by Scott Benson
This just in: the Indianapolis Colts won’t be in Foxborough for the AFC Championship game next Sunday.
The San Diego Chargers overcame the loss of LaDainian Tomlinson and Phillip Rivers to stun the defending champion Colts in the RCA Dome and advance to a rematch of their own with the Patriots.
It will be the third game between the teams in a little over a year.
I was traveling this afternoon so I saw the first half, listened to the second. The Colts were uncharacteristically awful in the red zone, right to the end, and their real Quiet Strength this season – their slight but swift defense – was so oddly passive throughout that Rivers actually looked like a playoff quarterback in leading the Chargers to three scores.
That’s not even the kicker – Billy Volek came off the bench to drive the Chargers 78 yards to the winning score. Whaaaa? I don’t know if the Colts lost this game, or if the Chargers won it, but I do know when you drive the length of the field for the winning score just five minutes from elimination, with Billy Volek at the controls, you must be doing something right.
And what a weird ending to the Colts’ title reign. 13-3, 2nd seed, only to play badly and lose in your first playoff game. Now Tony Dungy (who might have considered the possibility that two field goals would have won the game there at the end) will go on a journey to someplace or the other (Classytown?) and we’ll all hear plenty about it.
I suppose the question this week will be the health of Rivers and Tomlinson, which should become clearer as the week progresses. What will be less clearer is exactly how Norv Turner ended up matched up with Bill Belichick in the AFC Championship game.
The Chargers scored a big coup today and should be applauded for pulling it off; beating the defending champs out of their own building and worse, out of the playoffs is a neat trick, and regardless of what’s transpired between the teams in the recent past, they come to Foxborough next Sunday just sixty minutes from the Super Bowl.
You have to respect that.