In my effort to really get into the NFL this year, I’m going to try to live-blog one game every week. I would do the Broncos game against the Raiders tomorrow, but I have to work. The afternoon game on Fox today is the Carolina Panthers against the San Diego Chargers, so here we go. . . .
2:20 p.m. – I missed the kick-off, which is my favorite part of every football game. I like seeing all the players running toward each other. We’ll have to wait until after the first score.
I’m rooting for the Panthers since I used to live in North Carolina and once baby-sat for a couple who worked for the Panthers promotions office. Also, rooting for the Chargers would not sit well with my husband since they are in the AFC West with the Broncos. Apparently, though, the Chargers are good this year.
2:38 – The Panthers fail to score after going for it on 4th and 1. They tried to pass the ball instead of pushing it in through the middle, which I always enjoy watching. Kind of like reverse tug of war. Speaking of passing, the QBs are the Panthers’ Jake Delhomme (who is apparently, “back” from something, an injury, I guess) and the Chargers’ Philip Rivers, who also has some North Carolina ties, having gone to N.C. State.
2:41 – Julius Peppers is mentioned! He was a Tar Heel basketball player, so we like him. I’ve heard that he’s the only person to have played in a Final Four and a Super Bowl. He’s on defense for the Panthers, but doing exactly what, I don’t know. (How many days until Midnight Madness?)
2:59 – Panthers score! A field goal gives them a “surprising” 3-0 lead. The Chargers haven’t been able to get much going on offense.
They’ve mentioned Charger Shawn Merriman’s torn knee ligaments a few times and showed a chart to show exactly what’s wrong with him. I’m really curious about this: Does it hurt to walk? What exactly is holding his leg together at this point? Will it come flying off if he’s hit too hard?
3:01 – Kick-off! But the Chargers take a knee in the end-zone. Oh well. I wish every team had a Devon Hester.
I like LaDanian Tomlinson’s Darth Vader helmet visor.
3:09 – Chargers score! Touchdown on a very long pass, though it came after the Panthers tried to challenge a call on the field. The announcers thought the Panthers had it right, but alas the referees did not. Something about Rivers having run past the line of scrimmage before he threw. (I think — this is one of the rules I’m not clear on.) Anyway, 7-3 Chargers.
3:21 – Panthers score! Another field goal, after a 1st and goal, so a bit anti-climactic. Still, a long stretch of non-commercial-interrupted play, which was nice. 7-6 Chargers.
Before the kick, they showed a Chargers defensive coach holding a long stick with a football at the end of it and using it so defensive players could practice reacting to when they see the ball move. These are the things I would never think of.
3:32 – Tight End Dante Rosario (thanks Wikipedia!) catches a pass from Jake Delhomme then hurdles a defender. These are the kinds of plays I’d like to see more of. I mean, why would you just ram into the guy — isn’t vertical jump one of the things they look at during the combine?
3:36 – Panthers score! Yet another field goal. Do these guys think the NFL has outlawed touchdowns? The offense has done well throughout the game, until it gets past the 15 yard line. Well, a lead is a lead, I guess. 9-7 Panthers.
Halftime! As the players walk off the field one of the announcers makes a bizarre Sarah Palin reference about new studio member Michael Strahan. Whu? I guess he’s “shaking things up,” but has he mocked community service?
4:06 – Chargers go for it on 4th and 1 and get the 1st down. Tomlinson seems to have found his game.
Almost at the two-hour mark, and I’m losing steam. Baseball is way long too, but that doesn’t bother me as much, I think, because there is no clock. Plus, I understand the details of that game. In football four 15-minute quarters somehow triples in time with all the stoppages. Must push through!
4:10 – Chargers score! All field goals all the time today, it seems. I’d love to watch a game where all the scoring came from safeties. 10-9 Chargers.
4:19 – Surfing the Web: Colombian Camilo Villegas wins the BMW Championship for his first PGA tour win! Viva Colombia!
4:23 – Touchdown Panthers! They must have sensed my increasing boredom and decided to look alive on defense. Chris Harris strips the ball from Antonio Gates and Chris Gamble returns it 31 yards for a score. Chargers challenge but no dice. 16-10 Panthers.
4:40 – Panthers score! The fifth field goal of the game makes it a two possession game. 19-10 Panthers.
4:48 – Chargers score! After a quick, impressive drive Chargers carve up the Carolina defense back to within a safety of the Panthers. 19-17 Panthers.
I wonder why Philip Rivers is not as omnipresent, pop-culture wise, as Tom Brady and the Mannings. He’s got the looks.
4:54 – Panthers fumble! Are they getting tired? Apparently, it’s 90 degrees on the field, and there’s been many a shot of players on oxygen. I wonder if it’s harder to play when it’s really hot or when it’s really, really cold. Panthers challenge. Nope, say the refs. Chargers’ ball.
5:03 – Touchdown Chargers! Tomlinson is playing really well, but all TDs have been in the air for San Diego. Not a whole lot of time left for the Panthers, who seem to have lost all their mojo after that last field goal. Can they do it? They would need their first offensive touchdown of the day.
5:17 – TOUCHDOWN PANTHERS!!!!! Oh, my freakin’ lord! The Panthers tear down the field and score on the final play of the game with two seconds left. Panthers: celebrating like crazy. Crowd: stunned. Chargers assistant on the side line: “Oh, fuck!” This is what I’m talking about!
5:22 – Some ramdom final thoughts. The game felt really long, especially during the 3rd quarter, but definitely finished strong. I’m really looking forward to the Fox show Fringe. Taco Bell commercials are really annoying. Panthers kicker John Kasay gets the game ball for keeping the team in the game.