LDT for a yard or two, as Gates is back in the game. Rodney Harrison comes up on the blitz and rushes Rivers into a 3rd and 9 incompletion — and he just juked LDT, who was trying to pass-block. Kevin Faulk is back for the punt — fair catch at the 10.

First play is a rush hit behind the line of scrimmage for a loss. Wes Welker makes up that loss on the next play with a catch and the yards after at the 20. Pressure on Brady, hurled downfield, and we’ve got a flag for illegal contact on Quentin Jammer — and that one was a legit call past five yards. Maroney gets nothing on the next carry. Brady to Ben Watson for nine, but 3rd and 1 is incomplete after that. We’ve seen Chris Hanson twice now, very early. Sproles gets it back to the 39 of San Diego.

I FUCKING HATE THIS MCDONALD’S AD. I hate that they’re playing the long version of this, with that lame ass song.

Michael Turner gets a first down right off the bat and back to midfield with the rush. He then gets four more on the next carry. Rivers throws a floater out of bounds towards Jackson that hasn’t come down yet. Marmalard gets sacked by the former Charger Junior Seau — plus a holding call on SD, which is declined. Scifres comes out to punt again. Touchback for the Patriots.

Looks like Ted Cottrell watched the film from the Pats-Ravens game. The one where, y’know, they put pressure on Brady. – randomranting

Amazing concept, isn’t it? Put pressure on the QB and make them rush their decisions! And, we have tangible results! Quentin Jammer picks Dreamboat right off the bat. Turner rushes for five — and is brought down with a 15-yard face mask. Chambers ropes in a good catch there to make it first and goal at the 9. Turner gets a yard. 2nd down brings a pass to Lorenzo Neal, which isn’t in his vicinity. Rivers hits Chambers in the end zone, but it’s called incomplete — he was out of bounds by plenty. Nate Kaeding on…it’s up and through.

Chargers 3, Patriots 0. If this is the SD offense, god help them if the Patriots get it straight on O.

Brady and Co. start at the 35. Welker gets nine on the catch. Brady overthrows Randy Moss for a 3rd and 1. Heath Evans pumbles through for 3 yards and a first down.

Jesus Tapdancing Christ, Nancy Boy. That’s an end-around that Moss ran, not a reverse. Simms, you should fucking correct him. Out to Faulk on the screen for four yards, Stallworth for five more to close out the first quarter. Maroney gets that first down with a seven yard run to the outside. First and goal is a short one to Faulk with a touchdown saving tackle by Eric Weddle.

Koolaid Maroney does an “OH YEAH!” and busts through the pile for six. Gostowski’s kick is good, 7-3, New England.

Let the running up of the score commence….Sproles brings the kickoff back to the 30. Jackson hauls one in for 15. A “coach’s decision” to keep LDT out? Norv Turner has had his first NORV! moment. Jackson nabs another one for 17 yards — someone will be stupid enough to waste an early fantasy pick on him next season. Turner gets the next two carries and we’ve got 3rd and 1. Jackson again for 21 at the nine yard line. Rivers rolls out on 2nd down and tries to hit Gates — and Tedy Bruschi makes a solid defensive play on that one. Rivers hits Chambers — but Ellis Hobbs just took his legs out from under him, and here comes Kaeding again. His kick is good, 7-6, Patriots.

Again, this is going to look real bad if the Patriots get end zone on this next drive, and to quote PM, the NE O-line got themselves unfucked on the last drive — so that doesn’t bode well.

Nantz is great as lead announcer of the NE broadcast team. – Anon

+1.

Pats starting at the 40. Left Faulk WIDE FUCKING OPEN and he gets 13 yards into Bolts territory. Koolaid takes three tacklers with him for five yards. Welker gets a short catch on the next play. Quentin Jammer knocks down the third down pass to force fourth down, and Dateline NBC is out to punt. Kelley Washington makes a nice special teams play, batting the ball back and it’s downed at the 4.

LDT looks like Darth Tomlinson on the sidelines all bundled up. Turner gets seven yards on the first two carries. Sproles gets 4 for the first down. Rivers gets smacked up HARD, threw a rainbow ball, and Asante Samuel beat out Chris Chambers for the ball — he runs it back a bit, too. Nice hit by Vrabel, and sloppy by Chambers for not keeping position on Samuel.

Brady to Faulk for 13, then Brady to Jabar Gaffney for END ZONE. Extra point good, 14-6, Patriots.

That was promptly followed by a nice Marmalard face and vintage, vintage NORV! Face.

“The Patriots are too good at throwing and catching and getting up the field.” – PS, master of the obvious. Sproles gets very little on the first play — and if I were LDT, I’d be plotting Norval’s death in the locker room come halftime. ANOTHER RIVERS PICK, this time via Ellis Hobbs, who fumbles and Samuel falls on it.

Kevin Faulk gets eight yards on some good blocking as NE tries to get all the way for a killer score before the half. Two minute warning.

IBM just showed a clip of Steve Smith making an amazing play for the Panthers. That had to be from last season or something.

Jim Nantz just mentioned that the Giants-Packers game was on Fox. This would not be notable except for the fact that announcers never mention another network. Welker incomplete, punt to Sproles, he’s out at the SD 35. Darren Sproles busts one out — gets about 30+ or so into NE territory, and they’re reviewing the play.

“That made sense to you, right?” – Phil
“I’ve been around you long enough to be able to interpret.” – Jim

Accidental truths revealed. Ball stays with SD, Rivers hits Gates for 8. Sproles gets stopped on the pass a yard shy of the first down. Chargers burn the last time out. Rivers rolls and throws out of bounds with no one open. Kaeding on for the FG, and Coach Hobo calls a time out to ice the shite playoff kicker that Kaeding is. Kick is good from 40 yards out, 14-9, Patriots. But the Pats will still get the ball back to start the second half — job’s not done there.

See you in the 2nd half thread, everyone.

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