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AFC heavyweights meet in San Diego

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. robdog
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    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=clayton_john&page=/firstandten/week5" target="_blank">ESPN</a>

    By John Clayton

    Marty Schottenheimer is Bill Cowher's mentor. Schottenheimer coached him and liked him so much he brought him onto his coaching staff with the Browns.

    Cowher has followed Schottenheimer's formula to win football games and annually leads his team into the playoffs. Monday night's matchup between the Chargers and Steelers is a test to see which coach has the edge in developing his current franchise.

    Though the 2-1 Steelers have a better record than the Chargers (2-2), this is an interesting Week 5 comparison between the two teams. The Chargers are loaded on offense. LaDainian Tomlinson is the game's best running back. Antonio Gates is challenging Tony Gonzalez for the title of the game's best tight end. Keenan McCardell is a smooth possession receiver and Drew Brees is running an offense capable of putting up 40 points in any game. The Chargers are flying high.

    Meanwhile, the Steelers are coming off a loss to the Patriots followed by a bye last week. Against the Patriots, Ben Roethlisberger suffered what looked to be a bad left shoulder injury. But he toughed it out. For most of the second half, he looked terrible. His passes were high. His accuracy was off. Yet, in the final two minutes, he engineered a game-tying touchdown drive.

    Roethlisberger is a gamer. He can put aside a bad quarter or a few bad practices and make the big plays to win football games. He didn't lose a regular-season game as a rookie. He's big. He's got a strong arm. On the run, particularly moving to his right, he can be more dangerous than he is in the pocket.

    The Chargers righted themselves from an 0-2 start with blowout wins over the Giants and Patriots. But they still have a lot of pressure on them to win this week. The Chargers' schedule is brutal. They have road games at Philadelphia, Washington, Indianapolis and Kansas City down the stretch that will make it hard to finish strong. They can't afford to lose home games, which makes their opening loss to the Cowboys without Gates so tough.

    This is undoubtedly a playoff preview of two teams talented enough to be in the AFC title game.

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