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Are You Ready for Some Football? Week “World Cup Final Weekend”

It’s been a while since I live-blogged a game, and with the World Cup coming to a close this weekend, it seemed appropriate to drop in on the third place game between Uruguay and Germany. And yes, if you hadn’t already guessed, the “football” of the headline is the world’s game, not the head-bashing American brand.

Action is underway and I’m already running a little behind, so I’ll pepper in some tid bits as I update with game highlights.
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Are you ready for some football? Week umpteenth, Broncos at Falcons

I’m about a half-hour late to the game here because I was playing Spider Solitaire on my computer and on the verge of winning for about 45 minuted before I finally did. My sporadic obsession with Solitaire, which goes back to way before it became a computer-assisted time-suck, will be getting its own post soon. But now we go back to our regularly scheduled programming, already in progress: Broncos leading 7-3 nearing the end of the first quarter.

11:30 a.m. – I used to live near Atlanta, about an hour north of the city, in the hamlet of Rome, called that because supposedly it had seven hills just like the original in Italy. I never counted them, just like I never got into the Falcons. The only memory I have of my time in Rome that involves the Falcons was from middle school: These two girls in my class, Kim and Angela, apparently went to a Falcons-49ers game once and later told everyone that they kept their eyes on Joe Montana’s behind the whole time.

11:35 – Last week, the Broncos did marginally better than they had been doing, defeating the Cleveland Browns, who were being led for the first time by Brady Quinn. Today, they face another young, pretty boy quarterback/former Big Man on Catholic Campus in Matt Ryan of Boston College. Ryan, of course, is the “new face” of the Atlanta franchise after the dogfighting fiasco that landed previous quarterback Michael Vick in prison. Vick certainly made his bed, and I don’t feel sympathy for him. Still, part of me does feel like he was made an example of—a nobody in his situation doesn’t get as much press and, as a result, doesn’t get as many years behind bars. Oh, well.

But to what’s actually happening in the game . . .

11:46 – Ryan seems to be decent, but the Falcons aren’t much of a team yet, which means they are actually a threat to beat the Broncos, who tend to underperform against average teams. He’s led a couple of drives, but no TDs so far. Former Bronco Jason Elam is the Falcons’ new kicker and has hit his old team up for 2 field goals. 7-6 Broncos.

11:48 – On the ensuing kick-off, Bronco rookie extraordinaire Eddie Royal has a nice little return to the Falcons 40 yard line.

11:50 – Nothing doing for the Broncos, even with such good field position. They go for the field goal, but kicker Matt Prater—like Elam, playing against his old team—missed a longish one.

11:59 – The Falcons seem to have figured out the Denver defense, which usually doesn’t take much trying. A four-minute drive ends in a 9-yard touchdown run for the Falcons. The D-line might as well have taken that snap off, considering how easily the running back walked into the end zone. And even as I was typing all of that, the offense 3 and outs. Ho hum. 13-7 Falcons.

12:16 – After controlling the clock for a while with what seemed like a long promising drive, the Falcons punt. Less than a minute to go in the half, though, so we’ll see if the Broncos can get some quick points on offense.

12:23 – Not only do the Broncos not do anything on offense, they don’t even manage to run out the clock, so the Atlanta gets 10 seconds to try to do something. Except they don’t. Ryan takes a knee, and we go to halftime.

Halftime thoughts: The game is on CBS, the land of the police procedural. I can’t think of a single show I’ve ever watched on this network. I’m sure there has been at least one, but I can’t think of any right now. I’m just not a cop show person, at least not the rote, one crazy murderer per week kind. Funny thing, though, Criminal Minds and CSI are exactly where people who can’t seem to get work elsewhere end up. Julia Ormond as guest star? Didn’t she used to be in good movies?

More halftime thoughts: Why does it take six people to call the halftime highlights? I like The Blitz on ESPN because it’s just Chris Berman and Tom Jackson. One runs the show, the other offers expertise. Why does every retiring NFL coach or player get an offer to be a studio commentator? Most of them are terrible.

Final halftime thoughts: I’ve also been following college football this year. The UNC Tar Heels have been having a decent run this year, but yesterday they lost to Maryland and though they will probably be bowl-game bound, their BCS hopes are no more. I guess it’s appropriate that it happened on the first day of the basketball team’s reagular season. Now, everyone can turn their attention to the team we’re all more interested in anyway.

12:45 – Touchdown Broncos! They sustain a nice long drive, and just when it seemed like they couldn’t close at the goal line, Cutler tosses the ball to Peyton Hillis behind him who manages to run it in by running around the linemen, rather than through them. Extra point is good! 14-13 Broncos.

Random sidenote: I like how Cutler wears his cap backward when he’s not on the field (and it’s not cold enough for a tobogan). Elway would never do that.

12:58 – Interception! Falcons are working the ball upfield until Ryan drops back about 20 yards them heaves it up, I guess thinking he didn’t want the massive loss if he got sacked. Dre Bly picks it off at about the Broncos 40 yard line. Hubby liked that play.

1:01 – Cutler passes it to Marshall on his left. Marshall then proceeds to run across the field to the right sideline—but he does manage to get a first down in the process. Hubby does not like it when Marshall does this. Most of the time Marshall ends up losing ground, but he seems to get away with it often enough that he keeps trying it.

1:03 – Pass interference call. This is against the Falcons though, so the call doesn’t give me a headache, like usual. First and goal for the Broncos.

1:08 – Field goal! Broncos can’t run it in, so Prater kicks it in for three. 17-13 Broncos.

1:20 – Commentators point out that the Broncos defense is actually doing well against the Falcons’ run game today, having given up only 85 yards on the ground when their season average is 180. I wonder why, if this is true, the Broncos are only winning by 4, and then Ryan passes for another first down and I have my answer. Also, the game isn’t over yet.

1:23 – And, wouldn’t you know, I was totally right. Falcons running back Michael Turner runs for 28 yards and a touchdown. I guess that means the Broncos have now given up 113 yards on the run. Also, the game isn’t over yet. 20-17 Falcons.

1:28 – After two fruitless plays, Cutler throws deep to Brandon Marshall for 57 yards. I wasn’t expecting a big play like that, but it seems to have woken up the Broncos a bit. They get a few more first downs, but one is called back for a penalty. Curses!

1:31- On 2nd and 12, Hillis makes another amazing play. He catches the ball again right at the sideline and tiptoes—literaly—his way to a first down before gravity finally pulls him out of bounds. That was awesome. Another 1st and goal. Can they break through this time. Field goal would only tie.

1:34 – Touchdown Broncos! Cutler avoids pressure and throws it in to Daniel Graham, who catches it on his knees. 24-20 Broncos.

With the extra point the Falcons need a touchdown, not a field goal to win it. They have five minutes and three timeouts, which is an eternity in this game. Hubby is not optimistic about the Bronco defense’s chances. If the Falcons do score, will they leave enough time for the Broncos to try to counter?

1:41 – Twice the Broncos almost intercept Matt Ryan. Twice Ryan answers with passes for first downs. The last almost interception was “the game,” Hubby says. Isn’t it frustrating how, after a good defensive play, the other team gets a first down anyway. Third downs are the Bronco defense’s Achilles heel.

1:47 – On 3rd and very long, Ryan heaves it to his receiver in the end zone. The Broncos defender, already beat, loses his balance and falls, but lucky for him, the Falcon receiver drops the ball and what would have been a touch down. Fourth and long now. No choice for the Falcons but to go for it. This is not when the Broncos usually shine.

1:50 – IN-COM-PLETE! Falcons out on downs. Less than a minute to go, but the Falcons have two timeouts left, so no taking a knee quite yet.

Broncos get close to a first down, which would ice the game, so the powers that be review.

Commentators point out that Spencer Larsen played both ways for the Broncos. That’s pretty insane, but if the Texas State Fightin’ Armadillos can do it, anyone can do it.

1:56 – Broncos short of the first down, but Tatum Bell gets it on the next play and game over.

Final thoughts: None, but for shits and giggles, here’s a clip of the UNC Tar Heels against the Penn Quakers on Saturday, displaying all they are known for. A big lead, fastbreak points and spotty defense. Go Heels!

Are you ready for some football? Week I’ve lost count: Dolphins at Broncos

Well, after suffering what may generously be called a thrashing at the hands of the New England Patriots, the Broncos had a bye-week to regroup and completely fall off my radar. Having immersed myself in election coverage—Is it over yet?—I have had little time or inclination to think about football. Still, after this Election Day, the Broncos and not the question of which candidate will win Colorado will be at the forefront of everyone’s minds, so I better get with the program.

2 p.m. – We can hear the fly-over at (Invesco Field at) Mile High from our apartment. The windows are open because even though it’s November, the temperature is an uncommonly balmy 74.

Now, thanks to a San Diego team not nearly good as advertised, the Broncos are still atop their division. They say it’s better to be lucky than good, and the Broncos have definitely been more of the former than the latter. In theory, the Dolphins are not particularly good and present a good chance for the Broncos to regroup and bounce back. Then again, the Chiefs were practically a guaranteed win and look what happened there.

2:06 – And they’re off!

Nothing much doing in the first two carries.

2:07 – 1st down, carry a loss of 1 yard. 2nd down, carry for no gain. 3rd down, interception. So it’s going to be that kind of game, is it? I may just find myself watching old episodes of One Tree Hill online.

2:10 – Dolphins score. Quick field goal for Miami after the Broncos turnover. Incidentally, my little brother lives in Miami. I would call him to trash-talk or something, but I don’t know how into the Dolphins he is. Plus, I’d rather save my taunting for college basketball season. Go Heels! Beat the Hurricanes! Anyway, 3-0 Dolphins.

2:29 – Dolphins field goal. After another 3 and out for the Broncos, the Dolphins set out on a pretty long (as in time-consuming) drive, but they come away only with 3 points. The Broncos defense is among the worst in the NFL in pretty much every statistical category save this: They have yet to give up a first quarter touchdown. Or so the commentators tell us. 6-0 Dolphins.

2:33 – Well, there went that stat. Although, does it could if the touchdown was scored against the offense and not the defense? Cutler, who seems to be playing increasingly erratically and recklessly during the recent Broncos slide, threw an interception (his second of the game) that the Dolphins ran back for a touchdown. Ouch. 13-0 Dolphins.

2:37 – But WAIT! Eddie Royal returns the ensuing kick off to the 10 yard line! A great pick-me-up for the Broncos, and much needed, but I wish he had made it all the way in for a touchdown. Cutler needs a little more time on the sideline to shake off that last interception.

2:38 – Touchdown Broncos! Cutler (finally) finds a guy in his own jersey. Royal does it again with the catch. Will this be a game? 13-7 Dolphins.

2:46 – Another 3 and out for the Broncos, after the defense actually gets a stop. No rushing game for the Broncos today, it seems. Only 3 rushing yards so far. Ugh.

3:02 – A lot of back and forth going on. Broncos seems to be bucking up (get it!) on defense and have actually gotten a couple of sacks. The Dolphins pull out the “Wildcat” offense, which the hubby explains is when the center snaps the ball directly to the running back, but to no avail. Broncos have the ball deep in their own territory, but fullback Hillis takes it to the 40s.

Penalty against Cutler. Apparently, one can’t throw the ball away while still in the “pocket” — the area, loosely defined, between the outside tackles (thanks, again, hubby). A couple of plays later, another punt. Ho hum.

One of these days I’d like to get the NFL rule book. It would probably make for great bathroom reading.

3:10 – Greg Gumble and partner remind viewers to go out and vote.

3:13 – I like how when there is a false start or offside call each line starts to point to the other over which moved first. Makes it look like a Pop Warner game.

3:21 – Dolphins fumble! For the moment, anyway. Play is under review. The replay, or so the commentators would have us believe, suggests the Dolphin with the ball was down. There is less than a minute to go, and the Dolphins are in the red zone, so this would be a big break for the Broncos if they get the call.

Boooooooo! Runner down by contact, the head zebra says. Ball is on 7 yard line.

3:25 – Clock down to 12 seconds. It would be really nice if the Broncos could get a stop here, since they are not going to get another chance to score before the half. Dolphins QB Chad Pennington throws, but it’s incomplete. They review this play too, but no dice. The receiver got only one foot in bounds before falling out. In college you only need one foot, but in the NFL both need to touch inside. I wonder if rookie receivers have a hard time adjusting to this rule. I guess you could say it’s the difference between the NBA 3-point line and the college one, which is a good deal shorter.

Another incompletion. Dolphins will end the half with a kick. It’s good: 16-7.

3:29 – Halftime! Broncos aren’t completely out of this one. Defense is not playing as horribly as last game, but the offense isn’t getting much going. The only score so far is from a short pass after that long return by Royal. Cutler hasn’t been able to move the offense that close to the end zone since. He needs something.

3:42 – We’re back. Well, we were back a few minutes ago, but nothing doing. The Dolphins start with the ball. The Broncos have it now, but are pinned to their own end zone.

Peyton Hillis makes another good play, hurdling a defender for a first down. Hubby informs me that he likes Hillis.

Eddie Royal gets poked in the eye, so we go to commercial. A really stupid one from Burger King, which is run by a fellow Davidson grad so maybe I should lay off. Or maybe he could hire me! Are you there, CEO, it’s me the unemployed.

3:53 – Another first down for Hillis!

3:54 – Long pass by Cutler! His first big play so far this game. Is it coming together?

4 p.m. – Not quite. The Broncos do manage to move the ball down the field with some success but must settle for a field goal. It’s something. 16-10 Dolphins.

4:11 – Royal having a good game, and the commentators are eating it up. He caught a long pass for a first down. Every time the Broncos have a great passing play, they seem to follow it up with a futile running play. Running offense: 5 yards. Sheesh.

4:14 – Broncos go for another field goal and miss. Offense is still not firing on all cylinders.

4:15 – INTERCEPTION!!! The Broncos’ Carl Payman, having just been schooled on a play (and maybe hearing the commentators talking about how he is no Champ Bailey) makes a diving catch after Pennington overthrows it. “A heck of a play.” Incidentally, the guy the ball was meant for was Ted Ginn Jr., the former Ohio State player, whom I remember for scoring on the first play of the BSC National Championship a few years ago and then getting hurt in the ensuing celebration.

4:21 – Broncos TOUCHDOWN! Except not. Because the referees call offensive pass interference. I FRACKING HATE THIS PENALTY. I’m sorry. Yes, I’m a homer who is upset that her team isn’t leading the game right now, but in all honesty this is the most incomprehensible, most inconsistently called penalty in football. In every game I have watched (and I know they haven’t been many), any time interference is called I don’t understand why—for or against the Broncos or any other team. Seriously, this is a contact sport, why players are not allowed to contact each other before the ball is caught—or, wait, is it before the ball is on its way to the receiver?—is beyond me. Well, except “incidental contact.” But what is incidental contact? Ugh.

Cutler follows that up with his third interception. Awesome.

4:29 – Another field goal pushes the Miami lead to 9. If I were in charge of the remote, this is the point I would turn off the game.

4:33 – Hillis makes another catch.

4:30ish – The Dolphins are called for pass interference in another play that might have resulted in a touchdown for the Broncos. I still don’t get it, and the hubby explains it to me very calmly and slowly, using the slow motion on the Tivo. I love the hubby. Interference is not unlike the +1 call in basketball, which can be frustrating in how some players are fouled basically every time they shoot and others, clawing through three defenders, are not. I guess football wouldn’t be a good sport if there was no reason to yell at the television.

4:40ish – Anyway, Broncos eventually do get the touchdown but are still down 2. Can the defense step up and actually come up with a stop here?

4:50 – Dolphins have the ball at midfield. Fourth and short and going for it. “This isn’t the steel curtain they are going against.” So sad but so true. It’s close. Will they bring out the chains again? Yes. It’s a first down.

4:55 – Dolphins Touchdown. Sigh. The Broncos defense just can’t complete a sequence. They make a couple of good defensive plays in a row, but can’t seem to keep it up on third downs. Even with the Dolphins back 15 yards from the line of scrimmage, they find a way to give up a first down.

Three minutes to go. Two scores (and some defense) needed. Not looking good. 26-17 Dolphins.

5:08 – The Broncos try to get back into it, but nothing doing. Dolphins get the ball back with a minute left, and it’s all just a formality at this point.

Final thoughts: Broncos need a swift kick in the butt. They started strong but haven’t been playing well for a while. Too many injuries and penalties. Offense that isn’t gelling and defense that is too much like gel (as in you can very easily run your fingers through it). On the upside. That was 3 hours that the TV wasn’t on MSNBC or CNN. Don’t forget to VOTE!

Are you ready for some football? Week 7: Broncos at Patriots

6:42 p.m. – For preamble, see my Monday Night Football preview. I’m blogging from behind here since I left work a bit late. Game is underway . . .

Incidentally, the song “Are you ready for some football?” is specifically a MNF song. The title of my football live-blogs “Are you ready for some football?” applies to all games.

6:47 – How we roll on Mondays: The “magic” line that shows us TV viewers where the line of scrimmage has been marked is orange instead of blue, as is the case on CBS and Fox on Sundays. Also, the trio of Mike Tirico, Ron “Jaws” Jawaorski and Tony Kornheiser are taking us through the action. Kornheiser, whom I love on PTI, for some reason combs the six or seven hairs he still has above his left ear over the bald pate that is his noggin’ for the world’s most futile comb-over known to man. Why, Tony? You’re not fooling anybody. You don’t even bother to do this for PTI, so why here? Sigh.

6:51 – Broncos had a good drive going but fumble, and New England recovers. Let’s see what the Broncos defense has to offer this week.

6:56 – Field goal Patriots. The Broncos minimize the damage, I suppose, after a turnover. Thirty-one yarder makes it 3-0.

Jaws says, “You must take care of the football,” after the Broncos fumble. I love this phrase. I always picture a player, in full uniform, cradling the ball like a baby and singing it a lullaby. Everything is OK, ball. I’m here to take care of you!

7:05 – Fumble! Again! Patriots recover after kicking the ball about 30 yards downfield while trying to pick it up. A late hit against the Broncos puts the Pats in field goal range already.

“You could toast some marshmallows on his forehead,” Kornheiser offers, refering to an angry Broncos coach Mike Shanahan. He’s probably right, although Shanahan’s face is never not beet red.

7:19 – Took a break for dinner, though little happened in the interim. Patriots scored another field goal off the second turnover. Denver Punts. Patriots QB Matt Cassel gets sacked a couple of times. Three for the game, 22 on year so far compared with Brady’s 21 total for the season last year. Don’t fret, Matt. You’re much cuter than Tom, even if he’s the one dating a supermodel.

On a related note, a friend from Massachussetts somehow met or was acquainted with Brady’s backup-era girlfriend. I wonder if Cassel, now that he’s a starter, has already traded up.

7:33 – Touchdown Patriots! New England gets past the defense pretty easily. Hubby is telling our cats the Broncos suck, which they certainly do right now. We knew the defense was bad, but in the first few games the offense was good enough to overcome that. It isn’t doing much of anything now. We’re told Cutler injured a finger on the first snap, but that doesn’t seem to be the difference right now. Everybody’s just sort of flat. 12-0 Patriots.

7:45 – Tirico: “Cutler throws as pretty a ball as any in the league.”

Jay gives good spiral, but unfortch, he throws an interception and gets hit hard in the process.

7:50 – Kornheiser’s man-crush on Tom Brady is in full-effect. He can’t stop talking about the guy.

Defensive great for the Broncos Champ Bailey is out and hurt. Nothing is looking good. Also, Broncos are killing themselves on penalties. After pushing Cassel back into his own endzone, a Bronco grabs his face mask and turns a 3rd and long into 1st and 10. Sigh.

7:58 – Touchdown Patriots. This is getting ugly. 20-0 Patriots. Backup QB Patrick Ramsey is in for the Broncos. Double sigh.

8:03 – Ramsey gets hit as he’s throwing and the Patriots recover the ball. First half is almost over. Turning the channel over to Heroes for the moment. Hiro didn’t really stab Ando! It was a fake sword and fake blood! The world makes sense again.

8:25 – Back to the game. Cutler is back in. Sadly, over in Heroes land, it looks like David Anders is out.

8:33 – Touchdown Patriots. Randy Moss jumps into the crowd, among whom is what looks like a Vikings fan. Face painted purple, Viking horns, yellow braids — the works. Is he lost? The Broncos are. We’re back to Heroes. The latest baddie is a marionette maker/collector who can control people’s movements. Creepy.

8:41 – Claire is annoying (and stupid).

8:45 – Puppet man is playing a perverse form of Russian roulette, forcing Claire to shoot either her biological mom and her adoptive mom. All are expendable. Cruel? Yes. But there are so many characters on this show. Do we need this may blondes?

8:50 – Promo for Knight Rider. I can’t believe they brought this show back. I can’t believe it has beaten Pushing Daisies in the ratings. There is no justice in TV Land. Oh, Adoptive Mama shots Claire, knowing she will heal herself, which breaks her from the spell of puppet man, and Claire proceeds to knock him out. Well, done ladies.

Three seasons in, I’m still in awe of Zachary Quinto’s eyebrows.

8:58 – I liked emo Mohinder of past seasons much better than the current The Fly Mohinder. I thought his scales were going to take over his whole body after they first revealed them when he injected himself with abilities, but it looks like they don’t want to make him look too gross. I can appreciate that, but are we supposed to think that his asshat-ness is a reaction to the abilities, too, or just the natural evolution of a supporting character angling for more screen time?

9:06 – Heroes is over, so back to the slaughter. Hey, the Broncos just scored! 34-7 Patriots. Here comes the comeback! But seriously, folks, the Broncos need to be better than this. A newbie football fan such as myself is by definition a fair-weather fan. I may lose interest if they suck. On second thought, though, Hubby will continue watching, which means I’ll have to sit here watching them anyway.

9:22 – The press box trio is bored and talking up Cutler’s diabetes. According to them, it affected his personality, which is “back” now that he is getting treatment. These guys are lame. Kornheiser is much more fun on PTI, and his love for the Patriots much less annoying when Wilbon is there to cut him down to size.

9:26 – There are about 6 football minutes left, but I’m bored and signing off. Dont hate me, Broncos, but you’re not going to win this game and it’s going to be bedtime soon and I still have to clean the kitchen!

Are you ready for some football? Week 4: Broncos at Chiefs

They say it’s better to be lucky than good, and certainly, the Broncos have benefited from a whole lot of luck this young season. The team is 3-0, thanks to a prolific offense, a whistle-happy (yet remorseful) referee and a shanked field-goal by the Saints’ kicker. I was at work for that last game, and upon the kicker’s miss, one of my co-workers said she always feels bad when kickers miss the potential game-winner. I said I never feel bad for men who are much, much richer than me. That made her feel better. Happy to help!

Anyway, the Broncos are suddenly rising quickly on many sport sites’ power rankings, and QB Jay Cutler is leading the pack in what is being lauded as the new generation of great quarterbacks (also including Tony Romo, Philip Rivers and Eli Manning).

The Chiefs are, in a word, bad. They haven’t won a game yet, which means that if this were college football, we’d be in for a guaranteed upset. Think about it: A rivalry match-up between an unranked team and a current darling of the BCS? There’s no way Kansas City doesn’t win that game. I mean, three games into the season, No. 1 USC was declared a shoo-in for the title game, only to lose to unranked Oregon State in their Pac-10 opener Thursday night. That opened the way for No. 4 Florida, who promptly lost to unranked Ole Miss at home Saturday afternoon. That, in turn, opened the way for the Gators’ SEC rival No. 3 Georgia, who then lost to No. 8 Alabama on Saturday night. Look for Alabama to go up in the rankings today — and lose next week. College football makes no sense.

Anyway, the Broncos are pros, which means they have a fighting chance.

11:02 a.m. – Broncos kicking off. “The crowd is alive,” per announcer Greg Gumble.

11:03 – Holding penalty against the Chiefs in the opening play.

11:05 – Gumble makes a comment about a change in the Broncos’ defense and the Chiefs promptly tear through it to get to their own 20. Per the hubby, Denver coach Mike Shanahan is not good at drafting defensive linemen.

11:09 – The Chiefs’ key running back is Larry Johnson, which led to (immature) laughs on our part about the inappropriate headline potential: Bronco defense to focus on Chiefs’ Johnson.

11:12 – Chiefs score. A field goal gives the Chiefs their first lead in a game since last December. Ouch! 3-0 Chiefs.

11:16 – Cutler passes to rookie Eddie Royal, who catches it, then fumbles. Oops! Chiefs recover. Maybe the Chiefs were inspired by all the college upsets yesterday.

11:22 – Chiefs score! Another field goal. Kansas City seems to be having their way with the Denver defense until they get inside the 10 yard line. Hey, Broncos, you don’t have to wait until they’re in the red zone to step it up. 6-0 Chiefs.

11:27 – Five Brandons in tonight’s game, according to the announcers. By contrast, Rockies September call-up Dexter Fowler is the first player named Dexter in the history of Major League Baseball, which, considering how old the game is, seems kind of hard to believe.

11:30 – Cutler sacked! Broncos punt. Commercial: It’s Brady Quinn! I’d completely forgotten about him. I wonder what he thinks about Notre Dame’s bowl chances this year.

11:42 – Chiefs take it down the field again, only to have to settle for another field goal, only to miss! This is how bad the Chiefs are: They should be up 21-0, but one successful drive from the Broncos and they’d be losing. They are dominating the game but have little to show for it. You’d think the Broncos would take advantage of this and get something going.

11:46 – Finally! Facing 3rd and 19, the Broncos make a big play and break through for what I think is only their second 1st down of the game.

11:50 – Touchdown Broncos! Cutler pass complete to Brandon Marshall. Announcer: “Didn’t that look like a man playing with boys!” He’s referring to Marshall’s height, which allows Cutler to throw the football high. Still, kind of harsh. 7-6 Broncos.

11:52 – Oh, Lord. First Viagra commercial. The word “viva” takes exception to the phrase “viva Viagra.” So do I.

12:05 p.m. – Oops, again! Chiefs punt to the 5, Broncos advancing until Marshall fumbles the ball, Chiefs recover and take it back inside the 5 yard line. Looks like Broncos will challenge.

12:10 – Replay looks like it was a fumble. Refs concur. Chiefs take over. 1st and goal.

12:12 – Touchdown Chiefs. Johnson gets in on his second try. Larry Johnson was on the hubby’s fantasy team a few years ago — I think he actually did pretty well that year. Anyway, 10 points off turnovers for the Chiefs. 13-7 Chiefs.

The crowd is doing the tomahawk chop, which I always associate with the Braves.

12:21 – Broncos miss a field goal. Half-time approaching.

Shot of Cutler on the sidelines dropping a few F-bombs. He wanted an interference call on his last pass into the endzone. I have to say pass interference is the single most incomprehelsible call in the game of football to me. I just don’t get it — the contact players make when the call is made looks no different to me than the contact they make when it’s not called. And don’t get me started on offensive pass interference. So, Jay, I share your frustration, if not your colorful vocabulary.

12:30 – Broncos trying to score with less than a minute to go. Cutler spikes the ball to stop the clock. Apparently, this is ruled as an incomplete pass and does count against the quarterback’s stats. These things are much easier to understand when the hubby is around to explain them.

12:33 – Broncos field goal! Career-best 56 yarder for Matt Prater. The guy who catches the ball and sets it up for the kicker (“the holder,” hubby clarifies) is wearing his wedding ring. That’s sweet. 13-10 Chiefs.

Half-time! Broncos obviously not where they were expecting to be, but again it shouldn’t surprise when a really bad team does well against a good one, particularly in a rivalry game. They are lucky not to be down by more than a field goal but need to hold on to the football better in the second half. Fumbles tend not to help.

12:53 – Broncos field goal! Denver takes their first possession of the second half into Chiefs territorry and take a field goal to tie the game at 13.

1:00 – Into the third hour here with most of the second half to go. God, these games are long. I do like the early start, though. When it’s over, I’ll still have some of the afternoon to do something else.

1:07 – Chiefs take the lead back with another field goal. It feels like this game is being played in the middle 50 yards of the field. Both teams having a hard time doing much once they get within field goal range. Touch downs are allowed, people. 16-13 Chiefs.

Surfing the net: Scarlett Johansson got married, and “Eagle Eye,” starring Shia Labeouf, tops the box office. I like Shia, but I wish his movies didn’t look so silly.

1:14 – Nirvana playing over the stadium loud speaker. “Weeell, whatever, nevermind.”

1:16 – Cutler throws an interception, the Chiefs’ first of the season. Third turnover for the Broncos. And just like that, the Chiefs fumble! Champ Bailey basically lifts Johnson up in the air and turns him upside down. Johnson drops the ball on the way down. Chiefs challenge.

Loudspeaker: “A little less talk and a lot more action.” An eclectic mix, to be sure.

1:19 – Broncos get to keep the ball. Huge break, guys, now do something with it.

1:21 – By “something,” I meant score a touchdown, not throw another interception, which is what Cutler does. I suspect his stock with the pundits will drop a bit after this week, especially if the Broncos don’t come back here. Incidentally, when the interception happened, the hubby and I blurted out the same expletive at the same time. What is it that people say about turning into your spouse after many years of marriage? Well, our first anniversary is not for another couple of weeks.

1:25 – Nothing comes of the turnover. “The Broncos sure are lucky the Chiefs suck,” hubby says.

1:39 – Touchdown Chiefs! Kansas finds the endzone to pad their lead. Receiver Tony Gonzalez hits the ground hard and takes a few minutes getting up but seems to be OK. Most of the 4th quarter left, so the Broncos have time, I suppose, but I’m thinking this one is a lost cause. Chiefs are too fired up, and the Broncos can’t be confident in their play on either side of the ball. 23-13 Chiefs.

1:57 – Broncos field goal! (Actually, that happened a few minutes, ago — I started reading a very interesting interview of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart on Entertainment Weekly online and have sort of lost interest in the game.) They are within a touchdown, but the Chiefs return the kick off to the 50. Special teams is another area that needs work, Shanahan. 23-16 Chiefs.

Loudspeaker now featuring Tom Petty.

2:00 – Player down for the Broncos. Didn’t see the hit, but he’s been down for a while, and it looks like trainers are looking at his neck — never good. Football players make a lot of money, maybe too much, but they do face potentially debilitating, life-changing injuries every time they go out.

2:03 – Player is carted off, helmet still on. He waves to the crowd, which is clapping for him. Hope he’s OK.

2:09 – Chiefs field goal. There’s five minutes to go. Announcers point out that Shanahan’s record at Arrowhead Stadium is 3-10. I don’t know how many people picked the Chiefs today, but looking at all the intangibles, I don’t know how anyone would have gone with the Broncos. 26 -16 Chiefs.

2:16 – Broncos field goal. Sigh. Cutler cuts through the Chiefs’ defense, but AGAIN can’t finish the drive with a touchdown. Since the Broncos need to score twice, Shanahan goes for 3, but I was hoping for a gutsy call here. Oh well. 26-19 Chiefs.

2:17 – On-side kick, Broncos ALMOST get it back. In and out of the hands of the player — he didn’t catch the ball, I didn’t catch his number. Chiefs ball.

2:24 – Touchdown Chiefs! Johnson effectively ends the game with touchdown after running through both lines. The Chiefs had lost their previous 12 games. I hadn’t realized they were that bad. The announcer mentions the college football principle I referenced at the top of the blog: “They are on scholarship too.” Always take bad college teams against ranked opponents for whom a win will mean everything — the good team will look past the bad one and stumble. That’s not what happened here, of course, since NFL championships aren’t determined by rankings. Still, defense is a huge hole that the Broncos need to fix.

2:30 – Game officially over.

Final thoughts: The Broncos’ best defense is keeping the offense on the field, but the offense had an off-day and the defense could do little to hold the Chiefs. The final score was 33-19 Chiefs, but a better team who wouldn’t have had to settle for so many field goals would have scored 50 plus points. On the up side, it’s only 2:30! I have all day! This is like when mom and I would make the effort to get up early for 9:30 a.m. mass and got out of church by 11 a.m. instead of 2 p.m.

The hubby turns the channel to the Rockies’ final, meaningless game. Ubaldo Jimenez pitching in the 2nd. No hitter intact!

Are you ready for some presidential debating?

Well, John McCain is comin’ down to Dixie after all. The folks at Ole Miss won’t lose the millions they sunk into hosting this debate, in part to prove that even a school with the nickname “Rebels” has moved past its racist history and would welcome a black candidate for president.

I’m here with the hubby, beer at the ready (and harder stuff too, if necessary). Ostensibly, the topic is foreign affairs, but surely moderator Jim Lehrer will sneak in a few questions on the economy and, at the very least, the effect of the cost of the war.

We’ll be joined by our friend Joe, a bona-fide Johns Hopkins-trained political reporter. Any and all intelligent insights likely will come from him.

Fifteen minutes to go. . . .

6:57 p.m. – CNN reporting the Sen. Ted Kennedy had a mild seizure today and was taken to the hospital. He’s still watching the debate, though. Uncle Teddy is hard-core.

7:01 – And we’re off! Lehrer welcomes us and lays out the rules.

Barack starts it off and gets going on the economy. Lehrer’s opens with talk about the link between peace and solvency, per Eisenhower. I don’t know how much we’ll talk about the “peace” side of that equation tonight.

7:39 – Lehrer changes the subject to Iraq.

7:10 – Fighting over “responsibility” for the economic crisis.

7:12 – Lehrer tells Obama to talk to McCain directly and is “determined to get you all to talk to each other!” Hee!

7:18 – Earmarks, earmarks, earmarks!

7:25 – Just noticed! They both have red ties on. Is it because Mississippi is a red state?

7:29 – McCain opposes (corn-based) ethanol subsidies. From the hubby: Goodbye, Iowa!

7:35 – Lehrer is pressing both on what spending they would cut. And pressing and pressing. It’s a hypothetical, Jim, they aren’t going to answer.

7:46 – Surge, surge, surge!

I would like a moratorium of references to the troops. I think we can all agree that we all appreciate and support the troops.

7:48 – I just noticed that McCain is a lefty. So is Obama. So is my sister. And, so says Joe, the White House has a long history of lefties in the Oval Office — about half our presidents.

7:59 – McCain mentions a bracelet from a fallen soldier’s mother. Obama’s got one too. Seriously, please stop trying to fight over who supports the troops more.

8:03 – New lead question: Iran. I raaaaaaaan. I ran so far away.

8:11 – Is this thing going to go with no commercials!?! Tough when you’re drinking beer — bladder buster debate!

8:12 – By the way, the Iranian president came to New York. I guess there’s no preconditions for going to the Big Apple.

8:16 – Russia!

8:24 – Joe reports: 30 messages in his e-mail inbox from both campaigns spinning tonight’s debate. At least you can’t say they don’t want it.

8:26 – Final lead question: What is the probability of another 9/11? I have to say, I don’t like this question. If both spoke honestly, they would say, “I don’t know.”

8:31 – “Point I want to make” and “let’s be clear about this” got a whole lot of use tonight by both candidates.

8:37 – It’s over. McCain gets the last word. I won’t say who won, because nobody “wins” these things. McCain people will say he won, and Obama people will say Obama won. Neither one embarrassed himself, although I would suggest to McCain that he not say that General Petreus and Osama bin Laden have anything in common in the future. Not sure what that was about.

Well, we’ll see what those mythical beings “the undecideds” say.

Update: According to a CBS poll of undecideds:

40% of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Barack Obama was the winner. 22% thought John McCain won. 38% saw it as a draw.

I would agree that Obama did what he needed to do, which was to show that he is knowledgeable about foreign policy and that he can hold his own with regard to the “commander in chief test,” his ostensible weakness. McCain did well too, but he didn’t “win” decisively enough to suggest Obama is at a disadvantage. A draw, in this case, helps Obama more than it does McCain, who isn’t helped at all by the fact that his VP is certainly not commander in chief material.

Well, on to Election Day! Only 39 days to go!

Live-blogging odds and ends

I missed Monday Night Football between the Chargers and the Jets (the Chargers won handily), so I guess that means I can’t miss any more games — one bye week per season, after all. The good news is that in my effort to forge myself into an NFL fan, I haven’t yet sunk to the level of rearranging my schedule for the sake of football-watching.

Still, another event this week, one of greater import, is just dying to be live-blogged: the first presidential debate, the start of the final stage of this interminable election cycle that feels as if it started before I was born.

I am a registered Independent who picked her pony in this race waaaaay back in February. It’s unlikely anything will change my mind at this point so I could just skip the whole thing for the sake of my blood pressure. Still, debates are such elaborate exercises in political theatrics, they are hard to ignore and even harder not to mock, especially if Anderson Cooper and Campbell Brown are involved.

This one, with a focus on foreign policy and national security, will be moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS, which means there might actually be some substantive, intelligent questions. The hubby and I will have alcohol on hand and will drink for every mention of “change” or “when I was a POW.”

By the end of the night, surely drunk, I’ll probably still be wishing they all went something like this . . .

Are you ready for some football? Week 2

After making it through the Chargers-Panthers game all by myself last week, I thought I might have some company this Sunday as I live-blog my first Broncos game. Sadly, though, the hubby had to go in to work, so it’s just me and the kitties again. We’ll see if any of us can make it through the game without a cat-nap or two. We’ll be watching the Chargers again, though I’ll still be rooting for them to lose. (They are anathema at our house, but mom reminded me this morning that the Chargers are actually my stepdad’s favorite team. They’ll face the Broncos again Dec. 28, so if we celebrate the holidays together, the rivalry might make for some awkward post-Christmas trash-talk.)

The Broncos handled the Raiders 41-14 last week, but according to some commentators a good college team could have done the same. San Diego is looking to bounce back after a surprising loss and certainly had an easy time beating the Broncos last season, so I guess they have the edge. Then again, the Broncos are at home and have revenge in mind.

Anyway, here we go . . .

2:15 p.m. – Crowd goes crazy for kick-off, and the Broncos take a knee in the end-zone. Ho hum.

2:22 – After a couple of quick 1st downs (or was it just one), the Broncos have to punt.

Eddie Royal, a rookie receiver for the Broncos, has a very headline-friendly name. I’ll be curious to see what copy-editors here come up with.

2:26 – Broncos corner back Champ Bailey strips the ball, he runs it back for a touchdown, but alas it was a “dead ball.” Broncos get the ball, though. Chargers challenge and — uh oh! — the replay equipment isn’t working, so the play on the field stands. Bronco ball. Sports bars in San Diego must be going crazy.

2:35 – Touchdown Broncos! On 2nd and goal, Michael Pittman leapfrogs the linemen into the end zone. The replay glitch looming large, but I guess that’s what it was like before all this high-falutin’ technology. 7-0 Broncos.

2:47 – IN-COM-PLETE! The crowd is enjoying taunting QB Philip Rivers, who has a history of trash-talking Bronco quarterback Jay Cutler, who has diabetes, a fact the announcers may repeat a time or twenty.

2:48 – Chargers field goal. After an impressive drive, the Chargers settle for 3. Not much happening on the ground for them, but Rivers was passing well. Honestly, I would pass all the time. I just don’t get running plays. I mean why would you intentionally run into a crowd of large men trying to take you down. This is the wall I always hit with football. 7-3 Broncos.

2:59 – Viagra commercial. Mute button gets some exercise.

3:03 – Touchdown Broncos! After a 34-yard pass to Brandon Marshall, the Broncos get an assist with a unnecessary roughness penalty against the Chargers, which puts them on the 2 yard line. Cutler connects on the 3rd down. How much are the Chargers missing Shawne Merriman? 14-3 Broncos.

3:10 – After a miscue on the kick-off, the Chargers have to start from their own 4 yard line. Three and out, which has the crowd going crazy. Broncos take it near the 50 after the punt.

I’m looking forward to going a Broncos game this year, although it will be harder to follow the action without that helpful first down yellow line you see on TV.

3:14 – Broncos score again! Another long pass to Marshall and another Charger penalty sets up another Broncos touchdown pass. Cutler fantasy owners are loving him today. Penalties are definitely hurting the Chargers. I would recommend to the referees that they not vacation in sunny San Diego any time soon. 21-3 Broncos.

3:18 – Chargers touchdown! They return the kick-off 103 yards for a score. Took the air out of the crowd a bit, but I do love watching kick-off returns. 21-10 Broncos.

3:30 – Broncos score! A 52-yard field goal (a career high for the new Broncos kicker) ends the drive for the Broncos. On the preceding series, the Broncos got out of a 2nd and very long (17 yards, I think) with a running play made better by a key block from Cutler. The announcers were all over it. 24-10 Broncos.

Meanwhile, Rockies are in extra innings next door. I keep hearing the crowd at Coors Field and thinking it’s the Broncos game.

3:34 – Tulo! Wins the game with a walk-off hit for the Rockies! Too bad they are out of it.

3:37 – Touchdown Chargers! LaDanian Tomlinson is out of the game for the moment with an injured toe (many shots of him with his shoes off), but Rivers and his receivers doing OK without him and are back to within a touchdown. Much being said about Rivers “challenging” Champ Bailey. High scoring game in any case. 24-17 Broncos.

3:51 – Touchdown Broncos! With two minutes left and only one timeout, the Broncos make it down the field and score with three seconds left. Receiver Brandon Marshall (who is playing in his first game after serving a one-game suspension) makes a great catch at the corner of the end zone. Chargers challenge, but play stands. 31-17 Broncos.

Halftime! Finally! – Seriously, this game is soooo long already. Thirty minutes of football lasts almost two hours. And we still have 30 more minutes to go. The cats have already checked out.

4:19 – Touchdown Chargers! They score on a pass that was almost bobbled by the receiver Chris Chambers. I’m surprised the Broncos didn’t challenge the catch. Oh well. 31-24.

I’d completely forgotten CSI was still on. Same with Survivor. I am not a watcher of CBS.

4:30 – Chargers field goal! After a short fruitless drive for the Broncos, the Chargers come right back with a long play that gives them a 1st and goal. They settle for a field goal, but are now within 4 points. Broncos need to look alive here. The momentum is clearly on the Chargers side now. You have to win both halves, guys!

4:30 – Chargers convert on 3rd and 8. There’s a shot of Cutler on the sideline saying, “Damn!” I hear ya, buddy.

4:50 – Yet another Chargers field goal. The Broncos defense steps up in the red zone, but can’t they try to get something done before the Chargers get to field goal range? Single point game. San Diego’s running game hasn’t done much. Tomlinson is back in but hasn’t been a factor. Rivers is getting all kinds of time to throw. 31-30 Broncos.

4:59 – Announcer Dick Enberg welcomes viewers from other games around the country. I guess they are over. This one is still 9 football minutes or 30-45 real minutes away from ending. Oy!

5:06 – Oopsies! Cutler throws an interception throwing away a big chance to pull away. Chargers get it back deep in their own territory, but they have five minutes and only need a field goal to go ahead.

5:09 – Chargers touchdown! Well, I thought they were going to eat clock with a long drive but really take no time and score on their second play. On the replay of Cutler’s interception, it’s clear he should have thrown it away. His receiver had two men on him and no room to make a play. Bad mistake. Chargers go for 2 for a touchdown lead and get it. 38-31 Chargers.

5:26 – Oopsies again! The ball slips out of Cutlers hand. (And victory from the Broncos’ fingers — yay, puns!) Actually, the Broncos catch a break. It should have been a fumble, but even though the Chargers picked it up, a whistle had blown. Broncos back 10 yards, but they still have the ball.

5:31 – TOUCHDOWN BRONCOS! After catching a huge break, the Broncos score to tie. But wait! They go for two! And get two! They also drained the clock, so the Chargers have 24 seconds to get to within field goal range. Can they do it? They have no time outs, but their passing game has been great. 39-38 Broncos.

5:39 – BRONCOS WIN! A crazy defensive set up (three Broncos on the D-line) leaves Rivers with no receivers, so he scrambles for the last 6 seconds and throws up a hail mary broken up by the Broncos. Unbelievable!

5:45 – Cutler had a great game, but one stupid play (the interception) and one very weird one (the fumble) almost cost him his best game. Still, a gutsy performance that silences, at least for the moment, Rivers’ taunting. The Broncos got lucky with that fumble call, but props to Coach Mike Shanahan for taking advantage and going for the win rather than the tie. The game had been way too long already. I might have to put a Cutler jersey on my Christmas list, thus making my fair-weather fan status official. Game ball goes to receiver Brandon Marshall who set a Broncos record with 18 catches.

Are you ready for some football?

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.