What Happened Last Night: The Chargers Collapsed, Peyton’s Still Peyton, And The NLCS Is Still Interesting
Missed last night's sports action? Well, hopefully you have a good excuse, because all you missed is one of the GREATEST COLLAPSES/COMEBACKS IN MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL HISTORY. Not only that, but playoff baseball, too. If you are among the unfortunate souls who missed out, allow us to give you a little rundown.
Holy crap, Chargers, that was bad.
In that sub-headline above, I initially mistyped "Chargers" as "Shargers." Maybe I shouldn't have fixed it. Because after completely dominating the first half and racing out to a 24-0 lead, the Chargers came out for the final 30 minutes, and proceeded to collectively poop all over the field, as a team, for the entire half, like a gaggle of geese. Speaking of geese, they also would have played football about as effectively as the Chargers did - San Diego yielded 35 unanswered points in the half without ever scoring any of their own, and the Broncos walked away with a 35-24 win.
Much was made of Philip Rivers' implosion, and rightly so. He turned the ball over six times, including three interceptions in the fourth quarter alone - one of which was returned for a touchdown). Much was made of Norv Turner as well, and that was understandable too. One of the NFL's most oft-maligned coaches presiding over this sort of devastating loss is irresistible to the sass purveyors of the sports internet (not to mention it makes the frequent maligning of him seem deserved). But the truth is, no matter who was involved, this was one of the NFL's great collapses, one no one could have seen coming from any coach-quarterback combination. It was surreal to watch.
It wasn't all because of the Chargers, though. It was also that...
Peyton Manning is still awesome at quarterbacking.
So his arm isn't what it once was. It doesn't matter. If you give him time - which the Broncos did; Manning wasn't sacked last night and the Chargers barely got a hand on him - the ball will get where it needs to go. It got where to needed to on 24 of Manning's 30 throws last night, and only one pass he threw in the second half fell incomplete. And while he threw one interception, his three touchdowns and 309 yards more than made up for it (and that doesn't count a big late completion that was called back on what sure looked like a bogus offensive pass interference call).
Manning is still unquestionably one of the NFL's best. The MVP whispers are beginning - and if he keeps playing remotely like this and the Broncos keep winning, they'll get louder and louder as the season goes on. John Elway must be feeling pretty spectacular about his decision to go all-out for Peyton right about now. The player he signed can perform every bit as well as the pre-neck-issue version, and we can't wait to see what that means for the Broncos over the remainder of the season. In other sports...
The NLCS is all tied up.
It's a widely-accepted fact at this point that the Cardinals, as a team, have magical powers that allow them to come through every time they need to, but those powers only apply in must-win situations. While of course St. Louis would have liked to win last night, the Giants took advantage of not having to fight off a magical spell and beat the Cardinals 7-1 last night to send the series to St. Louis even at a game apiece. Additionally, the Giants were fired up by a hard (illegal?) slide from the Cardinals' Matt Holliday, so the rest of this series could get chippy. Can the Giants break the Cardinal opponent curse?
NLCS Game 3 TV Info: Wednesday, 4 p.m., Fox.
ALCS Game 3 TV Info: Tonight, 8 p.m., TBS.
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