CHARGERS (2-1) vs. STEELERS (1-2)
8:30 p.m. at Heinz Field (65,050) in Cincinnati
Playing surface: Natural grass
NBC (locally WPXI-TV, Channel 11)
Al Michaels, play-by-play; Cris Collinsworth, analysis; Andrea Kremer, sideline reporter
Steelers Radio Network (WDVE-FM, 102.5, WBGG-AM, 970; WBVP-AM, 1230, WMBA-AM, 1460)
Bill Hillgrove, play-by-play; Tunch Ilkin, analysis; Craig Wolfley, sideline reporter
Three playoff games included, the Steelers lead the series 21-8.
The Steelers are 14-2 against the Chargers in games played in Pittsburgh and 7-6 in San Diego.
The Chargers have never won a regular-season game in Pittsburgh. Both of their wins here came at Three Rivers Stadium. The first was a 23-13 decision in the 1982 AFC Tournament (that was the year of a players’ strike that shortened the season to nine games). The second came in the 1994 AFC Championship Game when the Chargers won 17-14 to hande the Steelers one of their most disappointing losses of the Bill Cowher era.
Last year, the Steelers beat the Chargers twice at Heinz Field, 11-10 during the regular season and 35-24 in the divisonal round of the playoffs.
That 11-10 decision last year was tghe first time an NFL game ever ended with that score.
The Steelers will try to snap a two-game losing streak and keep pace with the first-place Baltimore Ravens (3-0) and second-place Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) in the AFC North Division.
After losing the past two weeks in Chicago (17-14) and Cincinnati, the Steelers are back at home, playing in front of what promises to be a rowdy crowd at Heinz Field.
“I’d rather play at home than on the road,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “I have a couple weeks of evidence to confirm that.
The Steelers are 14-3 during the regular season so far during the Tomlin era.
Meanwhile, the second-place Chargers are trying to keep with the Denver Broncos (3-0) in the AFC West.
“We know what it’s like going to Pittsburgh,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. “We know what we are in for. We lost the last two times we have been there. They are the defending champs and I know they have sputtered and lost to Chicago and Cincinnati the last two weeks. But we expect nothing less than a battle for four quarters.”
The big news injury-wise this week is that starting running Willie Parker (turf toe) will miss tonight’s game. Either Rashard Mendenhall or Mewelde Moore will start at running back. Isaac Redman has been activated from the practice squad. To make room for Redman, the Steelers relased defensive end Nick Eason.
The Steelers will once again be without Polamalu, who’s going to be out one or two more weeks after suffering a sprained knee in the season opener. Tyrone Carter, who replaced Polamalu the past two weeks, is expected to start again although there’s a chance cornerback Deshea Townsend will start instead of Carter. Townsend took a lot of reps at safety this week in practice.
Also sitting out for the Steelers will be rookie tight end/fullback David Johnson with a high ankle sprain.
For the Chargers, starting center Nick Hardwick (ankle) is out. So are two backups: linebacker Antwan Applewhite (hamstring) and defensive end Travis Johnson (groin).
Star linebacker Shawne Merriman (groin) is questionable.
Star running back LaDainian Tomlinson is listed as probable after missing the past two games with an ankle injury. He’s expected to play.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“The story of the National Football League is finishing out football games. In order for us to be what we want to be, we have to do a better job than what we are doing at this point.”
_ Coach Mike Tomlin on the Steelers blowing leads the past two games by being outscored 24-0 in the fourth quarter.
The Steelers are favored by 6 points
Steelers 27, Chargers 20