Well, due to an overwhelming tsunami of public demand, I'm going to start doing this column after every Bolts game I catch, whether it's in person, or, as in the case of today, on the television (hence the outside tag in the title). Obviously the content will be a scooch different, since there's not much jersey-spotting or Raider fan-fighting of interest on my couch…yet. Here are my points on this week's game, with unappreciated and uncredited input from the usual cast of characters, Ryan "Leaky Pipes" Thies, JJ "The Wall" Fiddler, Ryan "Not That Ryan" ZumMallen, and Shar "My Wife" Higa.
1. First carry, and LT looks like he's not full speed. JJ brings up his "Ferrari Theory"—LT is like a fine vehicle, that needs to be 100% to run right. A 1988 Celica can be pushed and prodded into decent performance, even if it has six things wrong with it. Loosen one lugnut on a Ferrari and you'll feel it.
2. The defense, with Jamal Williams healthy, is much improved, but still seems to lack first-half intensity for some reason. I've never coached an NFL team so I'm not sure how to turn that around. I imagine sharks would help, somehow. Any other suggestions?
3. Lost in the Merriman craziness is the fact that his replacement (ulp), Jyles Tucker, has been playing pretty good ball. He's not Lights Out, but he does have three sacks in the last two games, and he's a sure-footed tackler with a nose for the ball. Works for me.
4. ZumMallen decides that Ferrari is not an appropriate car analogy. He prefers a Lamborghini, or, his words, a LaDainbraghini. This could get ugly.
5. The Raiders decide to attempt a 432-yard field goal right before halftime. Is it me, or does this seem like Lane Kiffin smashing Al Davis' record collection on the way out the door?
6. The second half absolutely belongs to the Chargers in this game, as in this season. In four games, they've been outscored in the first two quarters 69-55, but have won the second two 83-33. In the second half, the offense moves the ball, scores three or four touchdowns on average, and everything looks great; the defense strips the ball, gets picks, and flies around. Why can't these things happen for the first thirty minutes of the game? Seriously, I want to know. I can't believe that Norm and Co. are making such staggeringly good halftime adjustments.
7. Furthering the first half/second half insanity, LT, who looked shaky in the first half, looks like…well, LT in the second half, with two touchdowns. Maybe I should just water plants or do Sudoku until I hear the halftime music from now on…
8. Side note: when LT scored the 41-yarder, my living room went nuts, and I think JJ might have spilled Dr. Pepper on my computer. After seeing the classic LT celebration, left hand at his ear, right arm extended as he flips the ball away casually, I decide it's worth it.
9. The Raiders are really bad. I'd feel sorry for them if they weren't, you know, the Raiders. Kiffin's definitely losing his job some time next week, the exclamation point on a great, if inconsistent, game by the Chargers. I keep reminding myself that they were 1-3 and awful at this point last season, but…I'm still nervous. Hold me, reader.
10. Parting shot: it's insane that I'm more worried about playing the Dolphins in Miami next week than I am about hosting the Pats the Sunday after. What's wrong with you, NFL?