10-05-2006, 02:16 PM
http://www.sportinglife.com/nfl/news/ (http://www.sportinglife.com/nfl/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=international_feed/06/10/05/GRIDIRON_USA-San_Diego_Preview.html)

The defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers will try to avoid their third straight loss when they visit the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

After starting the defence of their title with a win over Miami, Pittsburgh have endured losses to Jacksonville and Cincinnati. The Steelers already are behind Baltimore and Cincinnati in the AFC North.

Coach Bill Cowher will be hoping an extra week off helps his team avoid starting 1-3 for the first time since 2002. They also lost three of their first four games in 2000. Both times, the Steelers rebounded with winning records, going 9-7 in 2000 and 10-5-1 two years later.

Pittsburgh are also hoping the bye week has a positive effect on Ben Roethlisberger, who is off to an extremely slow start.

Roethlisberger nearly died in a June 12 motorcycle accident and underwent surgery for multiple facial fractures. He missed no practice time, but then underwent an emergency appendectomy days before the start of the regular season, forcing him to miss the opener.

In two games since returning, Roethlisberger has thrown five interceptions without a touchdown.

His 34.3 rating is the lowest in the league.

Two weeks ago, Roethlisberger completed 18-of-39 passes for 208 yards and three interceptions in a 28-20 home loss to Cincinnati.

Roethlisberger should receive a test against the Chargers, who rank first in the league in total defence and second in scoring (7.7 ppg).

Roethlisberger endured a painful experience against the Chargers in last season's 24-22 win, suffering a left knee injury on the game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. The injury sidelined him for one game.

Jeff Reed gave the Steelers the win with a 40-yard field goal with six seconds remaining.

After outscoring Oakland and Tennessee - two of the league's worst teams - by a combined 67-7 en route to a 2-0 start, the Chargers endured a 16-13 setback at Baltimore last Sunday.

LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 98 yards on 27 attempts, but the Chargers squandered a 13-7 fourth-quarter lead. Philip Rivers was just 13 of 22 for 145 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Rivers will be looking to get the ball to Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates, who has just 10 catches for 122 yards and a TD through three games. But Gates will be matched up against Pro Bowl strong safety Troy Polamalu.


10-05-2006, 05:49 PM
Bye weeks always have a positive effect on us, we usually play well coming off a bye, and if we ever needed one early in the season it was this year.