The Steelers head west for a crucial AFC match-up with the Chargers. Frankly, neither team can tolerate a loss because they both trail unbeaten teams in their respective divisions.
What: Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) at San Diego Chargers (2-2)
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego,California
When: Monday, October 12th, 2015
TV: ESPN Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Lisa Salters on the sidelines.
Radio: Steelers Nation Radio/WDVE Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley on the sidelines.
Rabble TV: Matt and I will be calling the game live and interacting with you the fans. Here’s the link.
Key Injuries: PIT QB Ben Roethlisberger OUT/Knee LB Ryan Shazier Out/Shoulder WR Martavis Bryant OUT/Knee-coach’s decision?, SD WR Stevie Johnson OUT/Hamstring
[Update]: Bryant was said to have tweaked his knee this week in practice. While not technically on the roster, the Steelers do not have to list his status. I was told today that he might be just fine and is instead serving a ‘team suspension.’ Let the debate begin…
What You Need to Know: William Gay played in his 132nd straight game which is the best among all active cornerbacks… Antonio Brown has now caught a pass in 76 consecutive games… Mike Tomlin is 22-9 in the month of October… James Harrison joined Jason Gildon as the only Steelers with 70+ sacks.
All-Time Series: Steelers lead 21-7 all-time and hold a 7-6 advantage when playing on the road.
Series Highs Passing: PIT Ben Roethlisberger 333 yards 2009, SD Dan Fouts 372 yards 1985 Receiving: PIT Charles Johnson 165 yards 1995, SD Kellen Winslow 171 yards 1981 Rushing: PIT Rashard Mendenhall 165 yards 209, SD Gary Anderson 170 yards 1988
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’ Win
Run and Run Some More. The Steelers are playing a Chargers’ defense that ranks near the bottom of the NFL in rushing defense. They are giving up close to five yards a carry right now which means Le’Veon Bell should get ample opportunities to power the offense. With Ben Roethlisberger out another week and Michael Vick at the controls, Todd Haley has to emphasize moving the ball on the ground. It also helps keep the Steelers’ defense off the field too which is always a good thing.
Get Your Kicks; Easier the Better. Taking the field for the first time as a professional athlete Monday night will new Steelers’ kicker Chris Boswell. You know the problems the team has dealt with already in 2015 at this position so getting Boswell off to a solid start will be important. That doesn’t mean Mike Tomlin should pass up a 48-yard field goal if it’s Boswell’s first one but a shorter one would go a longer way towards building some confidence in the young man. Obviously, it would be great if Boswell has to kick lots of PATs rather than field goals.
Tuitt, Heyward and ???? With Dan McCullers scheduled to return on Monday night, his presence, along with Steve McLendon should bolster the front line for the Steelers. They, along with the linebackers, were torched by the Ravens last week to the tune of 190 yards rushing. Someone has to step up and make plays or at the very least, occupy blockers so that others can make plays. If the Chargers running game gets going then it’s going to be an incredibly long night for the Steelers’ secondary.
photo courtesy news.sportsinteraction.com