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Steelers at Chargers Preview

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 7, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/preview?gameId=20061008024">Fox Sports</a>

    <img width="193" height="243" align="left" alt="Steelers vs Chargers" title="Steelers vs Chargers" src="http://media3.steelers.com/MediaContent/2006/09/11/09/gameday_chargers_69206.jpg" />Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger doesn't have much experience losing in the NFL, and he doesn't want to get used to it.

    Roethlisberger and the Steelers look to bounce back from a pair of disappointing defeats when they visit the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

    Roethlisberger came into this season with a 27-4 record as a starter and last season, at 23 years old, became the youngest starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl. However, Roethlisberger had a rough offseason and missed Pittsburgh's season-opening 28-17 win over Miami following a well-publicized motorcycle accident and appendicitis.

    In his two games this season - losses to Jacksonville and Cincinnati - Roethlisberger has thrown five interceptions and no touchdowns and has been sacked five times. He completed just 18 of 34 passes for 208 yards in the Steelers' 28-20 loss to the Bengals in their last game on Sept. 24.

    Roethlisberger's 34.3 passer rating ranks him 31st.

    "I haven't lost two in a row, I think, since my sophomore year in college," he said. "It's a weird feeling. There are no excuses. I'm not going to blame it on the wind. I'm going to blame it on the way I'm playing. We'll try to find a way to correct it so it doesn't happen again."

    Roethlisberger lost two in a row last season, to Indianapolis and Cincinnati, after returning from a three-week layoff following knee surgery. However, the Steelers followed that slump with the eight-game winning streak that got them into the playoffs and carried them through the Super Bowl.

    The Steelers may have another reason to feel optimistic. They are off to just their fourth 1-2 start under coach Bill Cowher, but in each previous instance they have rebounded to record a winning record.

    "I don't think anybody is pushing a panic button," Cower said. "I think there's some sense or urgency in practice. We've got to take that and transfer that onto the field. We knew this first month we would face some pretty good football teams. We're not where we want to be."

    Nonetheless, Roethlisberger could have a rough time against a Chargers defense that ranks first in the NFL with just 184.3 yards allowed per game. San Diego (2-1) has allowed just three touchdowns this season, including two in its first loss of the season, a 16-13 defeat last Sunday at Baltimore.

    The Steelers rank 25th in the NFL with 286.7 yards gained per game, and Cowher refused to place all of the blame on Roethlisberger.

    "There's a lot more to this than one position," he said.

    Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward missed most of training camp with a sore hamstring and has just nine catches for 99 yards this season. Last year, he 12 catches for 219 yards and four touchdowns after three games. All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu has also been hampered by a sore shoulder.

    "I think we're getting closer, that's the thing," Roethlisberger said. "I've always said that you need to continue to improve or you deteriorate; you never stay the same. People look at it as if we're sliding backward, and I don't think so, not yet. We do have a ways to go but we're making progress."

    Pittsburgh's passing defense is 12th in the AFC allowing 217 yards per game. However, the secondary could get a break against the Chargers as coach Marty Schottenheimer, has been criticized for relying too much on the running game.

    Last weekend, the Chargers led 13-7 at the half, but did not score after the second quarter and did not get in the end zone after the first.

    "You hear about 'Martyball,' but the better the defense is, the more 'Martyball' you're to get," said Schottenheimer, who has developed a reputation for run-oriented offenses.

    Schottenheimer also believes his conservative approach will help out quarterback Philip Rivers, who is starting this season for the first time in his career. Rivers is completing 67.6 percent of his passes and has thrown three touchdowns and one interception this season, but San Diego's passing attack ranks 31st at 159 yards per game.

    "When you have a quarterback with three starts ... we will as the circumstances dictate, throw the ball more. But at the end of the day, you have to play to the strength of this team," Schottenheimer said. "I ultimately have the responsibility for how many games we win and how many games we lose."

    LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 98 yards on 27 carries Sunday and has picked up 300 yards and three touchdowns this season. However, he was frustrated that his team blew a lead against the Ravens.

    "It seems like I've been in too many of these games. They get old real fast," Tomlinson said.

    Pittsburgh has won its last five games against San Diego, including a 24-22 victory on Oct. 10 last season. Roethlisberger completed 17 of 26 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown.
     

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