Nate, along with Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason, Bill Cowher and host James Brown will kick off CBS’ coverage of the game on Sunday afternoon at 12 p.m. Eastern Time.,CBS Local Sports: Philip Rivers doesn’t have the best history against Brady and the Patriots, going 1-7 in his career and 0-2 in the postseason.,CBS Local Sports: The Chargers coaching staff came up with an impressive game plan to stop the Ravens last Sunday.,CBS Local Sports: In the other AFC game, the Chiefs host the Colts.,That is important because, going into a game like this with Pat Mahomes, you can have a similar gameplan but you have to be sure that when you send a blitz it lands.
It came down to the wire, but the Los Angeles Chargers and Eaton's Austin Ekeler survived to advance on Sunday in the National Football League playoffs.,Not only did Ekeler – an undrafted free agent from Western Colorado State in 2017 — arrive at the game in this splashy shirt but he had 43 yards from scrimmage — rushing and receiving.,Ekeler, after a standout career at Western from 2013-17, found his way to Los Angeles after the 2017 NFL Draft.,This season, Ekeler had 958 yards from scrimmage with six touchdowns this season including one TD last week in the season finale in Denver in front of family and friends.,He tweeted a photo on Sunday morning, hours before the Chargers' win and last week Ekeler talked about his journey to the NFL in a conversation with national sports radio host Jim Rome.
Gus Bradley was successful in coming up with a game plan to thwart an athletic rookie quarterback making his first postseason start.,A day after Los Angeles advanced with a 23-17 victory over Baltimore in an AFC wild-card game, Bradley and the rest of the Chargers were beginning to prepare to face the most experienced postseason quarterback in NFL history in Tom Brady, who will make his 38th playoff start for New England on Sunday.,According to Sportradar, the 58 snaps are the most any team has gone with quarter personnel (seven defensive backs) in any game since the NFL's Next Gen Stats came online in 2014.,Lynn said he was surprised by Bradley's idea to use it the entire game and that it led to lots of discussion with the coaching staff leading up to the game, but in the end it was the best move to make.,Bradley's strategy in that game was to use six defensive backs on 53 of 82 plays.
Austin Ekeler, an Eaton High School graduate and second-year running back for the Los Angeles Chargers, talked about his career and the team’s preparations for the upcoming National Football League playoffs during an appearance on a national sports radio show on Wednesday.,Ekeler, who graduated from Eaton in 2013 before ending up with the Chargers as an undrafted-free agent in 2017, spoke with Jim Rome on The Jim Rome Show in a 9-minute conversation that touched on the Baltimore Ravens — the Chargers’ opponent in an AFC Wild Card game on Sunday — and Ekeler’s strength that led Los Angeles coach Anthony Lynn to call him pound for pound the strongest guy on the team.,Ekeler told Rome his work in the weight room dates to his days as a student at Eaton.,Ekeler broke nearly every school rushing record at Western, he was an All-American and a finalist his senior year for the Harlon Hill Trophy — the Division II version of the Heisman Trophy.,Rome asked Ekeler about finishing his degree at Western Colorado after his first season with the Chargers.
It’s the first NFL playoff appearance for Gordon, who just completed his fourth regular season by being selected to the Pro Bowl for the second time.,Q: Does being around a guy who’s played that long kind of teach you that opportunities to compete in the playoffs, to go to a Super Bowl, don’t come around very often?,“And I think that came out on the field, and obviously I got hurt (Gordon missed three games late in the season with a knee injury), and it kind of took it away from me a little bit.,But just being around those guys — like I said, man, I don’t want to get winded with this — but just seeing (those) guys, them being around and not having this many opportunities to be in the postseason, or have a (run) to the Super Bowl probably once or twice, I’m taking this moment.,Q: I’m sure you wanted to play when that knee injury forced you out for three games.
In their first season in Indianapolis, head coach Frank Reich, left, and offensive coordinator and Jamestown native Nick Sirianni have guided the Colts into the playoffs.,Father Fran, a member of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, coached Southwestern High School from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s; brother Mike is the head coach at Washington & Jefferson College where he has compiled one of the best winning percentages in the NCAA; and brother Jay coached Southwestern to a pair of New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships in 2008 and 2009.,Once the youngest Sirianni arrived at the University of Mount Union, he played for Larry Kehres, who guided the Purple Raiders to 11 national championships in his career.,Upon his graduation, Sirianni began his climb up the coaching ranks with stops at Mount Union, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the Kansas Chiefs and the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, before joining Reich’s staff in Indianapolis last February.,“One of the reasons I’m in the position I’m in now is because of the successful coaches I’ve been around, starting with growing up in a coach’s house, learning how to coach with my brothers, and then, obviously, playing for the most successful coach in NCAA football history in Larry Kehres,” he told The Post-Journal last October.
According to Pro Football Focus, James graded out as the fifth-best safety during the regular season, including second in pass coverage.,James' run-stopping and pass-rushing skills will be needed against the Ravens, who come into the game ranked second in the league in rushing.,James is the 13th-best safety against the run, according to Pro Football Focus, and eighth in pass rushing.,With both teams likely not changing their strategy from two weeks ago, James likes the fact the Ravens are focused on the run.,The first two times were in college when James was at Florida State and Jackson was at Louisville.
And it should serve as a reminder to the rest of the AFC playoff field that even though the Patriots may have looked vulnerable at times this season, and even though Brady himself may not be the MVP quarterback he was a year ago, and even though New England has some shaky losses on its record, the fact is that Bill Belichick’s team is back where it always is: playing meaningful football in January.,Over the past seven seasons, the Patriots have gone 7-0 in the divisional round, winning by an average of 17 points per game.,But if the Texans can come up with a timely interception or two — the way they did in Foxboro during a playoff game two years ago — then it could lead to some tense moments in Foxboro for the home team.,They led the AFC with over 150 rushing yards per game and 19 rushing touchdowns on the season.,They ranked first in the NFL in yards allowed (293/game), second in points allowed (17.9/game), fourth in rushing yards allowed, fifth in passing yards allowed, third in third-down defense and second in opponent passer rating.