Walk Tall Or Don’t Walk At All

Oh, Antonio, if I only knew when I took this that you would be on the receiving end of one of the two stupidest fucking playcalls I have ever seen in all my years of watching the Chargers.  This link to Ken Wishenhunt's comments on Thursday may be dead by the time you read this, but I'm sure you heard them already.  He said that he had no problems with Ryan Mathews on the goal line and couldn't imagine why anyone would.  It reminded me of Martin Short as jittery yet defiant lawyer Nathan Thurm on Saturday Night Live.

It's almost a week later and I still haven't gotten over that game.  As you can see from the Tweet below, I don't believe that not running from the one-yard line has anything to do with AJ Smith leaving us without depth or cap space.  I don't think the new coaching staff deserves a pass, either.  If you look at abandoning the run in the opener, ignoring the run in TN (Allen wouldn't be setting picks down there if you'd pitch it to Mathews), accepting a penalty to give the Traitors the chance to ice the game with a 3rd and long, and the shitstorm I witnessed last week, I think they've fucked up an awful lot thus far.  McCoy deserves credit for working wonders with this patchwork line and getting Rivers to buy in to his offense.  But you don't get too many opportunities like you did on Sunday.  You can't play scared as they did.  Check out this piece I wrote all the way back in 2005 before we all got hurt that first time.  I still remember that New York Times article I've referred to before the day after we got stomped in the Super Bowl.  "Don't worry, they're young, blah, blah…"

The fact that we are free of both Marty and Norv but still can't finish games no matter how golden the opportunity is what I can't get past.  When I saw all the players last week at the hotel, I kept my mouth largely shut.  They had just come back from a workout and many of them went up the stairs.  I saw Rivers on the phone and was thinking about joking that it had better not be to Norv.  But after he opted out of the run on second down to throw that fade to Gates, I wonder if The Pockmarked Pariah doesn't still have a hold on him.  DJ Fluker is as enormous as you'd expect and he was many of the players who responded "Thanks, sir" when I wished him luck.  At first I was taken aback, but I am 42 years old right now.  I did see a woman ask for King Dunlap at the desk only to be told that he might be in the dining room.  She didn't look too thrilled, so I wonder if there was a story there.  I saw Novak, Troutman, Stuckey and Mathews twice.  #24 was walking around with his Beats headphones and that goofy grin he usually has.  When I wished him luck, he smiled but seemed nonchalant.  Now I wonder if he's just aware of little this coaching staff believes in him.

I remember his fumble in Philly.  I Tweeted immdiately that I didn't think he or the Chargers would recover.  But to not use him at the end was one of the stupidest moves I have ever seen and we know how many stupid moves we've all witnessed.  Right before Rivers threw his second pick, I turned to Terry Moody and said that they should be running a lot more than they were.  Allen had dropped that crucial pass and I wonder if Washington was able to creep up a little on him before the interception since Rivers is starting to really forge a bond with him.  Allen looked for the flag, which I always think is the loser move.  But I'll admit that I wasn't really looking on the JumboTron to see if he had a case.  I haven't heard anything to the contrary, so I am assuming not.

Diego mentioned in the comments from Monday's post that he was telling people at the bar he was at to never count the Chargers' opponents out.  I thought that Woodhead's play had a chance to stand on replay but I couldn't see from the upper deck when it was his body or the ball that hit the pylon.  It doesn't matter.  If it getting overturned was needed to show that this team STILL isn't ready to smarten up, then so be it.  I shouted "RUN THE BALL" from the upper deck because I knew deep down that they still needed to hear it.  As they drove down the field, all I wanted was for another fan base to share that dread when we see the opposition about to ruin our day.  But after Rivers rolled out and threw the ball away, I didn't even want them to kick the field goal.  Terry told me not to jinx them. but that's how mad I was that they didn't even have the balls to try to seize the moment.  Just like Airplane II, I still haven't gotten over Macho Grande.

During the half, the Redskins had some of their alumni on the field, including Doug Williams.  I couldn't tell you if he was on the mic at the time, but one of them was telling the on-field announcer that the "Chargers were ready to be taken advantage of."  Although I laughed because of the innuendo, I certainly didn't think we were safe with a seven-point lead.  But if you watched my video last week, I really thought that the Bolts could be beat but that they wouldn't piss down their own legs anymore.  I was wrong and that is what really hurts.

Something broke inside of me on Sunday.  Although they are certainly outmatched on paper, they could respond at home as they did against Dallas and Indy.  If they beat Denver, I will be able to turn the page on Washington.  But I don't want them to rise up this week only to blow another game down the road.  I know Mathews is flawed, but he needs to be used.  The best comment I read this week was that he and his fumbling are the Chargers' boogeyman.  For this reason,  I will actually be wearing my #24 jersey on Sunday.  It might be as much of sign of protest over last week as it is support for Mathews.  But hey, I gotta be me. 

Anyway, "30 Days Of Dead" is back on the GD site.  You can get the past three years of free tunes here

That's all for now.  I'm not going to bother to break down the game against Denver.  I think everyone knows what we would need to do to win.  The number one thing is to not be too afraid to win.

Talk to you Sunday.



About Ross Warner

ROSS WARNER is a forty-five year old freelancer whose credits include Sports Illustrated OnLine and Blitz as well as numerous articles on his favorite band, the Grateful Dead. Blah, Blah, Blah. Yeah, I was on WNEW FM the morning after the Chargers made the Super Bowl. Having returned from Pittsburgh only hours before, there I was at half-court at Madison Square Garden in my #12 jersey and wiping my sweat with a "Terrible Towel." When asked about the future for the newly-crowned AFC Champs, I simply uttered "justice is coming." Like so many others, I first took notice of the Chargers during the "Air Coryell" period of the late 1970s. But as Dan Fouts gave way to Ed Luther, Mark Hermann, Babe Laufenberg, Jim McMahon, David Archer, Mark Vlasic, Billy Joe Tolliver and John Freisz my fanaticism turned to obsession. When Stan Humphries resurrected the franchise in 1992, I began calling the Chargers organization to share my plan to get the team into the Super Bowl. This began the stormy rapport with the Chargers' Public Relations staff which reached a boiling point at a 1996 "team spirit" luncheon when I demanded that guard Eric Moten explain his propensity for holding penalties. It was then I realized I needed my own forum. Founded in 1995, Justice Is Coming is precisely that. To decide whether this site is for you, ask yourself these questions: Do you think of Johnny Unitas as an ex-Charger? Are your three children named JJ, Kellen and Wes, with one of them being a girl? Do you think that Rolf Benirschke got a raw deal on the daytime "Wheel of Fortune?" Can you remember where you were on December 3, 1984 when Bobby Duckworth fumbled the ball attempting to spike it on "Monday Night Football?" Does Al Davis, a dark alley and a lead pipe mean anything to you? If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, then you, too, believe that Justice Is Coming. This is a weekly look at the San Diego Chargers through the eyes of someone who spends most of his time thinking about the Bolts so you don't have to. But being a Chargers fan is not an obligation, although it sometimes feels like it. So I offer you this "alternative perspective." All the football, film and music collides in the centrifuge that is my brain and this newsletter is the result.