Remember the theme in Jurassic Park, where you couldn't contain evolution, because it "would find a way" ? That's what the Patriots are like. If you haven't figured it out by now, they find a way to win. The key in this game was pretty much Charger coach Marty Schottenheimer, who should retire immediately on account of gross incompetence. You could see the wheels coming off when Marty challenged a 3-sigma turning point play where Brady threw an interception on 4th down, but the Chargers fumbled the ball back to New England on the same play! When Marty donned the headset, you knew it was all over. The timeout Schottenheimer wasted probably would have been useful in the end... when instead he was forced to send out Keading to attempt a 54 yard field goal.
How did it get to that point? Let's see... Schottenheimer declined to attempt a 47 yard field goal early on in a 4th and 11 situation, instead settling for a 7 yard sack on fourth down - nice hand sir. After making Brady look like an incompetent rookie throughout the first half, San Diego allowed him to revert to the Championship Brady for the final two minutes of the first half, where he led the Pats on a 2 minute drill touchdown drive which kept them in the game. San Diego fumbled a punt... San Diego had an incomprehensible personal foul penalty which extended a Patriots drive. Brady threw 3 interceptions, but San Diego was unable to capitalize on them... San Diego started with the ball 1) at midfield, 2) at the Patriot 47 yard line, 3) at their own 41 yard line, 4) at the Patriot 32 yard line, and 5) at their own 40 yard line on drives in which they scored ZERO points. And Tom Brady did just enough when it mattered to lead his team to victory.
Oh - and the second dumbest coaching decision of the day came from Chicago Bears Coach Lovie Smith: After sacking Seattle QB Matt Hasselback near his own 45 yard line with under 20 seconds left in the first half, Lovie let the clock run down to 2 seconds before calling timeout. Maybe he figured that he'd be forcing Seattle to punt to his lethal return man Devin Hester. On the other hand, maybe Lovie is retarded: if he called timeout right after the sack, Seattle would have had to punt. Instead, they dropped back for a final free-roll hail mary attempt, which ended harmlessly with Hasselback throwing the ball out of bounds - but that doesn't make Lovie's decision any less idiotic.
Quotes of the weekend: I believe it was Dick Stockton who said "they threw that right at Ed Reed - the human ball magnet," which was trumped only by Phill Simms: "If you've never played against Tom Brady, he really likes to stick it into some tight places."
Well said gentlemen.