If you would’ve told me before the game that the San Diego Chargers were going to beat the then defending Super Bowl Champs Indianapolis Colts while LaDainian Tomlinson and Philip Rivers looked on from the sideline, I would’ve told you you were on crack… and I would’ve been wrong. Both of yesterday’s Divisional Playoff match-ups resulted in upsets as both visiting teams went into hostile environments and came out with huge victories and find themselves one step closer to the Super Bowl.
In the AFC, the aforementioned San Diego (Super) Chargers went into Indianapolis and shocked the defending champs by the score of 28-24. Even more shocking was the Bolts did so without the services of All-World running back Ladainian Tomlinson, who went down in the with a knee injury after only seven carries.
LT’s absence was handled masterfully by quarterback Philip Rivers, who, until he also got injured, looked to be playing the best game of his NFL career (14-19 for 264 yards and 3 touchdowns). Rivers was replaced by Tennessee cast-off, Billy Volek, who did exactly what you ask of back-up: don’t hurt the team.
So why did the Colts fail yesterday? Was this another case of Peyton Manning not being able to win the Big Game or did the Colts handling of the Marvin Harrison’s injured knee play a part in the Colts demise (Harrison coughed up a crucial fumble in the first quarter)? Whatever the case, one thing is for certain: there is Manning quarterback moving on to the conference finals. Just not Peyton.
Speaking of, in Dallas, the New York football Giants used a strong pass rush and some Cowboys’ miscues to come out of Texas Stadium victorious by the score of 21-17. After allowing the Cowboys to score 14-second quarter points, the Giants defense rendered the Dallas attack useless (thanks to some dropped balls and timely pressure on Tony Romo).
For Dallas, their run of NFL Playoff futility continues with their sixth straight playoff loss and because Dallas is such a “movie star” team, after the game, the finger pointing began. Did Romo/Simpson distract the team or did Jerry Jones’ arrogance do them in? To hear Terrell Owens tell it, the Cowboys lost as team:
I wonder what Jeff Garcia and Donovan McNabb think of all that… Of course, they could take the position that T.O. is using crocodile tears to express himself and considering what they’ve been through in the past with T.O., no one would fault them if they did.
Hat-tip to The700Level for the video.
Whatever the reasons for the above losses, there are some certainties we have our Conference Championship match-ups set. In the AFC, the undefeated New England Patriots will be taking on San Diego while in the NFC, the Giants travel to Green Bay and a Manning has a chance to go the Super Bowl… just not the one you might expect.
Who ya got?