2008 San Diego Chargers – We’re Going To Pittsburgh

Tuesday, January 6, 2009, 15:23 —by Chargers Blogger
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Last Saturday the Chargers beat their Week 12 opponents, the Colts, by sending Indianapolis packing in the Wild Card round of the playoffs because of (A) Darren Sproles’ lightning speed and (B) world class punting from super foot Mike Scifres.  

Next Sunday, they’ll get a chance to gain more vindication against a team that narrowly beat them in a Week 11 defeat.  The Bolts, the AFC’s fourth seed, are headed to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers for another war.

“It’s just like playing Indianapolis again,” Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner said Sunday. “We’re familiar with them, they’re familiar with us. But the fact that we’ve played in the stadium, we’ve been in the weather, we’ve handled it once in terms of knowing we can compete and play in that environment, that will help us.”

Seven weeks ago sounds like not to long ago, but looking back at the Chargers then feels like looking at a completely different team.  The Chargers kept the Steelers out of the end zone and held a fourth-quarter lead in Pittsburgh before a Jeff Reed field goal in the final second gave Pittsburgh an 11-10 victory. 

“We did a great job defensively back there,” Turner said. “We had some missed opportunities on offense. As I said before the Indianapolis game, I believe we’re a lot better team now than we were six weeks ago or eight weeks ago. That’s going to be a part of it. You’re in the playoffs and you’re playing a team that’s got home field advantage and is an outstanding team. We’re going to have to be at our best.”

The Chargers have a history with the Steelers in big playoff games.  This weekend San Diego will return to the city in which they achieved the biggest win in franchise history. Their 1994 AFC Championship Game upset of the Steelers allowed the Chargers to advance to its only Super Bowl appearance.  Sure, they ended up getting creamed by the 49ers, but the fondest memories from that season were on the field they are returning to on Sunday.

The forecast for Pittsburgh next Sunday afternoon calls for a high of 21 with snow.  “That will be a factor in how you play the game and when you get in those games, running the ball and playing defense are critical,” Turner said. 

While the Chargers will make their fifth East Coast trip this season, they’ll have a little extra time to prepare for their long journey. If the Dolphins had won Sunday’s game in Miami, the Bolts would have departed San Diego Thursday night to play a on Saturday afternoon.  Fortunately, with the way things turned out, the players will have three full days of rest and three full days of practice before going to war out east. 




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