Chargers knock off the Colts 23-17 in overtime


The San Diego Chargers were 4-8 five weeks ago and all but dead. Now they are on a five game winning streak and will travel either to Pittsburgh or Tennessee for the second round of the AFC playoffs.

And most importantly they are just two games from the Super Bowl.

It’s an incredible run from mediocrity to potential AFC champions, but after knocking off Peyton Manning and the Colts on Saturday night it’s how San Diego has become the Cinderellas of the AFC playoffs. The Chargers are the equivilant of a NCAA Tournament team that had to win it’s conference tournament just to get in that wins a few games to reach the Sweet 16.

Trailing, 17-14 the Chargers appeared to be ready to take the lead. Instead Darren Sproles fumbled at the 2 yard line and the Colts recovered in the endzone. Then on 3rd & 2 with the Colts knowing a first down would advance them to round two the Chargers came up with a gigantic sack at the 1 yard line.

San Diego then took advantage of the of the great field position and got a game tying field goal.  In overtime the Chargers needed a 3rd & 11 and gave it to the guy they gave it to all night long–Darren Sproles–who picked up the first down. Later on the drive it was Sproles who ran the ball into the endzone to win the game 23-17.

Darren Sproles will be the Michael Turner of this year’s free agency. If somebody doesn’t pick him up in a hurry with a large contract I will be completely surprised.  The guy has shined every time he’s needed to and when Ladanian Tomlinson left in the second quarter with the nagging groin injury that has been bothering him all week the Chargers confidently placed in Sproles. I feel pretty confident when I say that he’d probably start for most teams in the league.

The Chargers-Colts series seems to always offer a lot of fun games.  In the regular season last year Peyton Manning struggled with 6 INTs and then Adam Vinatieri missed a chip shot field goal to win the game. In the playoffs last year San Diego knocked off the Colts in Indianapolis. This year Vinatieri hit a long field goal to beat San Diego.

Then there was Saturday night where it didn’t come down to Manning or Vinateri. Instead it came down to a couple of defensive penalties by the Colts and a couple of huge plays by Sproles.

Manning played well going 25 of 42 for 310 yards, but other than a long completion to Reggie Wayne for a quick score (when the Chargers defense wasn’t set) Indianapolis had to settle for underneath throws most of the night. Sproles was the main star with 22 carries for 105 yards.

How far will Cinderella go? The Chargers are hoping they make it all the way to the ball.