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Chargers: Scouting Report

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2005/10/05/sports/professional/chargers/22_19_1310_4_05.txt" target="_blank">North County Times</a>

    By: GARY HYVONEN

    Pittsburgh Steelers -- KICKOFF: 6 p.m. Monday at Qualcomm Stadium

    > SERIES: Pittsburgh leads 18-7. The Steelers won the last meeting, 40-24, in 2003 at Pittsburgh.

    PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Ben Roethlisberger

    They call him "Big Ben,'' and not only because he is 6-foot-5. Roethlisberger is coming up big in the all-important win category. The Steelers' first-round draft choice last year has compiled a regular-season record of 15-1 as a starting quarterback, mainly because he rarely makes mistakes. Roethlisberger has not thrown an interception in three games this year, a big reason he leads the NFL with a 131.8 quarterback rating ---- almost 20 points higher than runner-up Carson Palmer. He has thrown for 688 yards and six touchdowns during the Steelers' 2-1 start.

    OFFENSE

    The Steelers are fourth in the league in scoring (27 points per game) and No. 5 in both total offense (360.3 ypg) and rushing (140.0). They lead the league with an average of 6.7 yards per play, but are near the bottom in third-down conversions at 35.3 percent. Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt seems more willing to open things up now that Roethlisberger is maturing, but this remains a run-oriented team. The Steelers average 12 more rushing attempts per game than passes, and they will oppose the Chargers with some running depth. Jerome Bettis (pulled calf muscle) has returned to practice and is expected to see his first action of the season. Duce Staley also could get some carries after returning to active duty last week, but look for second-year man Willie Parker to make his fourth straight start. He has rushed for 327 yards and averages 5.1 yards per carry. Whoever carries gets to run behind a big and strong line headlined by the interior of C Jeff Hartings and Gs Kendall Simmons and Alan Faneca. WR Hines Ward, who missed practice Monday with a hamstring injury but will play, is one of the league's best receivers. He averages 18.3 yards per catch and already has four TDs. Cedrick Wilson and Antwaan Randle-El have combined to pick up the slack for departed Plaxico Burress.

    DEFENSE

    The Steelers are only 19th in the NFL in total defense, allowing 316.7 yards per game, mainly because they have allowed opponents to convert almost half their third-down situations. But they remain difficult to run against (fewer than 100 yards per game) because the linemen in the 3-4 alignment ---- NT Casey Hampton and DEs Aaron Smith and Kimo von Oelhoffen ---- have been dominant. Hampton is a 325-pounder who has been requiring double teams, allowing ILBs Larry Foote and James Farrior the freedom to pursue ballcarriers. CB Ike Taylor leads the team in solo tackles with 23. The Steelers have allowed only two rushing TDs, which makes for an interesting scenario since Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson has run for a score in an NFL record 16 straight games. Pittsburgh can be vulnerable to the pass, because they often have to blitz two people to mount a pass rush and CBs Taylor and Deshea Townsend have had trouble in man coverage.

    NOTEWORTHY

    Pittsburgh had a bye last week. ... The Steelers will be making their 52nd appearance on "Monday Night Football." They are 31-20 on Mondays, with one of the losses (26-17) coming in San Diego in 1980 ---- the only other time these teams have met on "MNF." ... The Chargers are 5-6 against Pittsburgh at home; they have lost all 12 regular-season meetings at Pittsburgh. Intererestingly, they are 2-0 in the Steel City in postseason play, winning 31-28 in 1982 and taking the 1994 AFC Championship Game, 17-13. ... The Steelers are third in the NFL in turnover ratio with a plus-seven. They have turned the ball over only once. ... Steelers coach Bill Cowher has a long history with Chargers coach and fellow Pennsylvania native Marty Schottenheimer. He played for and coached under Schottenheimer in Cleveland in the early 1980s, then served as his defensive coordinator from 1989-91 in Kansas City. Cowher is 4-1 against Schottenheimer in head-to-head meetings as NFL head coaches.
     

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