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lamberts-lost-tooth
10-07-2006, 04:04 AM
Chargers deliver multi-pronged rushing attack


By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, October 7, 2006


The Chargers will attack the Steelers with three different ball-carriers, two-tight-end sets and an unbalanced line Sunday night.
The different approaches are designed to accomplish the same goal.

"They're going to try to run the ball, I know that," Steelers inside linebacker James Farrior said.

Only the Atlanta Falcons, who are force-feeding the option to the NFL, have run the ball better than the Chargers.

And while Philip Rivers is no Michael Vick, San Diego's third-year pro and first-year starter at quarterback has options aplenty when deciding where to hand off.

Option No. 1 is LaDainian Tomlinson, who might not be able to sort the mail but is clearly adept at carrying it.

Tomlinson, who combines patience with creativity, is complemented by hammer back Michael Turner, a fifth-round pick out of Northern Illinois in 2004 (154th overall; the Steelers selected linebacker Nathaniel Adibi 145th overall that year).

San Diego will also slam fullback Lorenzo Neal into the line.

"You never know where he's going to go," Farrior said of Tomlinson, No. 7 in the NFL in rushing with 300 yards on 77 carries (a 3.9 average). "He could take it anywhere on the field.

"He kind of reminds me a little bit of Barry (Sanders): You just give him the ball and let the linemen get in the way and he can take it anywhere."

Turner has 221 yards on 30 attempts, for a 7.4 average.

"LaDainian is going to give you the speed," Farrior said. "The other guy, he's a little more powerful."

Tomlinson carried 27 times for 98 yards last Sunday in a 16-13 loss at Baltimore.

Turner got the ball seven times, including three straight carries when the Chargers were trying to preserve a four-point lead late, and finished with 46 yards against the normally stingy Ravens.

Neal, more renowned for clearing holes for 1,000-yard rushers, carried twice in a row on a third-quarter series that began at the San Diego 3-yard line and caught a pass on third down. Neal, who started at fullback for the AFC in the 2006 Pro Bowl, has eight carries for 19 yards.

The Chargers have run the ball 126 times and thrown it 68 in three games, a result of their having been behind for only the final 34 seconds against the Ravens and, perhaps, a desire to protect Rivers by asking him to manage games rather than win them.

"I'm not looking at it that way," Rivers said. "Whether that is the case or not, I'm not looking at it that way."

The Steelers are looking at the Chargers as a team that will challenge them on the ground and keep coming no matter what.

"Those are the kind of games we like to be in," Farrior said. "Everybody has to run to the ball. Everybody has to be gap-sound.

"I'm tackling whoever has the ball."

19ward86
10-07-2006, 08:39 AM
good read. ive liked michael turner for the last couple years, actually him and tatum bell were two of my favorite backs coming out of the draft. turner is a speedy guy but he is running up against the steelers, not the raiders or the titans. i expect him and LT to combine for 80-100 yds. we need to keep them contained. we cant allow the 50+ yard runs.

wadester47
10-07-2006, 07:01 PM
i hope the steelers can hit em in the mouth come sunday!

BoltPride
10-08-2006, 01:53 AM
I know you guys contained LT pretty good last time we played, but now that we use Turner he brings another dimension to our rushing attack and keeps LT fresh. Chargers are definitely gonna have to establish a good running game to win this one though. Hopefully LT isn't held to 60 yards like last time.:dang: