A huge shout-out to Tom Coughlin. Hopefully some of you recorded the Giants-Chargers game. If so, keep, duplicate it and sell it under the title, "How to Lose a Football Game When Playing Not To....". It's one of my biggest pet peeves in all of sports, when a coach seems to have his team playing "not to lose". Invariably, by playing "not to lose" you are destined to, in fact, lose, as the Giants did today.
It was a hard-fought, close, football game throughout. The Giants had taken over the game, however, in the 4th quarter and had the Chargers on the ropes. After intercepting a Philip Rivers pass late in game, the Giants had the ball - First and Goal at the Chargers 4, leading 17-14.. The next 3 plays would tell the tale. Run, Run, Run with a holding penalty mixed in. Kick the field goal and the Giants lead by 6 with just over two minutes to go. We've seen this act before - give the Chargers an inch of life and they'll take a mile.
Rivers' game-winning TD pass with 21 seconds to go gave the Chargers a 21-20 win. Coughlin's game management was filled with decisions that stank of fear, from the way the team called those final plays to a couple of 4th-and-1 situations at midfield earlier in the game that the Giants decided it better to punt. For a team playing at home, that has already lost 3 games in a row, showing so little confidence in what used to be a dominant running game was quite troubling, and I'm not even a Giants fan!
All that said, I tip my cap to the Chargers. We talked before the Broncos played San Diego that to be the champ you have to beat the champ. The Broncos did just that, on the road, that Monday Night. Now, with another Champ coming to town tomorrow night, the Broncos once again see the Chargers firmly in their rearview mirror. Win tomorrow and the Broncos maintain their 2-game lead(with a game in hand). Lose, and the murmurs of "remember 2008" will start in and around the Rocky Mountain Region.
For my money, I say "BRING IT ON". I said the same last year when we watched the Chargers come back against the Chiefs, in Kansas City, with two late scores - and an on-side kick recovery - to keep their season alive. Obviously this is happening a lot sooner this year, but I want the fire kept to the proverbial backsides of the Denver Broncos coaches and players. I don't want to back in to anything. I want the AFC West to be competitive, and I want the Broncos to WIN their way to a AFC West Division Championship!
There is a long way to go this season, and the Broncos and Chargers meet in Denver in 3 weeks. A lot can happen before then to determine how the West can be won, but for the Broncos it doesn't get any better than being right where they are. Sure, the Steelers are going to be a tough foe - and the Chargers are not going to go down without a fight. For this Broncos fan, I wouldn't have it any other way!