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Chargers Selling Their Own Wine Called Chargers Legacy Cabernet

That Steve Spurrier is a trend-setter, isn’t he?  Just a couple of weeks after the South Carolina coach announced he would be bottling and selling his own wine, the San Diego Chargers are doing the same.  According to the Chargers website, the team has partnered with Anthony Bell of Napa Valley’s Bell Wine Cellars to celebrate the team’s 50 year history with the release of Chargers Legacy Cabernet.

People love wine, and I have no problem with that.  There are people who drink it daily for its health benefits and can’t get enough of those antioxidants.  That being said, the Chargers’ brass has gone a little far in presenting their new wine as a football product.

“We think our fans will enjoy having a bottle of Chargers Legacy wine for any occasion as well as on game days,” said Chargers Executive Vice President – CEO A.G. Spanos.  “It’s a very versatile wine that we think maintains the integrity and character of our team.

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Chargers’ Defense Owns Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning is a 10-time Pro Bowl quarterback and three-time NFL MVP. One doesn’t accumulate such accolades without performing extremely well against opponents throughout a career. However, for whatever reason, Peyton Manning seems to struggle against the San Diego Chargers.

The Chargers beat the Colts 36-14 on Sunday night, bringing both teams’ record to 6-5 on the season. San Diego’s defense put on a show, intercepting Peyton Manning four times, twice for touchdowns. In fact, Manning is 4-5 in his career against the Chargers with 16 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. In terms of recent history, Peyton is 1-4 against the Chargers since 2007 with 10 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. There aren’t many teams that have success against Peyton, but San Diego is one of them.

Here is a look at Manning’s career numbers against the team his brother spurned in 2004:

    2010 reg. season L 36-14, Manning 285yds, 2/4
    2008 reg. season W 23-20, Manning 255yds, 2/1
    2008 playoffs L 23-17 (OT), Manning 310yds, 1/0
    2007 reg. season L 23-21, Manning 328yds 2/6
    2007 playoffs L 28-24, Manning 402yds 3/2
    2005 reg. season L 26-17, Manning 336yds 1/2
    2004 reg. season W 34-31 (OT), Manning 383yds 2/1
    1999 reg. season W 27-19, Manning 404yds, 2/1
    1998 reg. season W 17-12, Manning 137yds, 1/1

Shall we call it a case of Eli Karma? Works for me.

Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Patriots Beat Chargers on Missed Field Goal Thanks to False Start Penalty

Last Sunday, the Patriots overcame a 17-7 deficit in the second half and defeated the Ravens, 23-20, in overtime.  This Sunday, New England nearly blew a 23-3 lead when they let the Chargers crawl within a field goal in the second half, only to lose on a missed 50-yard field goal attempt as time ticked away.

Considering the way the Chargers shot themselves in the foot all afternoon, it’s amazing they even had an opportunity to send the game into overtime.  Some of the lowlights for San Diego included several dropped passes and three fumbles, one of which came when wide receiver Richard Goodman caught a pass over the middle, fell to the ground, and flipped the ball to the ground before any Patriot had touched him.  New England recovered the fumble and it was determined that Goodman was never down by contact.

Despite their countless mistakes, the Chargers somehow clawed their way back into the game with two 11-play touchdown drives in the fourth quarter, one of which came after a perfectly executed onside kick that caught New England completely off guard.

Facing a fourth-and-one situation at the two-minute warning, Bill Belichick gave Patriots fans brutal flashbacks when he decided to go for it at about mid-field up 23-20.  The result was the same as the infamous fourth-and-two decision in Indianapolis last year, as the Chargers stuffed BenJarvus Green-Ellis for a loss.

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Chargers Desperately Need Antonio Gates to Play Against New England

What a strange start to the 2010 NFL season it has been.  Who would have thought that week six would feature a match-up between the 1-3 Dallas Cowboys and 1-3 Minnesota Vikings?  No one could have predicted Tony Romo may have thrown the Cowboys season away after a mere five games.  And how about the Chargers?  If someone told you before the season that the Chiefs and Raiders would be ahead of San Diego in the AFC West with less than two-thirds of the season remaining, you’d probably have laughed in their face.

Such is the nature of the National Football League, and the Chargers now must face the reality of a must-win game against one of the better teams in the AFC.  The AFC West isn’t the strongest division so losing this weekend wouldn’t kill San Diego’s chances, but they certainly don’t want to start the season 2-5.  If they’re missing Antonio Gates, they may not have a choice.

One player normally won’t make or break a team’s chances, but Gates is about as close as it gets on that front.  The Chargers have already been without their top wide receiver in Vincent Jackson, who remains a holdout.  Malcom Floyd has filled in admirably in Jackson’s absence, but he suffered a hamstring injury against the Rams on Sunday and isn’t expected to play this weekend.  Legedu Naanee is battling a hamstring injury of his own and was unable to go on against St. Louis.  The Chargers are “hopeful” Gates can suit up against New England with a toe injury, but if he can’t it could be a long day for San Diego.

It’s no secret that the Patriots’ weakest component is their pass defense.  Without Gates, Floyd, and Naanee, it’s tough to imagine a Philip Rivers and the Chargers would be able to exploit that weakness.  If San Diego’s slow start persists and the injury bug starts getting a hold of them, Chargers fans may be headed for the ledge.

Special Teams Doom 2-3 Chargers Again

The Chargers’ offense looked great on Sunday, roasting the Raiders for 506 total yards, 415 of them coming in the air. Despite the impressive output, they managed to lose to the Raiders for the first time in 14 games, falling 35-27 in Oakland.

Special teams was the bane of San Diego’s demise once again. Their first two possessions, they had Mike Scifres’ punts blocked by the Raiders resulting in a safety and a touchdown. The blocked punts book ended a Raiders field goal, so San Diego was down 12-0 early in the game.

As if the special teams problems weren’t enough, Mike Tolbert and Philip Rivers lost back-to-back fumbles from the Oakland 1 and 14 in consecutive possessions. Even with the problems, the Chargers wasted little time taking the lead in the second quarter and a 17-15 lead into halftime.

San Diego’s defense did a good job shutting down the Raiders. They only gave up 279 yards with 16 of Oakland’s 35 points coming on defense or special teams. One has to figure that without the special teams problems the Chargers would have won the game.

That marks the third game San Diego had costly mistakes on special teams, all of which resulted in losses for the Chargers. They lost their season-opener in Kansas City, allowing a punt return for a touchdown by Dexter McCluster in a 21-14 game. They lost in week three to Seattle giving up two kickoffs returned for a touchdown by Leon Washington. In week five, they lost to the Raiders giving up nine points thanks to two blocked punts. It’s not unreasonable to think that the Chargers could easily be 5-0, and most people have to feel they’re better than their 2-3 record. They better get these problems fixed before it’s too late to make the playoffs.

Chargers Screwed by Ed Hochuli’s Whistle on Jay Cutler Non-Fumble Call

It was 2nd down, final two minutes of the game, Broncos looking to tie it up. In a play that seemed all too familiar to anyone who had seen the infamous Brady tuck rule play against the Raiders, Jay Cutler rolled right, let the ball escape his hand, and seemed to have fumbled the game away to the Chargers. Only problem, Ed Hochuli inadvertently blew his whistle as soon as the ball hit the ground, meaning only the fumble/interception could be overturned. By blowing his whistle too early on, Hochuli prevented the Chargers from taking over possession of the football. Hochuli knows he screwed up, and the Broncos know they caught a lucky break:

“I blew it,” is how Hochuli explained it to Turner on the sideline.

“That is not acceptable,” Turner said. “This is the NFL. Our guys fought hard to come back. It was just disappointing to have that kind of performance spoiled by that call.”

“I think it was a fumble,” Cutler said afterward, and he was one of many Broncos to say so.

That’s a terrible break for the Chargers, but there’s no way to be certain that they would have recovered the fumble had the whistle not blown. Additionally, the Chargers still could have stopped the Broncos on the 4th down play or the two point conversion to get the win. They didn’t do either. Sure, I’m disappointed since the Chargers were one of Doc Brown’s picks, but reality is that San Diego had this game won. Check out video of the final minute around the 2:20 mark to see the blown call:

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Norv Turner: Injury Report Manipulator

Wednesday it was announced that LaDainian Tomlinson was pulling out of the Pro Bowl because of his knee injury. Later in an interview with ESPNews Tomlinson said the severity of his knee injury should have been explained more to the public so that he wouldn’t have been criticized by analysts the way he was. Turns out Tomlinson has a sprained MCL — not that we’re doctors here. The point, as I discussed with my pops the other day, is that Norv Turner actually is one deceptive mofo. Follow me for a second.

For two weeks in a row, All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates was listed as doubtful with a toe injury. Both against the Colts and Patriots, Gates was doubtful after hurting his toe against the Titans. Doubtful means just that — doubtful to play, like 25% chance. Most guys who are listed as doubtful during the regular season don’t wind up playing. About half of questionable guys play, and most guys who are probable play — just as the words would indicate. Moreover, Philip Rivers was doubtful as well for the Patriots game with a partially torn ACL. Both Gates and Rivers played. Now LaDainian Tomlinson, despite his knee injury, wasn’t even on the official injury report for the Patriots game. He lasted what, three plays? So get this — Gates and Rivers are doubtful, but they play the entire game. Tomlinson isn’t even listed as being injured, yet he gets replaced in the 1st quarter. What does that tell you?

If you put this all together, you come to realize that Norv Turner totally played the fans, the media, and pretty much everyone else except the Patriots. He absolutely manipulated the injury report. He got everyone to believe that Rivers and Gates were the problems and that Tomlinson was OK. He made everyone think the running game would be the focus and that the passing game wouldn’t be working. Au contraire, mon frere. It was actually just the opposite. Instead, Rivers came out looking like a hero, and Tomlinson an absolute dud. Norv Turner is indeed a master manipulator. And yes, he’s a heck of a lot smarter than we all thought.

Injury reports courtesy of Rotoworld:
LT’s recent injury report
Philip Rivers’ recent injury report
Antonio Gates’ recent injury report