1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Monday “Chargers Get Gifts-Earn Win”

Posted by on December 3rd, 2018  •  0 Comments  • 

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“Chargers Get Gifts-Earn Win”

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Christmas came early for the Chargers on Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Gifts fromt he NFL officials in the form of 2-badly blown calls on TD plays….a lucky bounce on a sure interception….and mistakes by the Steelers that gave them life.

Never-ever give Philip Rivers extra chances on offense. The Steelers learned that, and the Bolts earned that win, to take their record to (9-3).

The Chargers got a gift TD, a 46-yard catch and run by Travis Benjamin, after the officials failed to flag right tackle Sam Tavi who came up out of his stance at least 2-ticks before the ball was snapped. No flag-a gift TD.

Then in the second half, a 73-yard punt return by Desmond King, aided by an illegal block in the back by Michael Davis, in the open field. No call-TD-Bolts again.

Even when the Steelers made a play, a sure fire interception, it turned into a critical catch, when the pick became a double deflection and landed in Keenan Allen’s arms for a first down.

Then at the end of the game, with all the pressure on kicker Michael Badgley, the Steelers jumped offsides twice, negating a missed field goal, and a blocked field goal. Given a third chance, Pittsburgh jumped off side, this time Badgley hit the field goal.

It was a hard earned, and maybe tainted (33-30) win.

Luckily for the Bolts, there are two halves to NFL games. An awful first half, was replaced by a very productive second half.

Wideout Keenan Allen ran the Steelers secondary ragged, finishing with 14-catches and 148-yards of Heniz Field real estate. He outshone Antonio Brown’s 10-catch-154-yard night.

And a worthless running game, turned to fresh legs, rookie running back Justin Jackson of Northwestern in the second half. When he was done, he had runs of 9-10-17-18 plus a 19-yard reception. Huge contribution from out of nowhere.

How lopsided was it?

Ben Roethlisberger kept beating the Bolts in the first half, with big catches by Antonio Brown. All that went away in the 2nd half, when the Chargers decided to go zone, let Big Ben throw short and underneath, and challenged him to nickel and dime his way down the field. The rhythm was gone, and so were most of the scoring chances.

The Steelers QB threw a bad pick at the Chargers 10. He had a wide open Jalen Hunter in the end zone and overthrew him. Likely 14-points off the board in the opening half.

It could have been (37-7) at the half, if the right plays and right calls were made, but there was still a 3rd and 4th quarter left to play.

It wasn’t a perfect night. Desmond King gave up 7-completions. Michael Davis gave up a TD and took 2-pass interference calls. Jatavious Brown had a bad helmet hit. Casey Hayward got beat 3-times including an early TD.

Rivers gritted his way for (299Y) passing, and hung in there taking 8-hits. Big Ben had pressure around him all night, took one sack, but was relegated to a lot of short passes, and then got out of sync, in a strange (281Y) passing night.

The hero might have been the rookie running back; Jackson wound up (82) all purpose yards. Where’d he come from. Pittsburgh must be asking that.

The Chargers won where they hardly ever won. The Steelers took a big hit.

The Chargers beat up a pretty good team. Still ahead, road games in Denver and Kansas City, but it is now evident, they have earned some type of playoff game as a wildcard team, at home.

Gifts, Lady Luck and great plays gave them a chance. Rivers and his running mates took advantage of it all, and went out got the win.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Friday “Chargers-Steelers-Showdown Sunday-Who Wins-Why”

Posted by on November 30th, 2018  •  0 Comments  • 

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“Chargers-Steelers-Showdown Sunday”

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What’s happened in the past doesn’t really mean very much.

What happens Sunday will have real meaning for the Chargers, in their never-ending attempt to end the ugly playoff drought and post season history of failure.

The Chargers go to Pittsburgh in another installment of what has been as really lopsided rivalry.

The doesn’t matter to Philip Rivers. Doesn’t mean much to Ben Roethlisberger. It will mean a lot when Sunday night’s game is done.

A Chargers win puts them in the hunt to chase down 1st place Kansas City in the AFC-West. A Chargers loss is just another black mark in the book of a franchise that hasn’t done well against teams with winning records, this year, or last, in the Anthony Lynn regime.

Pittsburgh is the scene of the Chargers enormous 1995-win in the AFC title game, that sent them to the Super Bowl against the 49ers.

But good outings have been few and far between, whether the beatings took place at old Three Rivers Stadium, or the new Heinz Field.

The Bolts don’t care about the past, just what happens at 5:20pm on Sunday night.

But history has shown how hard it is to win for the Chargers in Blitzburgh. The Steelers lead the overall series (22-7).

And in Pittsburgh, the Chargers, from Dan Fouts-thru-Stan Humphries to Rivers, are just (3-15) all time where the Three Rivers come together.

The Chargers have played an easy schedule, getting their 8-wins against clubs with a combined record of (27-59-1). The Steelers, playing much better now, have put their 7-win season against teams that are (32-44-1).

Pittsburgh is all about Ben Roethlisberger and big plays, and at home, that quarterback is an amazing (77-26) playing infront of Black & Gold dressed fans. His coach, Mike Tomlin has led his team to a (68-25) home field advantage. It’s a tough place to play.

The matchup will be special on Sunday night.

There will be no Melvin Gordon at running back, and that’s some (1255Y) all purpose yards Rivers won’t have to rely on. Austin Ekeler has been a great change of pace player, catch and run. Whether he can be a 25-touch guys this weekend is doubtful.

Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams will all need big play days to make up for what they won’t get with Gordon gone.

The Steelers counter with James Connor, who like Gordon, has over (1300) all purpose yards, though he has tailed off the last couple of week. They haven’t missed the holdout Le’Veon Bell yet, but you might want to be concerned if Connor has hit the ‘wall’ in terms of exhaustion.

Secondaries get exhausted chasing JuJu Smith, star in the making, and the star they have in Antonio Brown. Between them over 140-catches this year so far.

Roethlisberger throws picks, but he says so-what. He throws TDs, and wins, and that’s all that matters to him, especially again at home.

Unsung in all of Pittsburgh’s success this year, has been the defense. TJ Watt and a fierce pass rush have 39-sacks this season, added to a stingy defense, led by DE-Cam Hayward.

In the first five weeks of the season, the Steelers gave up an average (401YPG). The last five games, (259YPG). That’s big time improvement. They haven’t allowed a quarterback to throw for over 300-against them in the last seven games. Pretty impressive too.

Big plays have been part of both club’s arsenal’s this year. Pittsburgh has 25-passes of 25-yards or more. The Steelers have 16-runs of plus 15-yards, so they will gash you.

The Chargers keep hitting big plays too, including 150-plays of 10-yards or more….and 55-plays of 20-yards or more. Big chunks of real estate.. Aside from the numbers in neon lights, the Steelers (420YPG) and the Bolts (402YPG), Sunday will be about matchup.

And that’s what would be scary.

Without Brandon Mebane, out with personal problems, and without Corey Liuget-Denzel Perryman (injured), stopping the run will be tough.

And so will shutting down the passing game. Tight end Vance McDonald catches a lot of passes. Which linebacker, if any of them, can cover him? No one.

And though Desmond King and Derwin James have had good years, the trio of corners the Bolts have, have not, including hi priced veteran Casey Hayward. How are you going to cover Brown-Smith-Derrious Bay and the tight end?

Add in the lack of trust in the Chargers kicking game, and you have a problem.

Never doubt Rivers and all he can bring to the huddle and the line of scrimmage in the most important games he plays.

But never discount the raging fan base and how momentum in Pittsburgh can change in an instant.

It will be fun, Rivers vs Big Ben. All the big play wide receivers, and that kid running back., and the game of ‘where is TJ Watt lining up?’

But in the end, I just don’t think the Chargers can win very many matchups. Too many big Steeler plays in a shooting gallery game with the Bolts.

Until they show me they are a complete team, and can beat a quality team on the road, I will be a Charges doubter, beyond being a Dean Spanos hater.

And that’s why I think it will wind up being a Steelers-win on Sunday.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Thursday “Alliance American Football–A Fascinating Future?”

Posted by on November 29th, 2018  •  0 Comments  • 

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“Alliance American Football-A Future?”

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You have to be a football junkie to have watched their games, remember the teams, know the names.

But NFL-Europe, originally known as the World League of American Football, served its purpose, for fans abroad, and for some players.

It was different than the ill fated World Football League, that drowned in red-ink. Or the upstart USFL which captured the fancy of fans by signing quarterbacks and developing stars in a spring league

The NFL Europe product, though played 6-time zones away, did well, marketing the game, selling jerseys, and giving us quarterbacks.

The London Monarchs, the Barcelona Drags, the Frankfurt Galaxy, the Scottish Claymores, the Berlin Fire and more brought the game of football to futbol playing countries.

It introduced us to guys from small colleges, directional college, undrafted free agents, getting a chance to grow their game.

No one could have known what Kurt Warner would evolve into. Many have forgotten who he was before he became an NFL star, Hall of Famer, Super Bowl ring quarterback.

Warner, from 1AA-Northern Iowa, undrafted, unwanted, was working stocking shelves in a super market in Iowa. He wanted to play so bad, he wound up playing in the newly founded Arena League, indoors, with the Iowa Barnstormers. And then onto Europe, where the rest is history. A chance with the Packers, then onto the Rams.

Jon Kitna was a Division II-quarterback from tiny Central Washington. He minted his game as a Barcelona Dragon in Europe, then walked on with the Seattle Seahawks. When he was done, it was 15-years in the NFL with success, and launched him into coaching.

The NFL-Europe alumni are everywhere. Saints and Carolina QB-Jake Delhomme. Vikings star Brad Johnson. Longtime backup-sometimes starter, insurance policy QB-Shaun Hill.

And so it goes on and on, if you run thru the list of guys who went abroad to play in England-Germany-Spain and more.,

It was a costly venture, or possibly an expensive investment, but its run had merits, even if it cost the league some 30M a year in losses to operate it.

It further exposed the sports to new countries abroad, well before the advent of 500-TV channels and all the sports TV networks that exist right now.

And it served its purpose as a place for young talent to get experience, compete, get some quality coaching.

So if you connect the dots from those days, you understand why the newly proposed Alliance of American Football will debut in 75-days in 8-American cities. It’s all about opportunities for young players.

It’s giving veteran coaches a chance to share knowledge, coach up the kids, and creating NFL type energy in the off season, right after the Super Bowl, leading up to the draft.

It might also be a stepping stone towards something even more substantial a couple of seasons down road. For if you make this work, maybe the NFL truly becomes your partner, puts its shield on the brand, and in three years time, sends its young players to your team to develop in the offseason.

The AAF will need to decide whether its role is to give a great NFL veteran like Colin Kaeperneck a chance to play somewhere. Or whether a 32-year old former small college star Josh Johnson from USD, can do a lot in ten weeks to earn another shot in the league.

Our maybe it’s a ticket for an ex-Aztec like running back Donnell Humphrey to grow into some role after battling injuries for two seasons trying to stay in the NFL:.

No-name offensive lineman need reps and off season weight training to grow into those roles. 70-days worth of practices and 10-games might be their ticket to take the next step.

Equally fascinating in the AAF concept, will be the coaches who will spend their days trying to mold young minds and talents, to get to the next level.

Mike Martz has done so many good things in the NFL, his calling card, the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ with the Rams.

Steve Spurrier’s heritage in the college game will serve young players well.

We know about Dennis Erickson’s coaching stops, from Miami to Oregon State, and his experiences in the NFL.. Ditto the same for a lifetime coordinator like Brad Childress, who was a head coach on top of being a brilliant mind.

Rick Neuhisel and Mike Riley are cut from the same cloth, as teachers, communicaters, and QB developers, young and energized.

Old warriors like Mike Singletary and Tim Lewis come at it from the defensive side of the ball, where they did good things in their careers, on the field and on the sidelines.

And of course, the leader of all this is Bill Polian, architect of great teams in Buffalo, Carolina and Indianapolis, who still has something to give in terms of experience, direction and credibility.

The San Diego Fleet leadership is sitting on a ‘gold mine’ if this is done right….winning, marketing, priced correctly. And in the in tradition of Air Coryell and Dan Fouts, right up to the Chargers era of Philip Rivers, San Diego likes to see the ball in the air.

And that’s why Mike Martz could be the right guy, right place, right time, to help the league succeed.

It’s worked before, NFL Europe, it might work better, here in the US, fitting into a unique slot in the NFL calendar.

In the memory of the London Monarchs and Scottish Claymores, the AAF has a chance to do something special in a football crazed country.

Kurt Warner-Jon Kitna pulled it off. We’ll see what the AAF can do, 75-days from now.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Wednesday “Aztecs Basketball-What They Must Do To Get Better”

Posted by on November 28th, 2018  •  0 Comments  • 

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“Aztecs Basketball-Where Are They Now”

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San Diego State came home battered and bruised after the Maui Classic.

They caved in in the second half vs Duke, fell behind by 19-to Xavier, and got blown out by 30-by Iowa State. They have 8-more non conference games to figure it out.

They got a patsy in Jackson State, destroyed them in every facet of the game. Up next, they play at Illinois State, and come home to meet USD. I’m not sure they really learned anything in destroying the SWAC school, but they hit shots, and got the bench involved.

They have 5-freshmen who have yet to step up. They are not rebounding consistently. But they have weeks before the tough conference schedule starts.

Coach Brian Dutcher had lots to say about his roster and what’s coming up

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..We’ve had 3-good days of practice since Maui Invitational.
..We always struggle first game back after the Maui Classic.

..We learned about emotional highs and lows
..Fight against Duke-showed spirit
..Coming from 19-back to win 2nd game in tourney vs Xavier

..Learned to fight game to game with our defense
..Iowas State game overwhelmed us

..We have to focus on rebounding-top priority-not as good as we thought
..We need to pick up our pressure on the ball on defense
..Talk in lockeroom is what we have to get better at…get better at in two days

..Need to play bench more-averaging just 12 PPG right now.
..Minutes of the freshmen have to go up
..May need to start a center ..either Nathan or Nolan might start
..Have not felt comfortable playing freshman yet-may have to.

..Have to make our practice more game-like going forward..
..Not just drill-do fundamentals…create more scrimmage

..Gave up too many layups in losses…wasn’t just tired legs

..Always learn about your team…good 35-minutes vs Duke..win Xavier
..Comfortable with 6-veterans
..We had great comeback vs Xavier
..Have to get my freshmen up and running
..Losing by 30-is unacceptable in our program

..We had teachable moments from the losses…watch the video-show them
..It all becomes clear on tape when you watch what happened in Maui

..Freshmen-half step late-find minutes to get comfortable-be in position
..Veterans cannot make mistakes
..Team attitude is ‘charged up’…get more out of each other.

..Rebounding-have to recruit rebounders..can work on technique
..We need body on body…where are hands..what is technique..
..Need guy with nose for the ball…it is a concern.
..Need our guys to play ‘bigger’…need to send guys to the glass to get ball.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Tuesday “Aztecs Football-Wins But Disappointment”

Posted by on November 27th, 2018  •  0 Comments  • 

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Aztecs Football-Disappointment”

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They’re going to a Bowl game, backing into the parking space, losing 4-of their final 5-games of the season, including 2-home losses to pitiful conference teams.

It’s hard to call (7-5) disappointing, with another bowl game coming, but the home field losses to lowly UNLV-Hawaii seem numbing.

Coach Rocky Long says his team will take a long hard look at why the season finished the way it did. He was sullen, then he was combative, but overall he was disappointing.

His end of season quotes:

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..Frustrated and disappointed not play well back half of season
..Coaches on road recruiting right now
..Next few weeks will do evaluation of how we run program
..Get back to doing what we have done to win

..Injuries-youth may have something to do with what happened.
..We did not get any better as season wore on
..We will look at off-season workouts-re-evaluate offense and defense
..Our recruiting has gone better the last couple of years

..Will talk to the seniors about what they feel about the year
..Each coach will evaluate his group and report back to me
..Getting to a lower bowl game is not good enough anymore
..We are a good program…we have to see if this is an aberration or a problem.

..Pick out statistics–you cloud the picture-our national stats are good
..You can take a stat and make it sound anyway you want
..Our defensive stats were pretty good
..Our offensive stats are down -we know…it might just be players
..You can slant the story anyway you want…
..10-11 win seasons don’t automatically happen
..Have to go looking for it-answers-

..We didn’t coach as well this year as we have in the past.
..We had new coaches-maybe they don’t know the system well enough

..Going for 2-point play in overtime on first series was the right thing to do
..We had right 2-point play called-but messed it up
..Felt sure we had momentum-that’s why I thought we’d win game

..Instant replay has done good job-rectifying mistakes.
..Refuse to question replay decisions….
..Didn’t get response from MWC on last time I had questions.

..Happy with effort of team this year
..Early one we took losses really hard
..We played as hard as we could the last two games.

..Team knows if we didn’t win-we might not go to bowl game
..We deserve to go to bowl game…we won 7-games…seniors deserve to go

..Losing key assistants Gonzalez-Hauck…we might not have won with them.
..You start to win in January with off season workouts
..We played a lot more freshman than we ever have before-very talented group
..We’ve lost our edge on our roster-lost our aggressiveness…
..We didn’t have any personal fouls-big hits ..we wound up being a different team

..We played a lot of freshman-they helped us win-didn’t worry about redshirting them
..Not very many of our team deserve conference recognition this year
..John Baron deserves special team player of year with kicking stats.

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