Chargers’ running back Darren Sproles scores the winning touchdown after a 22yd run into the endzone depriving the Colts of a berth in the divisional round of the playoffs. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Harry How ………………..
The unlikely hero in all of this wasn’t their Pro Bowl running back LaDainian Tomlinson but the soon to be unrestricted free agent Darren Sproles. The player more than held his own against the Colts and if anything created a reason why he may well be one of the most sought after free agents once the postseason reaches its climax. Sproles would go on to garner over 328 all purpose yards in the game against Indianapolis.
Sproles gains some yardage against the Colts . The player would gain in excess of some 328 all purpose yards during the game played at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Ca,. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Harry How ………………………..
Three time league MVP Peyton Manning was his usual customary efficient self but it was all to no avail against a Chargers’ team that played with such voracity and passion. The fans in Indianapolis had to be disheartened seeing their team succumb to their AFC rivals. Phillip Rivers for his part was his counterpart’s equal and led his team with resolve.
Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning gives his postgame interview to the convened press after his teama’s loss 23-17 loss in overtime to the San Diego Chargers . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn …………………..
For coach Norv Turner this was a game that may well add some legitimacy to his resume’ as a coach. Being in the shadows of more recognized stalwarts such as Jimmy Johnson , Dave Wannstedt and others who were a part of the Dallas Cowboys’ success in the nineties. That was when the boys in Big D were running rampant across the league on their way to two successive Superbowls under Johnson’s guidance. Wherein the likes of Aikman, Irvin and Smith were laying the foundations to their Hall of Fame careers.
Phillip Rivers of the Chargers signals a play call prior to the snap against the Indianapolis Colts . picture appears courtesy of ap/getty images / Stephen Dunn …………
While one can’t understate the success that the Chargers saw this season as winners of a rather mediocre AFC West division. Having waylaid the ambitions of a Denver Broncos’ team that was totally outplayed in their final regular season game. The San Diego Chargers found their way into the playoffs as wildcard entrant. The fact that their renewed rivalry would culminate in a heart pounding defeat of the Colts . If there was a team viewed as a dark horse within the conference it had to be the Indianapolis Colts. Their nine game regular season ending win streak bore this out. Having ended with a record of 12-4 and runners up in the AFC South to the Tennessee Titans. The team were playing perhaps the best of any of the AFC teams with postseason aspirations.
To see how this game played out over the remaining minutes as it entered ovetime was to witness a chess game between two equally compelling figures with a great deal to play for, more than just bragging rights. Just like chess masters this game came down to who’d be the first to make a mistake. And that’s what it did take in the end as the Colts gave up a play that’d lead to Antrelle Rolle collecting an intended pass by Manning, for an interception that would give San Diego the chance they needed to make this a certainty as to its outcome. Sproles would become the hero the team was not expecting. The long sought after heroes viewed on the team such as Rivers and Tomlinson played their part but in reality it was Darren Sproles who paved the way for this exhilarating victory.
The 23-17 victory by the Chargers albeit in overtime may well have been the win that brought some respectability back for the team this season. But for the Indianapolis Colts the result itself may well now play out like a nightmare. With the result seemingly within their grasp they gave up the play that sealed their fate and for Tony Dungy’s players the season ended somewhat on a sour note. They’ll be thinking about this with an even bigger sense of regret and the mere fact that they’ll now be back on their way home with nothing to play for.
Now for the fans of the Chargers their postseason aspirations are what they are. And whether or not they can play alongside the likes of the Pittsburgh Steelers ,Tennessee Titans,Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins remains to be seen. But it’ll be interesting to see how this whole scenario plays itself out. The script was written but someone forgot to remind Darren Sproles and his teammates as to the outline of the plotline.