Waiting through the offseason for a game like yesterdays is tantamount to going to Disneyland, standing hours in line for Pirates of the Caribbean, then at the end of the ride one of the animatronic pirates kicks you in the nuggets.
An opening day shocker that will sting for a while, the Carolina Panthers left San Diego with a well-earned victory.
On paper, it makes absolute sense that the team who held the ball last would win. The Panthers had a slight edge in everything from total yards to time of possession, and they needed every tick of the clock to pull this one out.
With time expiring, Jake Delhomme scrambled and found tight end Dante Rosario for a game winning 14-yard TD pass. For San Diego residents, that brief windstorm was actually the collective gasp of fans at Qualcomm Stadium upon seeing the last second heroics. Coming off surgery, Delhomme looked solid and will give Panthers fans plenty to cheer for this year.
Philip Rivers chalked up three touchdown passes himself, but the game came down to big defensive plays in the second half. Rookie Antoine Cason slammed D.J. Hackett, forcing a fumble, and setting up Rivers’ third touchdown of the day. With 2:27 left and a stellar Chargers ‘D’, game over, right?
Not so much.
Delhomme and the Panthers offense put on a textbook two-minute drill and embarrassed the Chargers at home.
Super Bowl Bolt talk premature? If this team can’t handle business at home (where they are now 16-2) the Chargers will be in trouble.
It’s still week one. Don’t even look in the vicinity of the panic button. All energy needs to be diverted toward Denver. Put this one in the review mirror.
The Good- Shawne Merriman is fine. Antonio Gates is too, despite a fumble.
The Bad- The absence of Panthers receiver Steve Smith should have made it an easy day for the Charger corners. The only big play came from a rookie.
The Fuggly- Better to be a media darling than laughing stock. The Bolts can’t come out of the gate looking average. They have to prove they’re a force in the AFC and deserve the preseason props.