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2023 Long Island EFL AFC Divisional Championship Game: Baltimore Ravens (4-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (6-1)

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Long Island EFL T O U R N A M E N T  O F  C H A M P I O N S


(Long Island Electric Football League) Written By Levi Vick. It has been another exciting Tournament of Champions this season. The intensity and rise to battle has certainly not what we expected. The final four are some incredible matchups. In fact, it's all about the matchups at this point. 

We finally reached the AFC Divisional Championships, and in this case Coach Ed Viggs Chargers are one of the most winningest teams in the league, but they are not without flaws. Ravens coach Johnny-Freeport is a master at exposing people's flaws. He's been doing it his entire career professionally.  Let's start with the Chargers defense. Los Angeles had the #2 ranked defense in the league. They allowed only 74 points against opposing offenses, but this year on offense, the Chargers offense wasn't what it usually is. They were #13th in AFC offensive rankings with 100 points scored, tied with Cincinnati.

IRON.jpg.2fe468c88321cac2756eeb25118acb58.jpgTHE FINAL FOUR PRE-GAME: Who will be the Iron Giant of 2023? The Los Angeles Chargers have been a very consistent electric football team, all except the Championship Games. The Chargers fell short in LIEFL-Super Bowl XIV against the Los Angeles Rams, 31-28. Since that time Los Angeles has not made many changes on either side of the ball prior to this year. In 2019, in the AFC Divisional Championship Game, Los Angeles lost to Buffalo in one of the most disputed games in LIEFL Playoff History 49-48, in a huge contentious issue over time. Then in 2020, the Chargers lost to Miami in the AFC Championship Game 32-27, and finally, in 2022, LA lost to Miami for the second consecutive time in the AFC Divisional Championship Game, 42-35! Will the Chargers fold against the red-hot Baltimore Ravens? Suddenly, underdog Johnny-Freeport has become the hunter instead of the hunted in the league, which brings great drama to some exciting games in this Davey versus Goliath matchup!

That answer to the "who will fold" question is up to Coach Johnny-Freeport's Wild Card #5 Baltimore Ravens (4-4) to answer. The Ravens are at Coach Ed Viggs #1 Los Angeles Chargers( 6-1) in the first AFC Divisional Championship Game, and facing Coach Joe Bino's #2 Indianapolis Colts (7-1) are Bino's the Wild Card #6 Miami Dolphins (6-2), who will square off in a war! Coach Bobby Biggs will be the alternate coach selected by Coach Joe Bino to play with Bino's Indianapolis Colts. This decision was questioned by the league, but Bino thinks that Biggs play-style compliments the Colts play! It is Bino's choice.

In the NFC Divisional Championship Games it will be the Coach Ed Viggs #1 unbeaten Washington Redskins (7-0) hosting Coach Johnny-Freeport's  Wild Card #5 Atlanta Falcons (6-2) in the first game, followed by Game two between Coach Paddy Brannigan's Wild Card #7 Chicago Bears (5-3) will play Coach Matt Zoo-York's Carolina Panthers (6-2) at Carolina! 

On paper, it may seem like a mismatch between the Ravens against the Chargers, but reality is, Los Angeles has been in this spot many times before as seven-time AFC West Champs, and Chargers Coach Ed Viggs sees Johnny-Freeport's determination in his chase for a Super Bowl win. Since the 2008 inaugural seven-game season format in the LIEFL Los Angeles has a (38-18) regular season record, and in the postseason they are (5-4) with three AFC Championship Game and one Super Bowl appearance!

What is different about the Chargers this season is a slow but systematic change in how Coach Ed Viggs sees his offense. Instead of LaDainian Tomlinson being the major shareholder touching the ball, Viggs is trying to get other players to score more points in his offensive system, but so far, his analytics has failed. Tomlinson finished #8 in AFC rushing with 38 carries for 401-yards with seven touchdowns, versus his 2022 numbers where the star had 55 rushes for a league best 743-yards rushing with 12 touchdowns. That is a major shift for the Chargers offense, and in looking at these numbers it is clear that Viggs plan is not working. He thought that Lance Alworth would be the difference maker, but Viggs started using Alworth mid season. Alworth has performed great, but it seems Tomlinson needs the touches to stay in the game. Alworth has taken away 11 touches and 672-yards, including four touchdowns from Tomlinson by handling the kick return responsibilities, but Viggs contends that the Chargers have had the same results, a (6-1) record. "These big games on paper are nice, but they may be misleading when it comes to productivity and reality on the field. What is missing in stats is coaching decisions. I would say that 75% of my losses are my own doing. We all can improve and that is my goal, to always improve so my teams perform better. I don't get entangled in the emotional side of things. The numbers that matter to me are the wins and the losses, and in the big games like this where as coaches we need to be ready for anything. We beat the Ravens once, and we will have to beat them again if we want to make a Super Bowl. Johnny-Freeport and I have the same goal, but it comes down to who wants it more. I think we have equal coaching ability and I just have to bring some surprises today," said Coach Viggs.


download.png.96e5ef270529c2a47495d3d499d23bd0.pngAfter what we've seen in Johnny-Freeport's Ravens, the excitement filled the air! No one really knew what to expect, but the former athletes Ed Viggs certainly had his game face on, and a towering and imposing 6'4" 250 pound Johnny-Freeport came walking through the the door to play! Viggs is an all-day 60 minute guy. He won't give in!

On the opening kickoff Lance Alworth ran back a fast 54-yard return. On the field, Chargers LIEFL All-Pro running back LaDainian Tomlinson LT, has been a great running back behind a mountainous front line led by Earl Faison, Ernie Ladd, and Russ Washington, but from the opening kickoff it was evident that the Ravens came to battle! This isn't the same Ravens team that we saw in the last week of the regular season. It's beautiful to watch teams grow, and the Baltimore aura has arrived!  It took the Chargers of the entire first quarter to score a touchdown in a battle Los Angeles expected. LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 12 yards on first down. Tomlinson was met with great resistance by the resurging Ravens defense led by Willie Anderson, Marshall Yanda, and LIEFL All-Pro Jon Ogden.  On the next play, the Ravens stopped Tomlinson again! Then on second down Tomlinson ran for three yards. On 3rd down, he was stuffed again behind the line of scrimmage.

bally9ART.thumb.jpg.06b061a47081aad1421e73a37c8f294c.jpgIt took two more running plays for Coach Viggs to decide to pass the ball when he connected with receiver Kellen Winslow Sr., on a 19-yard pass play, bringing the ball to the Baltimore 13-yard line. LaDainian Tomlinson finally got into the end zone on a big 13-yard run as the first quarter came to a close with the score, Chargers 7-0, in the lead. Coach Viggs strikes first, using up the entire first quarter.

The Ravens came storming right back with a 56-yard kick return by LIEFL All-Pro Derrick Mason. Jamal Lewis picked up where he left off the last two games with a relentless Ravens running attack. Lewis had a 12-yard first down on his first run, and then on second down he exploded 33-yards into the end zone to tie the score at 7-7! What a play by the Ravens. They seem in sinct and the teamwork is incredible. 

It was Coach Ed Viggs again, killing the clock with a 66 yard kick return by Lance Alworth. On first down, LaDainian Tomlinson who ran for two yards and then LT exploded for 27 more yards on second down as the Chargers found suddenly found themselves at the four-yard line of Baltimore. On the next two plays Los Angeles got roughed up and stomped back 16-yards with an attitude by the Ravens defense to bring up a third down, where they called a time out with 2:28 remaining in the half! What a great war! We don't know really what Johnny Freeport did to inspire these Ravens, but they are playing tough!
Picking up on the play on 3rd down with 2:28 remaining in the half, it was receiver Lance Alworth who broke free at the 21 yardline and into the end zone to give the Chargers the 14-7 lead! The Ravens have to call their second timeout! Holy cow! Derrick Mason returned a short 41-yard kick on the ensuing kickoff, but did he make up for it on the first play from scrimmage with a 59-yard bomb into the end zone on a great pass play by Johnny Freeport to tie the score at 14-14! Running side by side with Mason was Tomlinson on the coverage! And like magic the game is tied with 23 seconds remaining in the half! The Chargers used their first time out of the half!bally5ART.thumb.jpg.26ece946a8972b5d37f2ae7d2551a97e.jpg

This game is all about executing the big plays! On the ensuing and final kickoff for the Chargers in the first half, Lance Alworth ran back a stunning and speedy 87-yard kick return to the 12-yard line of the Ravens! Los Angeles had to make a choice here. It's like deja Vu from the Falcons-Packers game with the choices. It seemed coach Viggs had to make a similar choice yesterday and that play didn't work out for his Packers. Let's see if the Chargers have any luck. So what will he do on this play? Does he choose to take the lead by three, or does he go for it all and the shoot for the touchdown?

Coach Viggs chose to go for it all! And on a trick play Viggy ran a clever quarterback sneak around the Ravens defense from 12-yards away, into the end zone to take the lead, 21-14! "Booyah Viggs said!" What a play! Don't think Johnny-Freeport expected that one. Viggs just clenched his fist in what is becoming a very intense battle! It has been an awesome game by both teams. The teams are basically an even matchup. It's all about execution and Alworth should have been in the end zone on that 87-yard run back, but it just wasn't meant to be. The pressure cooker is cooking in this AFC Divisional Championship Game battle!

To open up the second half, Ravens star Derrick Mason ran back 45 yard kick return. And on first down for Baltimore, the Chargers defense went wild as Kellen Winslow Sr., pulled down Jamal Lewis for a huge 12-yard loss, bringing the ball back to the 33-yard line of the Ravens. Johnny-Freeport cannot let the Chargers gain the momentum! This time Jamal Lewis was stopped on his first two runs at the 33-yard line. On 3rd down, Lewis grabbed a great 27-yard first down at the Los Angeles 39-yard line. Then Lewis ran for 9 yards on first down until the Ravens were stopped on the next two plays, with 4:29 remaining in the third quarter, the Ravens had nobody open on 3rd down. This play forced another very difficult decision for Coach Johnny-Freeport under harsh pressure. At the Los Angeles 41-yard line, the Ravens decided to go for it because at this point they had nothing left to lose. They needed the first down desperately. Snap! And on 4th down, Baltimore couldn't get the first down, and the Ravens have to turn the ball over to the Chargers at their ownbally2ART2.thumb.jpg.a46a842cc9a7b9194c2b8b84070156e7.jpg 45-yard line with 3:12 remaining in the third quarter.

Coach Viggs is going to have no quit in him. And after two runs totaling six yards by LaDainian Tomlinson, the buzz sounded for the end of the third quarter.

There is  just 15 minutes left to go in the AFC Divisional Championship Game and the Chargers are at the 50-yard line. They have to get to the 36 for the first down. Wow! On third down, Lance Alworth bolted 50-yards into the end zone to put the Chargers ahead 28-14, with 14:39 remaining in the game! The Chargers and coach Ed Viggs is coaching a brilliant game! The crazy part about this game is Viggs has to face Johnny-Freeport again with his unbeaten Washington Redskins against the Atlanta Falcons in the next game today! The two will take an hour break after this game and then come back at it!

Los Angeles has the venom spewing in the chase for a title, and boy did these Chargers come to play today! There is no doubt who the better team is today. Derrick Mason ran back a 37-yard play. Mason has had a tough day! The Chargers defense came up huge after the 37-yard kick return by Mason as Kellen Winslow Sr., made a big tackle in the backfield for a 3-yard loss. So far no talk from Johnny Freeport, and so far, things have not turned out the way he planned.On second down Jamal Lewis ran for an 11-yard first down to the 47-yard line of the Ravens, with 9:39 remaining in the game. The clock is ticking away!

On a beautiful third down play by the Ravens, Johnny-Freeport executed! He connected on a 19-yard pass play to Derrick Mason to bring the ball to the 41 of the Chargers with 6:25 remaining in the game! No quit in Freeport! After a one-yard run by Jamal Lewis, Johnny Freeport went up in the air again and connected with tight end Mark Andrews on a 17 yard first down to the 23-yard line of the Chargers, with 2:51 remaining in the game. The Ravens called their first time out!

On a tremendous third down effort,  Derrick Mason was hit hard in the end zone by LaDainian Tomlinson while Mason scored on a 23-yard touchdown to bring the Ravens within reach, with the Chargers ahead 28-21 with 2:39 remaining on the game clock!

It was Lance Alworth again who ran back the final kick return of the game to the 50 yard line. The Chargers wasted no time, they wanted more! On first down, Baltimore gave Alworth the ball,but he was hit hard by Ravens tight end Mark Andrews.

bally1art.thumb.jpg.085ef7d72b484ea88f66b6008d8bebee.jpgThe Chargers called their first time out of the second half with 15 seconds remaining in the game, and they're setting for a pass play. Ed Viggs gave the handoff to Lance Alworth who brought a 5-yard pass play to the 45-yard line of the Baltimore Ravens, and that ended the game right there!

The Los Angeles Chargers advance on a huge win against a stubborn Baltimore Ravens football team. Johnny-Freeport walked away without saying anything. He just shook Viggy's hand knowing that he'll have another chance to play another great football team, the undefeated Washington Redskins against the Atlanta Falcons coming up next! Viggy said nothing!

Los Angeles Chargers 28 - Baltimore Ravens 21 The Chargers will wait for the winner of the Dolphins- Colts game! The Ravens were slowed down by a determined Los Angeles defense. They played hard, holding a great running back in Jamal Lewis to 11 carries for just 66-yards with a big 33-yard touchdown run for Lewis. It was Derrick Mason who struggled in this one. Mason had seven touches for 281 all-purpose yards with two receiving touchdowns! Baltimore had 20 touches for 391 all-purpose yards with three touchdowns against the Chargers.

Los Angeles also totaled 391 all-purpose yards on 19 touches, with four touchdowns! The hero of the day was Lance Alworth who had seven touches for 328 all-purpose yards with two touchdowns, including a huge 87 yard kick return when the Chargers need it most! LA awaits the winner of the Miami-Indianapolis AFC Divisional Championship Game to play the AFC Championship Game.




Edited by Long island EFL
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