It”s going to be just about impossible for a playoff game tomorrow or maybe even next week to top the won recently completed in San Diego, with the Chargers beating the Colts 23-17 in a thrilling overtime game.

Both defenses played very, very well. San Diego”s, while failing to get consistent pressure on Manning, or at least enough to make him press and make mistakes, contained him and his aresenal of weapons enough, allowing their offense to take advantage. The running game for the Colts, even though they tried their best to establish it, was once again nonexistent. For the most part, San Diego”s secondary didn”t allow any big plays to be made, and forced seventeen Manning incompletions. The only exception was the third-quarter touchdown, when, trying to get players onto the field, the Chargers weren”t ready and Manning hit Reggie Wayne for a long, momentum-grabbing touchdown pass. It just shows how smart Peyton is, and why he fully deserves the MVP award.

Indianapolis also played well against the Chargers” offense, which was seemingly at a big disadvantage because LT, with a bad hamstring injury, could handle just five carries. Phillips Rivers was constantly under pressure and forced to get out of the pocket, and didn”t have a good statistical game with no touchdowns and an interception. However, considering the defenders chasing after him, I thought he played a gutsy, tough game while not being afraid to make a play whatever the cost. Still, only Antonio Gates and Chris Chambers did anything in the passing game; Vincent Jackson couldn”t even manage one measly catch.

The big reason why the Chargers were able to stay with the Colts, though, were two unexpected heroes: running back Darren Sproles and punter Mike Scifres.

That”s right, a friggin” punter. Scifres, following many frustrating drives, gave the Chargers the field-position advantage with a stellar average of 51.7 and six punts – yes SIX – inside the twenty, putting the Colts” offense at a huge disadvantage. Without him, I”m not sure San Diego would have been able to stick with the Colts, who outplayed them by just a little bit in regulation.

Sproles was superb in place of Tomlinson, gaining one hundred and five online casinos australia yards with two touchdowns, including the big game-winner. To me, he proved to be an everydown back worthy of signing next offseason, as, despite his very small frame, he hits the holes with blinding speed and than attacks defenders with seemingly impossible power for someone so small. He helped the Chargers control the time of possession, another key factor in the tie score at the end of the fourth quarter.

In overtime, the normally disciplined Colts self-destructed. The good play of Rivers also contributed to the Chargers driving down the field to get into Colts” territory. But, the three penalties – an unnecessary facemask and two defensive holdings – really made it simpler. Sproles ended the game with an outstanding twenty-two yard touchdown run. I”ll give him nearly all of the credit for it, but the Colts did miss several tackles, yet another miscue in overtime.

So, San Diego will advance to the second round, while Indianapolis will go home. What a great game this was, with both defenses limiting what the opposing quarterbacks could do in a back-and-forth battle, with an ending that should be played many times in OT. Both teams had opportunities to win in regulation – Sproles fumbled at the Colts” two yard line earlier in the game for a touchback, and the Colts just needed to convert on a third-and-two to put the Chargers away – but neither team made the most of them. I guess that the 8-8 San Diego Chargers were good enough to deserve a playoff spot, beating the AFC”s hottest team in the final two months of the season.