Postgame Report: Chargers-Colts
Jan. 3: Bob, Jerome, and Matt recap a great game in San Diego, where the Chargers shocked the Colts to stay alive in the playoffs.
It was the 25th overtime game in the postseason, including one game in the AFL. The last overtime game in the playoffs was last season’s NFC title game, won by the New York Giants and Manning’s little brother, Eli, against Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers.
Still, Manning caught the Chargers napping on a 72-yard touchdown play that for a while seemed as if it was going to stand as the winner.
Facing third-and-5 from the Colts 28, Manning quickly lined up and took an immediate snap that caught cornerback Antonio Cromartie so flat-footed he was looking at the Chargers’ bench when receiver Reggie Wayne went speeding past him and safety Paul Oliver. Wayne caught Manning’s pass at the Chargers 45 and was gone for a 17-14 lead.
The Colts came up with two turnovers in the end zone. Sproles was hit at the 2-yard line and fumbled into the end zone late in the third quarter, with Raheem Brock recovering.
Rivers kept San Diego’s next drive alive with a 13-yard scramble followed by a 1-yard sneak on fourth down, but then overthrew Chris Chambers in double coverage and was intercepted in the end zone by Antoine Bethea.
The teams traded TDs early, with Indy’s Joseph Addai scoring on a 1-yard run late in the first quarter and Tomlinson scoring on a 3-yard run early in the second quarter, his last play of the game. The Colts went ahead 10-7 on Adam Vinatieri’s 43-yard field goal midway through the second period before Sproles’ 9-yard run just before halftime put the Chargers ahead 14-10.
Manning was 25-of-42 for 310 yards. Rivers was 20-of-36 for 216 yards, with one interception.
Tomlinson was hurt a week earlier in a 52-21 rout of Denver.
“From the first run, it was evident that I just didn’t have the burst,” said Tomlinson, who gained 14 yards on the game’s first play from scrimmage. “I couldn’t put my foot on the ground and get through the hole the way I wanted to. I went as long as I could. After the TD run, it was at the point where I felt like I was making it worse.”
Scifres had punts of 51 yards to the 10, 58 yards to the 15, 50 yards to the 3, 67 to the 5, 38 to the 9 and the 52 to the 1 with 2:41 to play.
“I think that their punter is the MVP of the game,” Colts running back Dominic Rhodes said. “He did a real good job of putting us deep in our territory, and their defense did a good job of keeping us there.”
Notes: Kaeding injured his groin when he slipped on the kickoff following Tomlinson’s touchdown. ... San Diego TE Antonio Gates, playing on a sprained ankle, had eight catches for 87 yards, including consecutive 11-yard receptions on the tying drive in the closing seconds of regulation.
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