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  • Jan

    Pittsburgh Steelers Hold Serve, Top San Diego Chargers 35-24

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers were the only home team to win in the NFL’s Divisional Playoffs this weekend, taking out the San Diego Chargers with a 35-24 victory. Chargers Quarterback Philip Rivers connected with Wide Receiver Vincent Jackson on a 41-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive of the game to give the Chargers an early 7-0 lead. That would be the last time the Chargers had reason to cheer during the long road playoff game. Just 5 minutes later, Steelers return-man Santonio Holmes to a Mike Scifres punt 67 yards to pay-dirt to tie the game at 7. And although the Chargers took a 10-7 lead on a Nate Kaeding 42-yard field goal in the 2nd quarter, the Steelers took a 14-10 lead into halftime when Steelers running back Willie Parker scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with just 40 seconds left in the 1st half. That set off a run of 21 straight points for the Steelers who turned a 10-7 deficit into a 28-10 4th quarter lead. Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit Heath Miller on an 8-yard touchdown pass midway through the 3rd quarter and then Steelers Running Back Gary Russell extended the lead to 18 points with a 1-yard touchdown plunge right at the start of the 4th quarter. The Chargers had no answer for Willie Parker. Parker rushed the ball 27 times for 146 yards and 2 scores – the last of which sealed the victory with just 4 minutes left in the game. Roethlisberger was an efficient 17 of 26 for 181 yards and 1 touchdown. He did not throw an interception – good for a 98.4 passer rating.

    Statistically speaking, Philip Rivers had a solid game on the road in a hostile environment for the Chargers. He completed 21 of 35 passes for 308 yards and 3 touchdowns. He had 1 interception – good for a 105.4 passer rating. Only problem was, his team wasn’t on the field enough to keep the Chargers in the game – the Steelers won the time of possession battle 36:30 to 23:30 and the Chargers ran only 1 offensive play in the 3rd quarter.

    Next up for the Steelers is a battle against the division-rival Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers defeated the Ravens twice during the 2008 regular season, but the Ravens played the Steelers well in both contests. Home field advantage should help the Steelers, and the Steelers defense hopes to pester rookie quarterback Joe Flacco, who has played anything like a rookie quarterback during his 2008 inaugural campaign. It should be a fun, smash-mouth AFC Championship Game on Sunday in Pittsburgh – strap on your helmets tight, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride…

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