Okay, so I guess I'm happy. We finally won some big playoff games and then we ran into a juggernaut in the New England Patriots. A juggernaut we would have beaten if we weren't decimated on offense by injury. And that's right, we would have beaten them. Our defense was stellar and we were able to drive on them pretty handily until the field shortened. You can't tell me that if TBE and Gates were 1,000,000% we couldn't have put the ball across the goal line three times. Oh well, not as heartbreaking as last year, but it still hurts to have to say "next year." But as I've said before here, the best thing to come of this year will be the Pats signing of Moss. AJ will likely gamble a little bit more in free agency and if we're lucky we'll see a big upgrade at middle linebacker and probably a quick little WR to run around and be all Wes Welkery. A little more O-line depth wouldn't kill us either. On to thoughts regarding groups and individuals.
1) O-line: Wow, these guys stepped it up in the end. I mean, these guys rested on their laurels for like two good months before getting their shit back together. There's no way Rivers could have hobbled around on two-thirds of a knee against the Pats without them.
2) Rivers: I had already resigned to get off the kid's back before he went out played a great game in the AFC championship. That's right, a great game. Aside from one throw he just couldn't make in his condition, he gutted it out and drove down the field over and over. To all the morons who have been saying that Rivers was selfish and they should have played Volek (seriously, these people exist) I say, "Go hang yourselves, you're of no use to anybody."
3) Vincent Jackson: Wow, keep it up and I'll be eating crow for the rest of your career. Say hi to Charlie Joiner for me.
4) Chambers: Fuck all those sports jerks who said we gave up to much for him, right? Pro bowl calibre.
5) It's a testament to how good this guy is that even though injuries practically erased him the last several weeks of the year, his stats were right on par with the best TEs in the league. Even with the emergence of the receiving corps, Gates would have eclipsed the Jason Wittens and Dallas Clarks of the league. He'll do it next year, watch.
6) The secondary: League's whipping boys for several years. Oh, how the times are changing. Cromartie is a monster and now teams are realizing they have to throw to Jammer's side. And now people are finding out that Jammer is a a bit better than advertised. Outstanding the second Cro became the starter. Don't mind Florence in the nickel, but I won't cry to see him go.
7) Linebackers: Merriman, Phillips, thank God Cotrell finally set you boys loose. Excellent. Stephen Cooper you're a solid playmaker and I see good things in your future. Wilhelm? I really wanted for you to be good. You got better in the end, but not better enough. I know Merriman jumps on piles after the play, but he does other things too. You? Not so much. You will probably be upgraded.
8) Kaeding: How ironic that you started making field goals in the playoffs when we really needed TDs. You can't catch a break, can you. Find a way to kick the ball farther in the offseason. You're okay.
9) Scifres: MVP.
10) D-line: I love you guys. You're not flashy, and you Williams, I know you were in pain, but you guys are all just big, crazy animals and that is fun to watch. Castillo, don't get hurt if we play the Vikings again next year, because that was stupid.
11) Darren Sproles: You are adorable! I want to put you in my pocket. I'm glad we didn't fire you.
12) Michael Turner: You're going to make a bunch of money. Not as much as if we had let you go last year, but a bunch. Don't be a bitch about it.
13) Norv Turner: Not a bad job rallying the boys in the playoffs, but you're not totally off the hook. Your balls retracted against the Pats. Injuries or no that was some mediocre playcalling in the red zone. And punting from the Pats 36, down two scores with 9+ minutes? Too safe, I knew it was over. Now you're going to listen to the San Diego faithful(ly stupid) call for the rehiring of Cameron Cameron all off-season. You dug it, hop on in. Neutered our offense a bit, better luck next year.
14) LaDainian (The Best Ever) Tomlinson: Damned if you do, damned if you don't I suppose. Go out there and stink it up and you'd be called selfish for trying. Stay on the sidelines and you're called a big pussy. I know better. You're the tits, man. The heart and the soul. I'll be looking forward to seeing you again next year.
My thoughts on the Super Bowl? Fuck you Green Bay, I could have probably convinced myself to root for you doughe bags. Eli and the vaGiants vs. the Nazis? I root for the plague. Go Bolts!!!
P.S. Kelly, I'm sorry I kept saying I'd come over and watch football with you guys and then bailing out. I'm sure your house is lovely. Send me a picture.