Thursday, October 05, 2006


Week 5 Preview: San Diego Superchargers.....

(The Burgh - October 5, 2006) - Another week, another evening kick-off. I personally don't mind evening games, but it's definitely been difficult to get into the 2006 NFL Season when your team starts off 1-2 and plays 3 of its first 4 games at a time other than Sunday at 1pm EST.

After a week off, Stillers Nation is chomping at the bit to shut the collective traps of all the hatas around the league - from the talking heads on every sports show, to the analysts online, to the average Joes found in chatrooms. So, who cares if we have to wait until Sunday night - bring on the Super Chargers. Which got me thinking about their
original "fight" song that sounded more like an old Village People tune that what Pittsburghers think of when it comes to a real "fight" song.

Which then got me thinking about one of the games I attended at Jack Murphy Stadium (renamed Qualcomm Stadium a few years back). It was a strange day from beginning to end. Firstly, we arrive around 10am to tailgate and are greeted by the hosts with a tailgate consisting of sushi and chardonnay. Don't get me wrong, I love both, but not on a Sunday morning when I'm getting ready to wacth a football game.

Then we went into the stadium and up into the Club Seats, which had about as much energy as the lobby of an opera just before the curtain was raised. Then came the clincher, during the game (which by no means was a blow-out), a woman was reading her book - HER BOOK?!? I closed my eyes and pictured that same woman in Three Rivers Stadium (since we're talking pre-Heinz Field days here), and could only imagine what would have happened to her if she tried that nonsense during a Steelers game.
I vowed from that day forward to avoid football games in San Diego and instead head south of the border to Rosarito Beach where I could wager on the games, drink Pacificos, and eat Fish Tacos until I couldn't move.

Which brings us to this week's game. Some say it is "the turning point" of this young season for the Stillers. Others say no matter what happens (win or lose), there is a still alot of season left. My take is if the Steelers can't pull out a W against San Diego, it won't bode well for post-season aspirations. Is it a do or die game? No. But, when is the last time the Steelers started of 1-3 and were able to turn it around? OK, other than the 2002 season?

Fans will notice few changes from the team the took the field in the past two losses - with the exception of Ricardo Coclough, who will not be fielding punts due to a "mysterious neck injury" suffered during an off-week somewhere other than practice. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. Sounds a tad fishy, if you ask me. Which means that either rookie Santonio Holmes or Willie Reid will take over the role. Let's hope either (or both) can do a better job that what we witnessed against Cincinnati.

PIT seeks 3rd consecutive win on Sunday Night. PIT has been penalized 6 times, fewest in league. ... QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER has 11-2 (.846) career road record as starter, averaging 8.46 yards per att. (303 atts/2,562 yds) in those games. ... RB WILLIE PARKER rushed for 133 yards & career-high 2 TDs vs. Cin. in Wk. 3. Has 533 rushing yards (106.6) w/ 4 100s & 3 TDs in past 5 games. ... TE HEATH MILLER averages 20.9 yards per catch (7 for 146), tops among NFL TEs (min. 5 rec.) & has converted 5 of 7 receptions for 1st downs. ... WR HINES WARD (122) owns 4th-longest active consecutive games streak w/ catch. ... LB JOEY PORTER has 3.5 sacks in 3 career games vs. SD. Defense ranks 4th in NFL vs. rush (78.3 yds/game) & have posted top-5 mark in league in 4 of past 5 yrs. ...

MARTY SCHOTTENHEIMER (193) needs 1 win to surpass CHUCK KNOX (193) for 7th most wins in NFL history. ... QB PHILIP RIVERS (96.7) is NFL’s 7th-highest rated passer w/ 3rd-best comp. pct. mark (67.6; 46 of 68) in league...RB LADANIAN TOMLINSON has 87 touchdowns in 81 career games & needs 3 to reach 90 in 2nd fewest games (HOF JIM BROWN, 81). Tomlinson (300) & RB MICHAEL TURNER (221) 1 of 4 NFL teammate tandems w/ 220+ rush yds. ... WR KEENAN MC CARDELL (10,756) needs 101 rec. yds to surpass GARY CLARK for 17th most in NFL history. In past 6 at home, TE ANTONIO GATES has 474 rec. yards (89.0 avg.) & 6 TDs . ... LB SHAWNE MERRIMAN 1 of only 2 LBs with 4.0+ sacks & 1+ INT. ... Defense leads NFL in fewest yards allowed (184.3) & has yet to allow points in 2nd or 3rd qtr, outscoring opponents 39-0 in those qtrs. ... LS DAVID BINN to play in 195th career game Sunday night which would tie DOUG WILKERSON (1971-84) for 2nd-most w/ team (200: JUNIOR SEAU, 1990-02; RUSS WASHINGTON, 1968-82).

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