Can a day be better for a football team? Well, sure, but not by much. Before the first quarter between the San Diego Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals was even finished, the Chargers had already clinched a playoff spot (thanks to losses by the Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, and New York Jets). Once the Chargers defeated the Bengals (an extremely close 27-24), the Chargers had locked up the division. That the second place Denver Broncos lost to the Oakland Raiders in the final seconds of that game was just icing on the cake.
This marks the first time in team history that the Chargers have won the division four years in a row (they've won it three times in a row twice before: from 1963-1965 and from 1979-1981).
All that's left to do now is to lock up a first-round bye (homefield advantage has already been assumed by the Indianapolis Colts). Hopefully the Chargers can do that against the Tennessee Titans on Christmas Day.
I may not seem like it, but I'm ecstatic. Since becoming a true Chargers fan in 1987 (I was merely an "associated" Chargers fan prior to that), I've endured 13 .500-and-below seasons (not counting the 8-8 season in which they somehow won the division), including a dreadful 1-15 season in 2000. But, unlike some other fans I know (both of the Chargers and of other teams), I've never wavered in my loyalty to the lightning bolts. In fact, other than the Drew Brees-led New Orleans Saints, I don't think I've ever even rooted for another team.
Anyway, anyone who's interested can read about the game elsewhere... I'm just going to drop some kudos.
Quentin Jammer - that interception of Carson Palmer on a Cincinnati 1st-and-10 more than made up for that interception you should've had earlier in the game.
Vincent Jackson - five receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns? You rock. Also notable is that with those yards, you've given the Chargers their first tandem of 1000-yard receivers (along with Antonio Gates) in over two decades.
Philip Rivers - even though you threw two interceptions, you also three three touchdowns, and that made all the difference.
Kevin Ellison and Alfonso Boone - for sacking Carson Palmer. Extra kudos for Ellison, as it was his first sack ever.
Nate Kaeding - your first game-winning field goal ever (according to radio announcer... not sure if that's true, but will check on it) and a 52-yarder at that. I'm a fan, and I still find it odd that you're the most accurate field goal kicker in the history of the NFL.
Norv Turner - yes, I might be coming around.
Ron Rivera - keeping the defense together with a lot of pieces missing and/or injured.
That's all for now, though the entire team probably deserves kudos... Go Chargers!
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