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Old 01-05-2009, 07:51 AM   #1
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Default Steelers bracing for surging Chargers

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/pitt.../s_605673.html
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers bracing for surging Chargers

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. 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!
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers bracing for surging Chargers

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!!!!!!
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers bracing for surging Chargers

Its going to be a good game but i think we have enough to take care of the bolts
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:09 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers bracing for surging Chargers

No question LeBeau will have some new "magic" for our rematch. Our offense will just have to find the end zone for this game.
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers bracing for surging Chargers

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Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
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. 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!


And like marky said...hopefully the offense will bring it Sunday!
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:38 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers bracing for surging Chargers

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.
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers bracing for surging Chargers

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.
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:00 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers bracing for surging Chargers

hopefully BA will de drawing up some new "magic" for the playoffs..
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:02 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers bracing for surging Chargers

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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
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