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lamberts-lost-tooth
01-05-2009, 08:51 AM
Steelers bracing for surging Chargers
By Mike Prisuta, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, January 5, 2009


The Steelers didn't score a touchdown the last time they played the San Diego Chargers, but their drive for a game-winning field goal was as inspiring as much of what had transpired prior to Jeff Reed's last-minute kick had been frustrating.

"You definitely draw confidence from those types of situations," Steelers offensive tackle Max Starks said. "When it matters, you want to be able to answer the call, and we answered the call that game, and we've done it since.

"I think we're built to make those critical plays when we need them."

The Steelers made just enough of those to squeak past the Chargers, 11-10, on Nov. 16 at Heinz Field.

The teams will reconvene at 4:45 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Field for an AFC divisional-round rematch.

The Chargers advanced with a 23-17 overtime triumph over Indianapolis in an AFC wild-card Game on Saturday night in San Diego.

The decisive points in the initial Steelers-Chargers meeting came on a 32-yard field goal by Reed with 11 seconds remaining that concluded a 13-play, 73-yard drive in 6:30 that began at the Steelers' 13-yard line with 6:41 to play.

It was the third time the Steelers rallied for the eventual winning points inside of the two-minute warning or in overtime (they would win five such games in 2008).

A fumble return for a touchdown by strong safety Troy Polamalu on the game's final play was reviewed and overturned, mistakenly, as the NFL acknowledged.

The win improved the Steelers to 7-3 on the way to 12-4.

The Chargers fell to 4-6 on the way to 4-8, but they rallied to win their last four regular-season games, including an all-or-nothing regular-season finale against Denver for the AFC West Division crown.

"They're definitely playing better (now)," Steelers linebacker Larry Foote said. "They've been playing playoff ball for the last month."

"The scary thing about them right now is they're really hot," Steelers nose tackle Chris Hoke said. "They're playing with a lot more confidence than when we played them the first time."

The first meeting was memorable for more than the final score and the botched call at the end.

The Steelers outgained the Chargers, 410-218, and held the ball for 36:31 to San Diego's 23:29.

It remained close despite such disparities, in part, because Paul Ernster had a horrendous game punting for the Steelers and because the Steelers were penalized 13 times for 115 yards and the Chargers twice for 5 yards by referee Scott Green's crew.

Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward incurred three of those penalties for 30 yards (he was flagged twice for holding and once for an illegal block).

The Steelers overcome much of the above, in part, because they were able to hold NFL passing leader Philip Rivers to a season-low 44.4 rating.

Rivers was sacked twice, intercepted twice and held without a touchdown pass (one of only two times that happened in the regular season).

"We try to do a good job of disguising what we're doing, where we're coming from," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said. "We did a good job in that game."

Keisel expects defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to seek similar results through a different approach on Sunday.

"I'm sure we'll get some LeBeau magic, some new stuff," Keisel said. "It seems like once we get in the playoffs, he seems to come up with some schemes that can really help us, schemes that teams haven't been able to study or practice against all year.

"We have a few plays that we haven't run much this year that are nice blitzes. I'm sure now's the time to bust those out."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_605673.html

HometownGal
01-05-2009, 08:59 AM
The Chargers are, notably, a much different team than the team we faced back in November and have been playing damned good football down the stretch, but so have the Steelers who won 5 out of their last 6 after their matchup with the Bolts. I don't believe our boyz will take the Chargers lightly but the Steelers are headed into Sunday's game with a tremendous amount of confidence in themselves and each other and they've most definitely got their swagger on. :tt02: If our O can ride the momentum from their excellent performance against the Browns, which I believe they will, it's going to be a long, long day for the Bolts.

LETS GO STEELERS! :tt:

eafratitpm3
01-05-2009, 09:11 AM
I hope that we have a big lead because I think if it is close this game will be won/lost on special teams. Hopefully this will not be the case because SD's special teams as a whole are better than ours. GO STEELERS!!!!!!

joeyssteelcurtain
01-05-2009, 09:32 AM
Its going to be a good game but i think we have enough to take care of the bolts

markymarc
01-05-2009, 10:09 AM
No question LeBeau will have some new "magic" for our rematch. Our offense will just have to find the end zone for this game.

memphissteelergirl
01-05-2009, 10:22 AM
The Chargers are, notably, a much different team than the team we faced back in November and have been playing damned good football down the stretch, but so have the Steelers who won 5 out of their last 6 after their matchup with the Bolts. I don't believe our boyz will take the Chargers lightly but the Steelers are headed into Sunday's game with a tremendous amount of confidence in themselves and each other and they've most definitely got their swagger on. :tt02: If our O can ride the momentum from their excellent performance against the Browns, which I believe they will, it's going to be a long, long day for the Bolts.

LETS GO STEELERS! :tt:

:iagree:

And like marky said...hopefully the offense will bring it Sunday! :tt02:

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-05-2009, 10:38 AM
We outgained the Chargers in the last meeting, but could not put points on the scoreboard with equal efficiency.

I am sure that the Offensive coaches are looking at the film and creating a short yardage and red zone strategy that will score TD's. The hope is that our Defense can keep stuffing the Chargers like last game.

SteelersinCA
01-05-2009, 10:45 AM
My prediction is Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth have big days. The Chargers can't cover TEs and Ben needs to get some short passes in the get the concussion behind him.

lilyoder6
01-05-2009, 11:00 AM
hopefully BA will de drawing up some new "magic" for the playoffs..

Jammer
01-05-2009, 11:02 AM
My prediction is Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth have big days. The Chargers can't cover TEs and Ben needs to get some short passes in the get the concussion behind him.

Clark didn't do squat in SD

tony hipchest
01-05-2009, 11:04 AM
Clark didn't do squat in SD

so. chargers arent playing the pittsburgh clarks.

Jammer
01-05-2009, 11:06 AM
so. chargers arent playing the pittsburgh clarks.

TE Dallas Clark i mean

SteelersinCA
01-05-2009, 11:06 AM
Clark didn't do squat in SD

Clark caught a lot of short passes to pick up a few 1st downs. Again, 1 game, 1 game. How about the rest of your season? TEs tore you up.

OK, you know what, you're right. Let's put your logic into practice. Vincent Jackson won't do squat against the Steelers, Chambers will have a minimal impact, Gates will be mediocre at best, Manu won't be a factor, Nanae will get a catch. So all we have to do is stop Sproles. That's it, 1 guy. No one else matter. Sounds like you guys have a GREAT CHANCE!!!!! No wonder you're excited :sofunny:

Jammer
01-05-2009, 11:08 AM
Clark caught a lot of short passes to pick up a few 1st downs. Again, 1 game, 1 game. How about the rest of your season? TEs tore you up.

OK, you know what, you're right. Let's put your logic into practice. Vincent Jackson won't do squat against the Steelers, Chambers will have a minimal impact, Gates will be mediocre at best, Manu won't be a factor, Nanae will get a catch. So all we have to do is stop Sproles. That's it, 1 guy. No one else matter. Sounds like you guys have a GREAT CHANCE!!!!! No wonder you're excited :sofunny:

We bringning our Punter :wink02:

Jammer
01-05-2009, 11:09 AM
Coach tomlin is 0-1 in playoff :)

just kidding

SteelersinCA
01-05-2009, 11:12 AM
We bringning our Punter :wink02:

Does he score? Since we're focused on single games, ask the Ravens how pinning us inside our 5 worked for them.

HometownGal
01-05-2009, 11:13 AM
Clark didn't do squat in SD

So what? The Steelers utilize their TE's a little differently than Indy and both Heath and Spaeth are big guys with decent speed who are very tough to bring down.

Jammer
01-05-2009, 11:14 AM
Big Ben is Great but he is no Mr MVP :)

tony hipchest
01-05-2009, 11:15 AM
TE Dallas Clark i mean

oh, i thought you meant clark griswold.

matt spaeth had 6 receptions for 55 yds when we met earlier. unfortunately heath miller didnt play. on the flipside was perennial pro bowler gates who was held to 10 yds and 2 receptions.

you can probably expect ben to attack the soft underbelly of your defense, especially with h. miller near the red zone.

HometownGal
01-05-2009, 11:16 AM
Big Ben is Great but he is no Mr MVP :)

And Patty Cake Rivers is? :toofunny::toofunny::toofunny:

If the Bolts still had Brees, I'd be a little more worried. Dumbest move the Chargers FO ever made.

tony hipchest
01-05-2009, 11:17 AM
Big Ben is Great but he is no Mr MVP :)
are you gonna talk football or just mumble weak, insignificant and random, one-liners? :coffee:

The_WARDen
01-05-2009, 11:18 AM
So what? The Steelers utilize their TE's a little differently than Indy and both Heath and Spaeth are big guys with decent speed who are very tough to bring down.

That's if they use Miller in the passing game. If he's in to help bail out the crappy line, then he's irrelevant.

Jammer
01-05-2009, 11:19 AM
Big Ben coming back from concussion, he should be ok, he would probably have play last week...

Chargers need to sack him 2 or 3 times and pray for a fumble on Ben part...

SteelersinCA
01-05-2009, 11:19 AM
And Patty Cake Rivers is? :toofunny::toofunny::toofunny:

If the Bolts still had Brees, I'd be a little more worried. Dumbest move the Chargers FO ever made.

Actually I think that was a good move by the Chargers, again, numbers are great but wins are what count. That being said, Rivers puts up some impressive numbers, but only 8 wins and Ben, well we know Ben can win, he does have a ring!

X-Terminator
01-05-2009, 11:23 AM
Big Ben coming back from concussion, he should be ok, he would probably have play last week...

Chargers need to sack him 2 or 3 times and pray for a fumble on Ben part...

Actually I don't think he would have played last week. I'm not all that sure that he'll play THIS week. Concussions are tricky, and since he's already had 4, well, let's just say I'm a little concerned.