AFC Divisional Playoff Live Blog: Chargers @ Steelers, 1st Half

Sunday, January 11, 2009

This is Darren Sproles at a charity event put on by now-former Charger Donnie Edwards, I believe. (I love using charity event and side business photos here. They're just, so, out of the element.)

Game: AFC Divisional Playoff #2
Teams: San Diego Chargers (8-8, AFC West Champs) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4, AFC North Champs)
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Start Time: 4:45 PM EST
Announcers and Network: Jim Nantz and Phil Simms (CBS)
Miscellany: Norv Face, Big Ben's offensive protection and his recovery from a concussion, the Chargers' impossible run after going 8-8, Mighty Mite Darren Sproles, Philip Rivers getting snubbed for the Pro Bowl.
Favorite: Steelers (-6)
S2N's Pick: Steelers. I find it hard to go against the best defense in the whole damn league.

Hello, fwends. I'm not your buddy, Nantz. Reed kicks to Darren Sproles, and he's down at the 25. Grrrr.....douchebag sighting on the field....BASH HIS FAT FACE IN PLEASE JAMES HARRISON.

(hate subsiding a little.)

Rivers to Antonio Gates with plenty of room, 21 yards on the first play. Screen out to Sproles on the right side, and he gets another first down across midfield by slipping two tacklers. Rivers airs out a floater to the end zone...and Vincent Jackson comes down with a 41 yard catch over Ike Taylor. Touchdown, Bolts! Nate Kaeding's kick is good, 7-0, Bolts.

Jackson gets an unsportsmanlike penalty for his TD celebration, which I don't believe we actually got a shot of. Steelers start at the 42, running play with Willie Parker, and he busts through the line for a first down and into Chargers' territory. Parker gets another three yards. Parker again, up the gut and past the marker, tackled by Clinton Hart. So far, we have seen no five-wide formations -- which is Bruce Arians trying to get cute. Screen out to Hines Ward for a couple yards, but Santonio Holmes gets flagged for holding. Ben throws to Ward again -- Quentin Jammer knocks it away as Ward tries to hold on.

Ben to TE Heath Miller for 11 yards. Next couple plays are incomplete and short, 4th down. They go for it....wait, Ben quick-kicks it and it's down inside the 15. First Cassel pulls this, now Roethlisberger. Start at the 9, Sproles gets 3 yards on the first carry of the series. Mighty Mouse gets two more.

The QB punt will be next season's Wildcat formation. Mark my words. - Deven

Mike Scifres punts and Santonio Holmes BUSTS IT OUT AND TAKES IT TO THE HOUSE! 68 yards for Holmes! Woo! Reed's XP is good, 7-7 all.

Spoke too soon. Santonio EXPOSES the Chargers punt coverage team. He seems to be good at doing that, exposing things... - PricelessCommentary
Best tackle on that punt return was by cameraman. - JG
I think Nantz jinxed the hell out of Scifres. - Zidane Valor

Nantz owes the punter a Coke. Sproles' kick return to the 36, and Michael Bennett gets his first rush of the year. Face mask on fullback Jacob Hester -- going back some more! Rivers hits Chambers for his first reception of the game. Checkdown pass to Bennett for a few yards. 3rd down converted for nine yards to Antonio Gates. False start, back 'em up to first and 15. Sproles gets three of those back. Rush on for 2nd down, and Lamar Woodley takes Rivers down for the first sack of the game and a real 3rd and long.

Delay of game on top of that, and it's first sighting of Norv Face. He's not wearing glasses this week, sadly. 3rd and 25. Sproles only gets back to the line of scrimmage.

Fuck...Nantz just pulled a Vasgersian. Outyardaged. - Anon @ 5:11

Can we set up an electro-shocker for commentators who make up words like that? Steelers start at the 25 after the punt. Parker gets a couple yards. Deep ball for Nate Washington, who gets tangled up with Jammer. Yinzers are booing like mad for a PI flag (which shouldn't be thrown.) 3rd and nine -- and down goes Big Ben, sacked for the first time.

Mitch Berger punts it 49 yards. "I'm glad he didn't change his name today." - Phil, and there's a block in the back on the Bolts.

An Axe-manufactured hair crisis. One of the many companies who believe men are fundamentally morons (the top offender is usually the beer companies, especially the ones who sell cheap piss-water.)

Sproles grabs another first down on a 2nd and 2, followed by a quarter change and a one-yard carry for Mighty Mouse. Gates gets eight on the reception, following a shot of a guy with enough chains and beads to be mistaken for a Baltimore Ravens fan. 3rd down fails, and Scifres to punt again. Another delay of game call on the Chargers....wait, and Norv just made his first dumb decision of the day by challenging the spot.

THAT's the incompetent Norv I know. - SSR
Apparently Norv didn't see Coughlin screw this same thing up earlier today. - Mal
Norv Turner channeling his inner Andy Reid with that challenge. - Ghost

Ah, that's the regression to the mean Peter Principle that we know and love in Norv. And of course he loses the challenge. Fair catch on the punt by Mewelde Moore at the 17.

Parker scoops up another first down on the ground. Fast Willie up the middle for another six, he then fights for another chain movement. Moore goes for four yards; then Parker's back for two. 3rd and 3 will become 3rd and 8 after a false start. Big Ben goes to the fullback, but Eric Weddle tackles Cary Davis short of the first. Chargers call time out on 4th down, after the Steelers try to rush them by going for it quickly.

Berger's punt rolls into the end zone. Ike Taylor nearly takes away Rivers' pass for Chambers on first down. Rivers throws the ball away on 2nd down. Rivers hurls another high floater -- and Vincent Jackson lays out and makes the catch....uh-oh, that looked like it bounced. Here comes Tomlin's challenge flag!

"They have to give the defense time to align after the substitution." - Phil

They do? Then how did Indy get away with that quick pass a couple weeks ago? Why was the official holding up that play?

I don't understand.... - Anon @ 5:40

I'm kind of confused too, except to say that there's a difference between that play and changing for a punt formation. Peyton caught them during an offensive play; it wasn't a 4th down play.

And that reception is no more, as it's overturned. Scifres to punt again, and Big Swinging Dick John...err....Santonio Holmes is back to receive. He fair catches this one. Holmes for three, then a pass for five to Nate Washington. 3rd down means another short out to the fullback, and Davis gets up-ended by Jammer short of the line. Fake punt, snapped to Ryan Clark, and the Bolts have it stopped.

Sproles is brought down by Woodley and James Harrison on first down in Steeler territory. Legadu Naane trips on his route, and the pass falls to the ground. Rivers finds Gates over the middle again and he's got 15 yards and a first down. Sproles gets knocked in the backfield again. Anotiher screen pass to Sproles -- and Woodley plows him over. Another pass to Gates and it's short of the first. Kaeding will try an FG after the break.

42 yards, up, and good. 10-7, Chargers. Gary Russell takes the kickoff back to the 32. Ben to Holmes, then Moore, and the ball's in Chargers' territory. Ben then throws wide of Heath Miller. Gary Russell smashes in for a third down conversion. Ben overthrows Holmes completely. A little lighter touch and Holmes would have had a first and goal. Pass to Miller for a first, but there's a flag down for illegal formation.

Ben goes deep again and finds Hines Ward at the 10, who then runs out of bounds at the 3 yard line. First and goal, Steelers! Sweep left to Parker.....TOUCHDOWN, STEELERS! Reed's XP is good, 14-10, Pittsburgh.

Antonio Cromartie returns the kickoff and almost breaks loose. Start at the 30, Sproles gets nothing, and that will end the half. See you in the next thread post-halftime.

99 Comments:

Killing it fading your picks.

Anonymous said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:20:00 PM  

Anon - man, my picks have sucked this whole playoff season. I don't expect it to change now.

Signal to Noise said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:21:00 PM  

Good thing Eli whined his way out of San Diego.

Good thing the Bolts kept it classy by firing Marty Ball.

And good thing LT can't stay healthy in January.

Jan 11, 2009, 4:24:00 PM  

You put the final score as PHI 23, NYG 111. Now THAT's a score that's never happened in the NFL.

Anonymous said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:25:00 PM  

If this game is anything like the first three division games, expect the Chargers to score 40+ points.

Zidane Valor said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:27:00 PM  

By the way, 23-111 isn't exactly a typo. It is the combined CP/AT of the two Manning brothers in this year's playoffs. AA just put it in the wrong place.

Zidane Valor said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:29:00 PM  

If anyone from the Lions read this, draft Bradford no.1 and let him sit and learn for a couple of years like Rivers. He could learn a lot from Daunte Culpepper and Dan Orlovsky... Wait, nevermind scratch that. Feed the poor kid to the wolves.

Jan 11, 2009, 4:30:00 PM  

CBSTV pregame: Sharpe just picked both Pittsburgh and San Diego. Then he realized he forgot to fold the paper.

Anonymous said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:31:00 PM  

Shannon Sharpe and Warren Sapp should have subtitles on the screen whenever they speak.

Jan 11, 2009, 4:32:00 PM  

San Diego (+6) but Pittsburgh straight up.

I can't see all 4 road teams winning and the thought that San Diego and Arizona could host conference championships bothers me.

Ghost. said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:33:00 PM  

Re: final score....grumble, stupid typos.

Signal to Noise said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:33:00 PM  

True, true, Zidane. This will go down as the year of the postseason choke job. The Mannings, Delhomme, etc. It's nice to see Bob Stoops BCS syndrome trickling up to the higher levels of the sport.

Anonymous said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:33:00 PM  

Well, it's the Chargers vs the field..Heinz that is.

frankasu03 said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:33:00 PM  

Kind of strange when the actual championship games are being played in the divisonal round.

I told a friend the other day via text Eagles vs. Chargers, to which he responded, both those teams are hot, boy-band hot.

Jan 11, 2009, 4:36:00 PM  

It's a day late and a dollar short, but I did find the article in PFT explaining the play/sit argument I mentioned in the last thread.

http://www.profootballtalk.com/2009/01/10/bye-helps-giants-get-very-healthy/

Zidane Valor said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:41:00 PM  

please SD if only for another week of your cheerleaders

Frank said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:42:00 PM  

"The terrible towels at their frantic best." - Jim Nantz

"What did these teams learn from their last meeting?" - Jim Nantz to Phil Simms. I'm surprised he did not respond, "Don't bet on this game."

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:42:00 PM  

Wow, Jim Nantz just did that Sony promo with more enthusiasm than he has ever had while calling a football game.

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:44:00 PM  

Does anyone else think the Chargers cheerleaders would make good contestants on the Rock of Love Bus?

Jan 11, 2009, 4:45:00 PM  

Dennis Green on WW1:

San Diego has 26 players who have played at a northern school, like the Big Ten or the Big XII.

Texas is a northern school?

Anonymous said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:46:00 PM  

Anytime Jim Nantz performs a non-Masters promo/ad he sounds more excited than he does at any game.

Anonymous said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:47:00 PM  

Tony Dungy has a mancrush on James Harrison. Practically loves him like a son.. what to soon?

Jan 11, 2009, 4:48:00 PM  

Sign Sproles, now!

SSReporters said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:48:00 PM  

Vincent Jackson receiving under the influence.

Jan 11, 2009, 4:49:00 PM  

"That's the difference right now in this game." - Phil Simms on Darren Sproles

Well, duh! It's the opening drive of the game and he's the only one that made a play.

Of course, the Rivers TD was after that quote.

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:49:00 PM  

Heh, No Fun League!

SSReporters said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:50:00 PM  

Yeah these celebration penalties are getting ridiculous. Pittsburgh better recognize stat that SD doesn't care that it's cold and snowy on that POS field.

Anonymous said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:52:00 PM  

Why didn't CBS show what Jackson did to get flagged for 15 yards?

Zidane Valor said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:53:00 PM  

@ Zidane Valor: If you ask Joe Buck, I'm sure he'd say that something that disgusting does not deserve to be shown on TV.

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:55:00 PM  

Jackson probably called McNabb to congratulate him on his win in New York. Either that, or he called Fitzgerald and said that he isn't the only West Coast receiver that can make big plays on the East Coast this weekend.

Zidane Valor said...
Jan 11, 2009, 4:55:00 PM  

Big Ben shows up Scifers.

Jan 11, 2009, 4:59:00 PM  

The QB punt will be next season's Wildcat formation. Mark my words.

Deven said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:00:00 PM  

It's not snowing that hard but CBS is loving that shot from the opposite side of the stadium that makes it look like you can't see anything.

Matt said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:01:00 PM  

great...now we're pronouncing Scifres' mane correctly. Hooray!

David said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:03:00 PM  

Best tackle on that punt return was by cameraman

jg said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:04:00 PM  

Spoke too soon. Santonio EXPOSES the Chargers punt coverage team. He seems to be good at doing that, exposing things...

Jan 11, 2009, 5:04:00 PM  

Santonio Holmes can skate on grass.

SSReporters said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:04:00 PM  

I think Nantz jinxed the hell out of Scifres.

Zidane Valor said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:04:00 PM  

BREAKING NEWS: Mike Scifres is going back to his old pronunciation.

Bazooka Jones said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:05:00 PM  

I guess Mike Scifres isn't going to be the star of this game?

And was Jim Nantz actually excited during that punt return? Treasure this moment, Pittsburgh, it normally takes either a Masters Torunament or a Mario Chalmers 3-point jumper to tie the game with seconds left to get him to scream like that.

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:05:00 PM  

Terrible towel wavers <<<< Charger girls

Mal said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:06:00 PM  

He did seem rather excited... I'm gonna go out on a limb and say he's got money on this one.

Bazooka Jones said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:06:00 PM  

Between the Ray Guy-like slurping and the nitpickin wife who says "your pronouncing his name wrong," it's a bit joyful to see Mike SCI!FURS! 1st punt get HOUSED!

frankasu03 said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:07:00 PM  

Is it just me, or is the crowd noise a little extra loud? It's practically drowning out Nantz and Simms(not that that's a bad thing) I thought the same thing yesterday during the Titans-Ravens game.

Bruce said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:08:00 PM  

Nantz will be excited for Pittsburgh all day because he knows if the Steelers win CBS will kick Fox's ass in the ratings next Sunday.

Anonymous said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:09:00 PM  

Fuck...Nantz just pulled a Vasgersian. Outyardaged.

Anonymous said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:11:00 PM  

"The Steelers out-yardaged them." - Nantz

SSReporters said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:11:00 PM  

@ Bruce: CBS has been having that problem a lot this year.

Rivers is sacked. S2N is jumping for joy.

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:12:00 PM  

Speaking of money on the game, Bill Simmons is 0-3 so far. In his defense, so am I. He has Chargers +6, so Pittsburgh will probably win by 7 or more. And at the rate this weekend is going, the score will be 52-45.

Zidane Valor said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:12:00 PM  

Is there enough snow for one of the drunk Steeler fans to hit Simms with a snowball?

Mal said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:12:00 PM  

That may sum up the coaching match-up right there. Not only did Norv Turner call a run on 3rd-and-25, but Pittsburgh expected the run.

Zidane Valor said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:15:00 PM  

"We have more touchdowns this quarter than we did all last meeting." - Jim Nantz not realizing the simplicity of having more than 1 TD in a game.

Off-topic, but it looks like we're gonna have to bear witness to Gary Danielson (and possibly) Thom Brennaman getting more Tebowners as The Savior Of College Football announced his return to Florida.

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:16:00 PM  

"Everybody drops out"

No, it was a 4 man rush. The linemen/backers were in coverage and downfield.

Bazooka Jones said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:19:00 PM  

The Axe hair product commercial was pretty funny.

Mal said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:21:00 PM  

Apparently it takes a bad economy to motivate Madison Avenue. That Wal-Mart game time commercial was also pretty good.

Anonymous said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:26:00 PM  

"The field conditions are excellent." - Jim Nantz

Um, there's snow on the field...

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:26:00 PM  

Was that Carl Spackler with the snow blower?

"Big Hitter, the Paulaluma".

Mal said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:26:00 PM  

THAT's the incompetent Norv I know.

SSReporters said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:28:00 PM  

Apparently Norv didn't see Coughlin screw this same thing up earlier today.

Mal said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:28:00 PM  

Norv Turner channeling his inner Andy Reid with that challenge.

Ghost. said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:28:00 PM  

I found a gif file of McNabb using the phone on the Giants sideline. Note that the link says .jpg, but it is indeed a .gif

http://i43.tinypic.com/108bl77.jpg

This is a larger screenshot for those that want a wallpaper:

http://i41.tinypic.com/adol6q.jpg

Zidane Valor said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:29:00 PM  

does rivers seem a little too hyped?

they must have upgraded the mics for the playoffs. could hear refs during plays in the giants game too.

Travis said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:29:00 PM  

Is this the usual playoff game the Chargers self-destruct.

Keith said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:31:00 PM  

Norv should take this advice I'm about to give him: When you feel like challenging, don't throw the flag. When you don't think it's worthy of a challenge, chances are, the play will be overturned.

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:32:00 PM  

Focus!!!!!

Mal said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:35:00 PM  

i think the ref is wearing eye liner?

Travis said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:37:00 PM  

Anyone catch that offensive lineman shove the Charger at the line of scrimmage after the whistle blew?

And I think Nantz officially has money on the Steelers in this one.

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:38:00 PM  

"They have to give the defense time to align after the substitution." - Phil

They do? Then how did Indy get away with that quick pass a couple weeks ago? Why was the official holding up that play?

I don't understand....

Anonymous said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:40:00 PM  

Nantz: "It was Lynn Swann-esque".

What, is V Jax a Pennsylvania politician?

Mal said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:44:00 PM  

@anon at 5:40

if you substitute you have to give them time to substitute and align before the snap. on that play Indy didn't substitute so they didn't have to wait for San Diego.

and Jackson did not catch that pass.

Ghost. said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:45:00 PM  

I'm pretty sure Jim Nantz drank a bottle of 5-hour energy immediately before this game begun.

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:45:00 PM  

So much for the Lynn Swann-esque play.

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:47:00 PM  

How ironic is it that the slow-mo "beauty cam" was the best shot to confirm the incompletion?

Deven said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:48:00 PM  

Nantz: Rothlisberger has more punt yardage than passing yardage"

Mal said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:49:00 PM  

Bonehead call

Anonymous said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:50:00 PM  

Fake punt at midfield in a 7-7 game? Since when is Norv Turner the head coach of Pittsburgh as well?

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:51:00 PM  

Did Tomlin think he was playing this game on Madden 09?

Mal said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:52:00 PM  

"If youre going to be a good defense, everybody's gotta be a good tackler." - Simms, who apparently doesnt really pay attention to all the crappy tackling in the games he covers.

jg said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:52:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:56:00 PM  

Nate Kaeding (kay-deeng) will now be known at Nate Kaeding (kah-ding).

Mal said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:56:00 PM  

Thom Brenneman has invited Tim Tebow to go see My Bloody Valentine 3D.

Mal said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:57:00 PM  

"Field goal so difficult here at Heinz Field." - Jim Nantz
I swear that is brought up every Steeler home game.

"Here comes Nak...Nate Kaeding." - Jim Nantz
Whoa! What is he thinking about?

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:57:00 PM  

After all that crap about how tough this FG would be, there was no way Kah-Ding wouldn't make that.

Mal said...
Jan 11, 2009, 5:58:00 PM  

Don't know if I'm late to the party on this, but why are Simms and Nantz dressed exactly the same?

Do they need a double shot at love?

Jan 11, 2009, 5:59:00 PM  

Kah-Ding groin injury < LT groin injury.

Mal said...
Jan 11, 2009, 6:00:00 PM  

"What a great interview last night by James Brown with Pacman Jones." - Jim Nantz

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 6:00:00 PM  

Well, Jim, no one asked you and really, no one cares what you think.

Anonymous said...
Jan 11, 2009, 6:01:00 PM  

I hope that fake punt does not come back to hunt the Steelers.

Adam said...
Jan 11, 2009, 6:02:00 PM  

@ PricelessCommentary: That beats any explanation I have. Maybe they felt that by wearing the same clothes, it will offset the 20 couches used to make Moose's and Goose's suits.

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 6:03:00 PM  

"Ben Roethlisberger trying to stick it in there, missed it too high." - Phil Simms

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 6:05:00 PM  

I suppose that throw was Terry Bradshaw-esque.

JFein said...
Jan 11, 2009, 6:06:00 PM  

I ment hope it doesnt come back to hurt the Steelers, not hunt.

Adam said...
Jan 11, 2009, 6:07:00 PM  

@Travis, I think the ref's watched Semi-Pro last night. He's def got the Greenday look going.

Meanwhile Hines Ward makes a play that doesn't involve breaking someone's jaw.

Jan 11, 2009, 6:07:00 PM  

I gotta tell you what, the Slow-mo camera operator deserves a huge raise after this game. He's had some great shots today.

Anonymous said...
Jan 11, 2009, 6:09:00 PM  

Willie Parker touchdown followed by "OPP" on the PA. Out of curiousity, does anyone still bump "Whoop there it is?"

Jan 11, 2009, 6:10:00 PM  

This is a dilema. Would I rather see Phillip Rivers defeated and demoralized or would I rather see the Charger girls next Sunday? Why must life be so hard?

Mal said...
Jan 11, 2009, 6:11:00 PM  

Jay Mohr has put on a lot of weight.

BWAlaska said...
Jan 11, 2009, 6:13:00 PM  

Simms on the Steelers' second TD: "[The Steelers] have run that play the last 20 years."

Try about forty.

JamesCraven said...
Jan 11, 2009, 6:15:00 PM  

JFein@538: Why else would CBS force-feed the Steelers into NYC during the season?

chuckyinjersey said...
Jan 11, 2009, 6:23:00 PM  

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