For most Chargers fans, these few phrases were enough to make their Sunday morning start with an all-too-familiar, “Well, I’m just hoping it’s a good game” attitudes.
After some coffee and a few desperate sighs of hope, they came to Section D3 to at least enjoy the pre-game festivities. (And boy, did we.)
You could kind of sense it though, right when our playlist started to up the ante about an hour before kick-off. Despite a rowdy and very fun crew of Starbucks stock-owning, sun-fearing ‘Hawks fans, some confidence—probably beer-based—filtered in through the heat. It was a confidence we would need come kick-off. And it helped.
Yesterday, the tailgate performance matched what we saw on the field. In an almost perfect balance of game plan and execution, the Chargers took down the reigning NFL Champions, a team so many have been very quick to crown as the team most likely to be lifting that big gold football again next February.
But here’s the thing: this wasn’t a fluke win. It didn’t come from a freak turnover or a ball end-over-ending inside a goal post with only inches and seconds to spare. There was a plan to this win, the same plan since Mike McCoy became head coach: keep the pigskin out of the hands of the guys who are paid to put it in your end zone and things will probably work out for the best.
However, the ‘Hawks hype is not without merit. That’s a damn tough defense. So McCoy’s plan needed to be taken seriously and rolled out with confidence. In a way, Seattle helped. Each of their scoring drives were quick; it’s not like they didn’t have chances to earn possession time.
Pete Carroll, one would think, would have recognized the toll the heat and offensive coordinator Frank Reich’s plans were having on their defense.
However, Seattle’s coaching staff clearly looked to their reputable, often vocal defense to hold Rivers and Gates in check, so why not just score as soon as you are able? It was a plan that didn’t go well for the team in neon green and blue.
In fact, it was the Chargers defense that stole the day, proving again what everyone knows: lightening is the best part of any “booming” thunderstorm.
Gates’ classic performance not withstanding, when Seattle needed to score quickly, at a time when it most critical, they were stymied by hard, clean tackling, quick route detection, and a booming Qualcomm Stadium.
After a few hours in the swampy humidity, the team more used to playing under the sun left with the W. And the team accustomed to shadowed cold and hard rains were left longing for it.
But put on a happy face Seahawks fans, at least you got to spend some time in San Diego, where the grey skies always clear up.