December 2009 - Los Angeles Chargers Wiretap
Chargers Clinch First-Round Bye
The Chargers defeated the Titans on Friday to clinch a first-round bye in the postseason. San Diego downed Tennessee 42-17 on Christmas Night. Philip Rivers threw two touchdowns passes and LaDainian Tomlinson ran for two scores in the win.
Chargers Clinch AFC West Title
The Chargers won their ninth straight game on Sunday afternoon and clinched the AFC West title in the process. San Diego defeated Cincinnati 27-24 on a last-second field goal by Nate Kaeding. The Chargers actually had a playoff berth locked up before the victory because of losses by three other clubs.
Chargers Will Give Turner Extension
The Chargers are expected to give coach Norv Turner a contract extension at some point after the season ends. There was some thought among the team's decision-makers that Turner wouldn't be rewarded if the Chargers collapsed in December. However, Sunday's road win over the Cowboys sealed the deal, sources to the San Diego Union-Tribune. With three games to play, the Chargers are just one win from clinching a playoff berth.
RealGM's Week 14 Rundown
The Colts and Saints continued to dominate, the Vikings locked down a playoff berth and the Chargers won their eighth straight game in Week 14. We will calculate each team's Trench Counter*. Cleveland 13, Pittsburgh 6 Team Trench Counter: Browns -1.1, Steelers +1.1 The Cleveland Browns (2-11) dealt the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7) their fifth straight loss on Thursday night. Brady Quinn went 6-for-19 with 60 yards, while Josh Cribbs (eight carries for 87 yards) and Chad Jennings (20 attempts for 73 yards and a touchdown) produced well on the ground. The Browns sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger eight times to deal a crushing blow to the defending champion?s playoff hopes. Roethlisberger went 18-for-32 with 201 yards. Rashard Mendenhall rushed 16 times for 53 yards and Willie Parker totaled just 12 yards on three runs. Santonio Holmes led Pittsburgh in receiving with two catches for 93 yards. The Steelers sacked Quinn just once at Cleveland Browns Stadium. N.Y. Jets 26, Tampa Bay 3 Team Trench Counter: Jets +16.3, Buccaneers -16.3 The New York Jets (7-6) kept their playoff hopes alive with a dominant win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-12). Kellen Clemens, starting in place of the injured Mark Sanchez, went 12-for-23 with 111 yards as the Jets focused on their ground game. Thomas Jones starred with 99 yards and two touchdowns and rookie Shonn Greene added six attempts for 41 yards on Sunday afternoon. Josh Freeman continued to struggle, going 14-for-33 with just 93 yards and three interceptions. He led the team in rushing with 21 yards on four carries as well. Tampa Bay had just 124 yards of total offense at home. New England 20, Carolina 10 Team Trench Counter: Patriots +3.8, Panthers -3.8 The New England Patriots (8-5) got back on track with a win over the Carolina Panthers (5-8) at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady had 192 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Laurence Maroney rushed 22 times for 94 yards, while Sammy Morris and Randy Moss both fumbled the ball. Wes Welker had another impressive effort, catching 10 passes for 105 yards in the victory. Benjamin Watson (reception) and Kevin Faulk (rush) scored New England?s touchdowns. Matt Moore played respectably, going 15-for-30 with 197 yards and a touchdown. DeAngelo Williams led Carolina in rushing with 13 attempts for 82 yards, while Jonathan Stewart added 29 yards on seven touches. Steve Smith was the team?s offensive star. He caught two passes for 83 yards and a touchdown, which gave the Panthers a brief 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Minnesota 30, Cincinnati 10 Team Trench Counter: Vikings +8.6, Bengals -8.6 The Minnesota Vikings (11-2) clinched a playoff berth on Sunday with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) at the Metrodome. Brett Favre had 192 yards, a touchdown and an interception as Adrian Peterson starred for the postseason-bound Vikings. Peterson rushed 26 times for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Carson Palmer went 15-for-25 with just 94 yards and a touchdown, which came on a 15-yard strike to receiver Chad Ochocinco in the second quarter. Cedric Benson rushed for 96 yards on 16 carries. Buffalo 16, Kansas City 10 Team Trench Counter: Bills -0.9, Chiefs +0.9 The Buffalo Bills (5-8) rode their defense to a close win over the Kansas City Chiefs (3-10) at Arrowhead Stadium. Ryan Fitzpatrick went 12-for-20 with 86 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Fred Jackson (99 yards) and Marshawn Lynch (84) yards helped Buffalo control the ground game, while Terrell Owens had two receptions for 15 yards and a touchdown. Matt Cassel went 26-for-43 with 224 yards and four interceptions. Jamaal Charles was the lone star for the Chiefs, rushing for 143 yards and a touchdown. Chris Chambers led Kansas City, which has lost three straight, in receiving with four catches for 50 yards. Miami 14, Jacksonville 10 Team Trench Counter: Dolphins +1.6, Jaguars -1.6 The Miami Dolphins (7-6) crowded the AFC playoff picture with a victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars (7-6) on Sunday afternoon. Chad Henne had 220 passing yards and an interception and rushed for a 1-yard touchdown in the win. Ricky Williams gained 108 yards and a score on 28 attempts, while Greg Camarillo led in receiving with seven catches for 110 yards. David Garrard went 11-for-26 with 139 yards. Maurice Jones-Drew rushed 18 times for 59 yards and a touchdown and Torry Holt had a team-high two catches for 71 yards at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. The Dolphins, Jets, Ravens and Jaguars are all 7-6 and looking in on the Wild Card race in the AFC. Indianapolis 28, Denver 16 Team Trench Counter: Colts +2.2, Broncos -2.2 The Indianapolis Colts (13-0) set an NFL record with their 22nd straight regular-season victory on Sunday as they downed the Denver Broncos (8-5). Peyton Manning went 20-for-42 with 220 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. Joseph Addai rushed 16 times for 67 yards and caught five passes for 59 yards in the win. Dallas Clark starred with five receptions for 43 yards and three touchdowns. Kyle Orton had 277 yards, two touchdowns and an interception at Lucas Oil Stadium. Knowshon Moreno rushed for 63 yards on 22 carries and Correll Buckhalter added 19 yards on four attempts. Brandon Marshall set an NFL record with 21 receptions for 200 yards and two touchdowns. He tied and set the record in the fourth quarter. Denver has lost five of their last seven games. Houston 34, Seattle 7 Team Trench Counter: Texans +12.7, Seahawks -12.7 The Houston Texans (6-7) scored 17 points in the first quarter en route to a thumping of the Seattle Seahawks (5-8). Matt Schaub went 29-for-39 with 365 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Ryan Moats had 10 rushes for 43 yards and a score. Bernard Pollard capped off Houston?s win with a 70-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter. Andre Johnson was Schaub?s top target, grabbing 11 balls for 193 yards and two scores. Matt Hasselbeck went 24-for-35 with 247 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Julius Jones (39 yards) and Justin Forsett (26 yards) were both limited by Houston?s defense at Reliant Stadium. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who called for the ball during the week, led Seattle with four catches for 52 yards. Green Bay 21, Chicago 14 Team Trench Counter: Packers +14.5, Bears -14.5 The Green Bay Packers (9-4) won at Solider Field to mathematically eliminate the Chicago Bears (5-8) from the NFC playoff picture. Ryan Grant rushed 20 times for 137 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-yard scamper in the game?s opening moments. Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay?s conservative attack, going 16-for-24 with 180 yards. Jay Cutler had 209 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in the damaging loss. Matt Forte rushed for 51 yards on 12 carries and Johnny Knox led the team in receiving with five catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. After opening the season with a 3-1 record, Chicago has lost seven of their last nine games. Baltimore 48, Detroit 3 Team Trench Counter: Ravens +29.4, Lions -29.4 The Baltimore Ravens (7-6) walked all over the Detroit Lions (2-11) at M&T Bank Stadium. Joe Flacco had 230 yards and a touchdown in the win, which kept Baltimore in the AFC playoff picture. Ray Rice (166 yards and a touchdown), Willis McGahee (76 yards and two scores) and Le?Ron McClain (32 yards and a touchdown) helped the Ravens dominate the game. Veteran receiver Derrick Mason had five catches for 94 yards and a trip to the end zone. Daunte Culpepper, who started in place of the injured Matthew Stafford, went 16-for-34 with 135 yards and two interceptions. Kevin Smith rushed for 69 yards on 21 carries before leaving with an injury. The Lions have lost nine of their last ten contests. New Orleans 26, Atlanta 23 Team Trench Counter: Saints +0.2, Falcons -0.2 The New Orleans Saints (13-0) beat the Atlanta Falcons (6-7) on a 38-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley. Drew Brees went 31-for-40 with 296 yards and three touchdowns, while Pierre Thomas (47 yards) and Reggie Bush (33 yards) accounted for a majority of the team?s rushing yards. Bush had a big day through the air, catching six passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns. Chris Redman went 23-for-34 with 303 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The injury-depleted Falcons were led on the ground by Jason Snelling, who had 37 yards and a touchdown. Michael Jenkins led Atlanta in receiving with three catches for 82 yards and a score. Washington 34, Oakland 13 Team Trench Counter: Redskins +16.7, Raiders -16.7 The Washington Redskins (4-9) scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to down the Oakland Raiders (4-9) at the Coliseum. Jason Campbell went 16-for-28 with 222 yards and two touchdowns. Quinton Gather rushed for 50 yards on 14 carries and reached the end zone twice in the fourth quarter. Washington tight end Fred Davis grabbed three passes for 50 yards and two scores. Bruce Gradkowski (153 yards) and JaMarcus Russell (74 yards and an interception) were both ineffective against Washington. Justin Fargas had 21 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, while Darren McFadden totaled the same number of yards on eight touches. McFadden, however, led Oakland in receiving with three catches for 84 yards. Tennessee 47, St. Louis 7 Team Trench Counter: Titans +32.6, Rams -32.6 The Tennessee Titans (6-7) kept their playoff hopes alive with a dominant win over the St. Louis Rams (1-12) at LP Field. Kerry Collins, who replaced an injured Vince Young midway through the game, went 11-for-19 with 154 yards and a touchdown. Prior to a leg injury, Young had 132 passing yards and a score. He suffered the injury on a 44-yard run in the first half. Chris Johnson starred for Tennessee, rushing for 117 yards and two touchdowns and catching three passes for 69 yards and a score. Rookie Keith Null struggled in his first-ever start, going 27-for-43 with 157 yards, a touchdown and five interceptions. Kenneth Darby (51 yards on a single carry) and Stephen Jackson (47 yards on 19 carries) led St. Louis in receiving. The Rams have lost five straight games. San Diego 20, Dallas 17 Team Trench Counter: Chargers -1, Cowboys +1 The San Diego Chargers (10-3) kept the Dallas Cowboys (8-5) on their infamous December slide with an impressive win at Cowboys Stadium. Philip Rivers had 272 yards, a touchdown and an interception. LaDainian Tomlinson rushed 21 times for 50 yards and a touchdown as the Chargers flashed some timely offense. Vincent Jackson led San Diego in receiving with seven catches for 120 yards, while Antonio Gates had four receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown. Tony Romo went 19-for-30 with 249 yards and two scores, while Felix Jones (51 yards) and Marion Barber (47 yards) helped Dallas excel on the ground. Roy Williams had four catches for 74 yards and Miles Austin added six receptions for 71 yards and a score. Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware was carted off the field with a neck injury in the fourth quarter. *Explaining The Trench Counter
Chargers Reverse Course, Expect Taxpayer Money For New Stadium
For seven years, the San Diego Chargers have said they would build a new stadium without using taxpayer money. Thursday, a team spokesman said otherwise. ?It?s almost certainly going to involve some sort of taxpayer money,? said Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani, who has led the team?s stadium search since 2002. ?Now the question is: Can you say to the taxpayers you?re putting in this, but here?s what you?re getting back? And you know, it?s possible you can make that case.?
Tomlinson Makes Case For Rivers As MVP
Philip Rivers has finally entered the NFL MVP race. "I think he should," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "What he's done, in terms of touchdown-interception ratio and completion percentage and winning football games makes him deserving. It's wrong if he's not considered a legitimate candidate." "I've been as consistent as I've been, but there's still room for improvement," Rivers said after Wednesday's practice. "The goal is to keep ascending, which is what we strive to do."
Merriman Sues Tila Tequila
Shawne Merriman is suing Tila Tequila, claiming she lied about claims Merriman beat her up back in September in an attempt to ruin his career. In the lawsuit, filed in US District Court, Merriman claims Tila posted all sorts of lies on her website, including stories that Merriman "choked and attacked" her, "sleeps with minors and forces them to take drugs," and that he manufactures drugs in his home. Shawne also claims in the docs that Tila admitted her lying scheme, at one time stating, "yes that is why I did a 'spin' now ... cuz now everyone is LOVINGGGG me."
NFL Power Rankings For Week 14
By Christopher Reina The scoreboard is where games are officially won and lost, but they are largely decided by the team that wins the battles of yards per pass, yards per carry, penalty yards lost, first downs, and turnovers. For this reason, I created the following formula called the ?Trench Counter? to look at which team truly controls the game: (2x Yards per pass) + (2x Yards per carry) + (.5 First downs) - (Penalty yards/10) - (2.5 Turnovers) - (Opposing Team's Trench Counter) Click here for more information on the Trench Counter For the 2009 season, our weekly team rankings will be based solely off this formula. * The number in parenthesis represents each team's Trench Counter during their previous three games. 1. New Orleans Saints: 10.7 (9.3) If the Saints were going to lose a game to a team supremely less talented than they are, it probably was going to be against Washington, who had every opportunity to take advantage of New Orleans going 0-for-4 in the red zone and also having 102 yards in penalties. 2. Indianapolis Colts: 10.3 (5.9) Joseph Addai had his seventh career multi-touchdown game on Sunday and his third since the beginning of November. 3. Green Bay Packers: 8.7 (9.4) The Packers were 3-for-6 in red zone opportunities during their Monday win against Baltimore while almost completely neutralizing Baltimore's running game on the defensive side of things. 4. Minnesota Vikings: 7.4 (12.2) For as much as the Vikings are universally talented and just need Brett Favre to not throw interceptions and make the more simple throws, they need him to be excellent to win when playing good teams. He has had a sub-80.0 passer rating in three games, two of them were losses and the other one was the miracle in Week 3 against San Francisco. 5. San Diego Chargers: 7.1 (16.7) The Chargers have seemingly gone away from Antonio Gates over the past year and a half, but his 167 yards against Cleveland was a career high, beating out his two best career marks that were from 2005. 6. Pittsburgh Steelers: 6.6 (2.0) I continue to believe in the Steelers, but just reaching the playoffs will prove extremely difficult for this team that has now lost four in a row. 7. New England Patriots: 6.6 (-0.3) Randy Moss (1,058) and Wes Welker (1,053) are ranked first and second in receiving yards this season. While Moss is first in receptions of 20 or more yards with 16, Welker is tied for 64th with just six. 8. Philadelphia Eagles: 5.0 (8.0) The Eagles are now 3-1 when not committing a single turnover with the Week 6 loss in Oakland being the only blemish. 9. Dallas Cowboys: 4.7 (5.5) No December references here, at least not yet; the Cowboys are 25-4 when Tony Romo has a passer rating of over 100.0, which he did against the Giants. 10. Denver Broncos: 4.3 (4.8) Elvis Dumervil had another sack on Sunday, raising his NFL-best total to 15 through 12 games. 11. Cincinnati Bengals: 3.5 (1.8) The Benglas went 2-1 in a three-game stretch against Oakland, Cleveland and Detroit, though they looked far from dominant and now they face a difficult two-game road trip at Minnesota and San Diego. 12. New York Giants: 3.1 (-2.4) The Giants were greatly aided by two plays in their win against Dallas that they don't see weekly; a 79-yard punt return from Domenik Hixon and a 74-yard TD pass to Brandon Jacobs. 13. Baltimore Ravens: 1.7 (-2.1) Joe Flacco has a 93.9 passer rating at home and 75.2 on the road, something that must make the Ravens remember he is only in his second season. 14. Arizona Cardinals: 1.7 (4.4) I'm not sure the Cardinals can sustain the effort against the run week after week, but holding Adrian Peterson to 1.5 yards per rush is something to absolutely marvel at. 15. New York Jets: 1.3 (4.0) The Jets are 6-6 despite having a +41 point differential on the season, unlike the Dolphins who are also 5-5 but have a -18. 16. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1.2 (1.9) Since his brutal Week 8 against the Titans, David Garrard has been consistently excellent in Jacksonville's 4-1 stretch. 17. San Francisco 49ers: 0.0 (-1.3) Alex Smith had an excellent game (95.6 passer rating, two TDs, no INTs), but the 49ers couldn't get the running game going at all, rushing just 12 times for 53 yards. 18. Houston Texans: -0.4 (-8.2) Rex Grossman was 3-for-9 with a 5.6 passer rating while filling in temporarily for Matt Schaub. 19. Washington Redskins: -0.4 (0.9) There was no shock around the NFL when Shaun Suisham was released this week, but he has been a fairly accurate kicker this season. 20. Miami Dolphins: -1.6 (-5.3) The Dolphins continue to struggle against the pass, as they gave up 12.1 yards per pass to Tom Brady and the Patriots, but they did pick him off two separate times. 21. Atlanta Falcons: -1.7 (-6.2) The Falcons have been held to 90 yards or less in six separate games, something that happened just three times last season. 22. Buffalo Bills: -1.8 (1.6) Marshawn Lynch has been struggling since returning from his suspension, but he had an effective night against the Jets in Toronto, rushing six times for sixty yards with a TD. 23. Seattle Seahawks: -2.0 (-10.1) The Seahawks continue to struggle against the pass, ranking 6th worst in the NFL. 24. Chicago Bears: -3.1 (-3.3) The Bears are 4-1 when Jay Cutler has a passer rating over 95.0. 25. Carolina Panthers: -3.3 (-4.3) Behind a 26 carry outing from Jonathan Stewart, the Panthers averaged 5.9 yards per carry on a day when DeAngelo Williams was unavailable. 26. Tennessee Titans: -4.1 (2.8) Chris Johnson has rushed for over 100 yards in seven straight games, though his 4.2 average against the Colts was the first time in his career he has accomplished the feat under 5.0 yards per carry. 27. Kansas City Chiefs: -7.8 (-11.6) Glenn Dorsey's relatively disappointing first two seasons will garner a lot of attention between now and the draft thanks to Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy garnering so much attention. 28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: -8.4 (-6.8) Antonio Bryant (116 yards) and Kellen Winslow (69 yards) gave a glimpse of the kind of passing game Tampa Bay can have, but Josh Freeman (321 yards), absolutely needs to reduce the interceptions. 29. Detroit Lions: -9.0 (-4.0) It has largely been feast or famine for Calvin Johnson this season who sandwiched a 10 yard day on Thanksgiving against Green Bay with 161 yards in Week 11 and 123 last week against the Bengals. 30. St. Louis Rams: -9.7 (-6.7) With Sunday's loss to Chicago, the Rams have been held without a touchdown in four games. 31. Oakland Raiders: -14.9 (-10.6) Since it has only happened once, the Raiders are 1-0 when their quarterback has a passer rating over 100.0. 32. Cleveland Browns: -15.8 (-7.7) The Browns rushed for 115 yards on the ground despite no player having more than 40, with Josh Cribbs and Jerome Harrison rushing for 38 and 35 respectively.
Tomlinson Passes Jim Brown On Rushing List
Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson moved into eighth place on the career rushing list Sunday. Tomlinson's 11-yard run with 9:01 left in the fourth quarter of San Diego's win over Cleveland moved him past Jim Brown on for eighth on the all-time list. Brown was an attendance at the game in Cleveland. Tomlinson passed Marshall Faulk for ninth on the list with a three-yard run in the third quarter.
Cromartie Cleared In Champagne Bottle Incident
Police indicated on Thursday that there was not enough evidence to prove Antonio Cromartie hit a man in the head with a champagne bottle hours after the team's victory at Denver. pokeswoman Monica Munoz said Thursday the case will not be sent to the City Attorney's Office because the investigation found there was not enough evidence to prove a crime occurred.