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Despite Absence Of LT, Chargers Upset Colts 28-24 to Go to AFC Championship Game

        Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy watches from the sidelines during the Colts’ 28-24 loss to the San Diego Chargers Sunday afternoon. 

The Indianapolis Colts’ quest for a repeat trip to the Super Bowl game in Glendale, AZ apparently wasn’t in the cards Sunday; despite the Chargers’ loss of running back LaDanian Tomlinson and quarterback Philip Rivers to knee injuries, their defense picked it up a notch and reserve QB Billy Volek would guide the Chargers on a drive which would prove to be the game-winner.  Volek’s 1-yard QB sneak would be the difference as San Diego upset Indianapolis 28-24 in what will be the final game at the RCA Dome and could also be the last game that Colts head coach Tony Dungy coaches for the team.

The first series by Indianapolis was what you’d expect from quarterback Peyton Manning, with short passes to wide receiver Reggie Wayne and running back Joseph Addai, capped by a 25- yard touchdown pass from Manning to tight end Dallas, making it 7-0 Indianapolis. A 14-yard TD pass from the Chargers’ Rivers to WR Vincent Jackson would knot the score at 7 at the 8:38 mark of the first half; the Colts would regain the lead on kicker Adam Vinatieri’s 47-yard field goal.

In the final seconds of the first half, Manning would throw an interception that appeared to be returned for a score by San Diego cornerback Warren Cromartie; however, a flag negated that opportunity as a holding call against the Chargers’ Eric Weddle wiped out the touchdown. Chargers head coach Norv Turner, as expected, was not pleased with the call as it seemed that Weddle made a simple push.  Indianapolis went into halftime holding a tenuous 10-7 lead.

San Diego’s Rivers found WR Chris Chambers for a 30-yard score, giving the Chargers a 14-10 lead to open the second half. But the Colts would come back with a Manning-to-Wayne 9-yard TD pass that was initially ruled out of bounds; Indianapolis would challenge the call and the call was reversed, giving Wayne the touchdown, giving the Colts a 17-14 lead. San Diego’s Rivers would come back with a TD pass of his own, a 56-yard toss-and-run to Darren Sproles, giving the Chargers a 21-17 lead. The score proved costly as Rivers injured his right knee on the play; he would be replaced by reserve QB Billy Volek.

Manning and Co. would rally back with a 55-yard TD pass from Manning to WR Anthony Gonzalez, giving the Colts a slim 24-21 edge with 10:07 left to go in the game; however, San Diego’s Volek would go on a 5 minute driver that would be capped by a Volek 1-yard QB sneak, giving what would be the winning advantage to the Chargers. Rivers, despite leaving in the third period, had a decent outing, going 14-of-19 for 264 yards with 3 touchdowns and an interception while the aforementioned Volek was 3-of-4 for 48 yards with a rushing TD.  Running back Michael Turner led a somewhat average Chargers running attack with 71 yards on 17 carries; Jackson led all Chargers receivers with 7 grabs for 93 yards and a TD, while Chambers caught 3 passes for 67 yards and a score; Sproles caught only one pass for 56 yards, but for a score.

Manning, despite the final outcome, had a very good game in his own right. He went 33-of-48 for 402 yards with 3 TD’s and 2 INT’s; but to be fair, both picks were tipped by Colts’ receivers. RB Joseph Addai had 110 yards of total offense – only 43 on the ground while catching 9 passes for 67 yards. Clark would lead all Indianapolis receivers with 6 receptions for 95 yards and a TD; Gonzalez would catch 4 passes for 79 and a score, while Wayne caught 7 balls for 76 yards and a TD.

While the Colts are eliminated from further postseason action, San Diego moves on to New England to face the 17-0 Patriots next weekend. The Chargers have some issues to address between now and then – how costly is the loss of Tomlinson and Rivers’ knee injury going to be for the team? The Colts have some issues of their own: will head coach Tony Dungy return for another season?  The rumors have it that he may retire after this season; but like last season, Dungy will talk it over with his wife then make a decision. But Colts team owner Jim Irsay has a sense of urgency in keeping Dungy aboard for next season and beyond. This postseason, as opposed to postseasons past will definitely bear watching as it may change the future of the Colts.

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3 Responses to “Despite Absence Of LT, Chargers Upset Colts 28-24 to Go to AFC Championship Game”

  1. Vizzle says:

    Unfortunate. As a Pats fan, I was REALLY looking forward to how the Pats played agsainst the Colts; Arguably more-so than the Super Bowl. Honestly though, why was Peyton practically crying. Also, did you notice he put his helmet back on to shake everyones hand? I get that its emotional, but he IS the NFL’s cry baby spokesman; It’s now undeniable 🙂

  2. Actually the crying you witnessed was from a very competitive player. You see the crying like this at alll levels of sports – amateur and pro. That doesn’t necessarily make Peyton a crybaby.

  3. Bill Williams says:

    From: Indy
    To: Chargers

    It’s only fitting this be a Valentine gift as my pussies obviously love your butts. Why else would they hand today’s game to you on a silver platter?
    And why else would they:
    – provide pretty boy Rivers with enough time to complete 6 completions on the SAME down.
    – completely disprove statistics for the NFL. Come on now. We’re the 2nd ranked pass defense in the NFL?…2nd your butt! Add an 8 to that to make us 28th…
    – refuse to catch important passes by letting them go through their hands.
    – taunt, hold, foul and interfere with your lovely boys catching passes
    – let a 2nd. string QB score a TD on (heard of Orange Crush?) ladies who are more commonly known as Poopie Squeezers.
    – time fumbles or interceptions perfectly to coincide with us inside the 5 yard line
    Yes, Chargers you go win in New England, and don’t forget who loves ya baby….THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS!

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