The Justice Files

It got to the point on Sunday Night that I actually had to turn the sound off. For the second time this season, the ESPN broadcast crew brought me to the brink of nausea. During our game against the Giants, you would have thought that LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates and Drew Brees were mere flashes in the pan compared to Eli "Jughead" Manning. Against the Traitors, the Bolts were similarly ignored and disrespected in Prime Time.

When Paul Maguire actually started defending Al Davis' reputation by asking if the people who criticize him know him personally, I had to put my iPod on. Maguire went on to say that he's indebted to Davis for getting his career started. I think that would hardly make your opinion an objective one, Paulie. As for the rest of us "outsiders," Davis' paranoid dealings, relocations and lawsuits are all we have to go on. As for Chargers fans, it's required to hate Oakland. It's written into our DNA.

Sure, the Traitors have had classy players worthy of our respect. But more often than not, the team mirrors the fans (and vice versa). Both groups care far more about upholding their sleazy image than anything else.

When I was first becoming obsessed with the Bolts at the tender age of nine, I sent in a letter to NBC's "What's Your Sports Fantasy?" show. If you don't remember the program, it ran back when Bryant Gumbel covered the NFL. I wrote that my fantasy was to catch a touchdown pass from Dan Fouts (while wearing my Wes Chandler jersey) in the corner of the end zone of Oakland Alameda County Coliseum. Seated on a folding chair just behind the rear pylon, would be Al Davis, sweatsuit and all. After hauling in the score, I imagined, I would spike the ball as hard as I could into his head. The Dark Lord would lay unconscious as I jogged off the field. The only response I received from NBC was something along the lines of "You are a very sick boy."

During our first game against Oakland this year, the Traitors themselves were talking all sorts of trash. On Sunday Night, I commented to my wife that Marty Schottenheimer should learn from the Buffalo game and take the starters out before there was an injury. Of course, the Traitors would be especially likely to injure one of our own. I thought that LaDainian Tomlinson "conned" Schottenheimer into letting him back in because he was frustrated that he was unable to big up any of his usual big gains against Oakland. You could see how pissed LT was on the sidelines. While our line didn't really open up any big gains for LaDainian, I'm sure he was additionally angry over the cheap shot he took.

Drew Brees did an excellent job of not forcing the ball into coverage. His accuracy was a little off early on, which caused Sammy to suggest that his confidence may have been shaken from the Washington game. She may have been right, but Drew soon found seams in Oakland's coverage. Eric Parker continues to really impress me. I can't understand why his strong play hasn't gotten more recognition this year.

Jamar Fletcher, another of my pet crusades, also had a strong game. The only thing that Theismann said all night that I agreed with was his constant commentary that Quentin Jammer was giving Randy Moss way too much of a cushion. While Jammer hasn't been nearly as mistake prone lately, I really worry what will happen when teams start attacking him over the next month. I can't imagine The Organization resigning him next year. Maybe Fletch will see more action then.

The only two things that still perplex me is a) why Schottenheimer continues to allow Keading to kick off and b) why Merriman comes out on 3rd downs. As for the former topic, Nate's kick never go past the 15. Scifres has shown he can kick it deep regularly. His 71-yard punt was a thing of beauty. Our kick coverage has been much improved over the last two games, but Keading's chip shots are making it much harder on the Bolts than need be. As for Merriman, he seems to be in the backfield on almost every play. I guess no one's talking about him committing a Rivers-like gaffe by missing the majority of the preseason anymore. Personally, I think that the Bolts should play Peter Wolf's "Lights Out" after every one of his big plays. Or maybe they could blast Springsteen's Badlands:

"Lights out tonight,

trouble in the heartland.

Got a head-on collision

smashing through my guts, man."

Yeah, I actually think about this stuff. I will actually be in San Diego for Sunday's game. So if any of you Left Coast Faithful want to meet up, drop me a line.

Until Next Week,

-RLW


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