Bolts Shocked In Opener


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.

Tags: Antoine Cason Antonio Gates Carolina Panthers D.J. Hackett Dante Rosario Jake Delhomme Shawne Merriman Steve Smith

  • http://www.pompomboo.com PomPomBoo

    Panic? I’m not panicking. It’s morbidly disappointing. I haven’t felt numb like this since they lost the divisional playoff game against the Patsies in 2007 and the wild card game against the Jets in 2005. Is there a pattern or curse in this city?

  • http://www.BoltBeat.com Johnny Heck

    To be a Chargers fan, you must be a glutton for punishment. On and off the field, this team takes it on the chin more than most.
    It’s still week 1, so I don’t know if I would rank it up there with the playoff losses, but it’s one Bolts fans won’t soon forget.

  • Walker

    Props to Chris Harris making Gates fumble for the first time since his opening day.

    The Panthers will be an NFC force this season, no Steve Smith? No Problem.

  • http://www.BoltBeat.com Johnny Heck

    NFC force? I’m far from sold on that. Mediocre division could mean a playoff berth, however.

  • Walker

    I could easily argue that the Bolt’s division is weaker than the NFC South. The Chiefs, The Broncos, and the Raiders play in your division. Denver is pretty good, but the other two are just awful this season.

    Tamba Bay had the Number One Defense last season, and New Orleans has a very potent offense. Add that to fact that Atlanta and Carolina had a very potent first game and I say that the NFC South is the next to strongest division in football. (NFC East is stronger.)

  • http://www.BoltBeat.com Johnny Heck

    Walker, you can argue that the AFC West is weaker than the NFC South… and you would be right. I totally agree that the Panthers are in a tougher dvision than the Chargers.

    The NFC South is so evenly matched that it’s a four way fight for the crown right until the end. The Falcons are probably more on the bottom end, but they sure looked good last week.