Sunday, December 13, 2009

VSR: The Battle for My Soul (Chargers = Mo Rivera, Cowboys = Brad Lidge in 09))

I had dreaded this week's Chargers-Cowboys game for years. I knew at some point both of my teams would potentially meet and I'd have to choose loyalties. But I expected this moment by going with the team that was my first love - Dallas - and knowing full well that San Diego would probably win.

And there I was, watching the second half in my LaDainian Tomlinson jersey and my Cowboys beenie like I always said I would.

What I didnt expect was a close game between the defenses - a late TD and FG by the Chargers put the game on ice but it was a struggle all game. What I didn't expect was the Cowboys offense - despite struggling to move the ball - not making too many mistakes (although Barber on 3 straight plays from the 1-yard line shows a lack of creativity on coordinator Jason Garrett's part)

If not for Nick Folk missing a FG, that game is tied heading into OT. He's my goat and I'll placing this also at Wade Phillips feet. When a team can't win in December and is psychologically beaten, it's the coach's fault for not motivating his players to push past it.

I'll give my dude Shane his props for calling it close for Dallas (and he offered a great take on this implosion). The Chargers didn't run the ball well and I think we both expected that - but what I expected was Phillip Rivers to move the ball in the air on the Boys' secondary.

(And dont blame this on Tony Romo - he's a QB rating over 110 the past 2 weeks. As much as I criticized him earlier this year, he's doing his best to

For the past 2 years, I've said that the Chargers are what the Cowboys should aspire to - an efficient offense, an aggressive defense and a level of professionalism that allows them to play at a high level in every game. I never would've guessed I'd say that about a Norv Turner-coached team but I give more of that credit to Marty Schottenheimer's influence and Phillip Rivers' growth as a QB.

Under Rivers, the Chargers are 16-0 in December and have won their 8th straight. Under Tony Romo, the Cowboys have lost 7 of their last 9 in December and are down to a scary 2nd in the NFC East.

It's the difference between Mariano Rivera and Brad Lidge. One's the best closer in the game - a model of professionalism and efficiency. The other imploded this past year after a successful 2008 campaign. Guess which ones my teams are.

Now its back to rooting for my teams hard. Nobody wants to face the Chargers right now - especially the Colts - and the Cowboys have to good fortune of facing 13-0 New Orleans Thursday. Great.

(And prayers for DeMarcus Ware, who left the field with a sprained neck. Classy move by Tomlinson to be one of the last people to see him off.)

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