Mike Tolbert played his first four NFL seasons for San Diego. This is his first season as a Carolina Panther and Sunday was his first game against the Chargers. He returned the game-opening kick 26 yards and ran four times on the opening drive, the last of them for a touchdown. He also scored Carolina’s second touchdown. Everybody wants to excel against their former employer. Carolina’s coaches were classy to give him the opportunity.
• Ten tackles, nine solo, for Thomas Davis Sunday. That’s outstanding.
• The Chargers fire a cannon every time they score. I was sitting above it, and when it went off in the fourth quarter, I leaped. Thought it was broken.
• There was Panthers receiver Armanti Edwards running out for a pass, and there was San Diego safety Corey Lynch trying to stop him. Edwards played quarterback for Appalachian State, Lynch safety. You can tell that the Mountaineers aren’t as famous as they once were. When the public address announcer introduced Lynch he called the school “App-a-LAY-shun State.” Nobody at Qualcomm Stadium booed.
• San Diego fans booed almost everything else, however. Why wouldn’t they? The sky was gray and the air was cold, the stadium is terrible and the home team was worse.
• I’ve got a secret for those of you who choose to worry that the Panthers are going to slink off to Los Angeles. Keep it between us, please. Jerry Richardson, who owns the Panthers, was in San Diego this weekend. Los Angeles is only 100 miles from San Diego. Richardson goes to every road game. But still. At the count of three, everybody panic. One, two – the Panthers aren’t leaving. They never were.
• I really wasn’t in a holiday mood. Then I saw the inflatable Santa Claus atop the yacht in San Diego Bay. Let it snow.