This is another one of those flashbacks where we have to go back four years to find the last time the Chargers met their upcoming opponent. That's to expected, of course, with an NFC team. Here, we go back to the 2007 season to look at the time the Chargers traveled to Wisconsin to face the Green Bay Packers. This was an interesting game, in that the Chargers were coming off a pretty embarrassing loss to the Patriots on the road, while the Packers were off to a good start for the first time in several years.
This matchup would prove to be all about the quarterbacks. Brett Favre was in his last season with Green Bay (though we all didn't know it at the time), while Philip Rivers was only in his second year as the starting quarterback and was still making a name for himself. Both QBs were extremely accurate and efficient--Rivers completed his first fourteen passing attempts, and 15 of his first 16 including two touchdowns.Favre, however, was just as accurate, throwing for two touchdowns of his own and giving Green Bay a 17-14 halftime lead. The Chargers weren't done, however, and took the opening kickoff of the second half 80 yards downfield, and capped it off with a third Rivers touchdown pass, this time a 21 yard screen to LaDainian Tomlinson. The two teams then proceeded to trade punts while San Diego attempted to protect a 21-17 lead. A key moment came when the Packers, facing 4th and goal from the San Diego 1 yard line, let Favre try to throw the ball into the end zone so he could tie (or break, I can't really remember which) Dan Marino's career TD pass record.
Thanks to some nifty coverage by Shaun Phillips, the ball fell incomplete, and San Diego took over on downs. It wasn't going to be terribly easy, though, as they were essentially at the 6-inch line, under the shadow of their own goalposts. To Rivers's credit, he picked up a first down on 3rd and 8 when he hit Antonio Gates for an 18-yard gainer up the sideline. Unfortunately, the Chargers weren't able to do much more after that and were forced to punt it away. They'd pay the price.
One play after punting, Favre found Greg Jennings for a 57-yard touchdown, giving the Packers the lead. San Diego had just over two full minutes and a pair of timeouts, however, so it was entirely doable for Rivers to lead the Chargers back. Four plays into the two-minute drill, though, Rivers was picked off by Nick Barnett, who returned it all the way back to the SD two yard line. Two running plays later, the score was suddenly 31-21 Green Bay with only a minute left in the game. The Chargers would manage to tack on a field goal, but the Packers recovered the ensuing onside-kick attempt, and the game was over.
I had the pleasure (displeasure?) of watching this game with my mother-in-law, who is a rabid Packer fan. By the end, I got to hear all about "#4!" and "we're going all the way!", and various other things. What's even more fun, is that I plan on attending this weekend's match-up, also with aforementioned mother-in-law. Yay?