9:00 PM ET, October 10, 2005
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
Pittsburgh (2-1) at San Diego (2-2), Monday 9:00 pm EDT
SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- LaDainian Tomlinson and Ben Roethlisberger grace the Monday night stage when the San Diego Chargers host the Pittsburgh Steelers in a battle of division champions from a year ago.
Roethlisberger was 13-0 as a rookie last season as the Steelers finished with an NFL-best 15-1 record, but lost in the AFC championship game to the New England Patriots.
Roethlisberger's first regular season loss also came to the Patriots, 23-20, on September 25. He completed just 12-of-28 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns, but has the league's top quarterback rating of 131.8. He has passed for 688 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions.
The Chargers snapped the Patriots' 21-game home winning streak with an impressive 41-17 victory last week.
Tomlinson rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns and Brees completed 19-of-24 passes for 248 yards and two scores.
Regarded by many to be the NFL's best all-around back, Tomlinson followed up a 192-yard rushing performance against the New York Giants with a big day against the Patriots and extended his streak of recording a touchdown to 16 straight games, three shy of tying Hall of Famer Lenny Moore's NFL record.
Tomlinson leads the league with eight touchdowns and needs two Monday to reach 70 in his 68th game, tying the fewest games played with 70 touchdowns by Steve Van Buren of Philadelphia.
Tomlinson rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries in the Chargers' 40-24 loss at Pittsburgh in the last meeting between the teams on December 21, 2003.
Jerome Bettis, who has yet to play this season due to a pulled calf muscle but may return for the Sunday night game, rushed for 115 yards in the last meeting between the teams.
Willie Parker, an undrafted rookie in 2004, has taken over as the team's feature back due to injuries to Bettis and Duce Staley and has rushed for 327 yards in three games.
The Chargers will wear their 1960s powder-blue jerseys on Monday night.
Series: The Steelers lead, 18-5, winning the last four meetings. Coach Bill Cowher is 6-1 against San Diego.
Next week: Pittsburgh hosts Jacksonville, October 16 San Diego visits Oakland, October 16.
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Rested Steelers take on red-hot Chargers
Despite flying cross-country, the Steelers should be fresh, healthy and ornery after 15 idle days following their crushing home loss to the Patriots. Thanks also to the bye week, Pittsburgh will gain more offensive re-enforcements. RB Jerome Bettis will see his first action of the season, and RB Duce Staley will be even healthier for his second game back from injury. However, after rushing for 327 yards in three games, expect former undrafted free agent Willie Parker to continue to carry the heaviest load against a Chargers' run defense that is surrendering just 91.5 yards per game.
On the flip side, the Chargers will look to keep the ball rolling following a momentous road victory at New England. RB LaDainian Tomlinson will try his luck against a similarly stout Steelers' run defense, which is surrendering only 96.7 yards per contest. With so much beef up front for both of these defenses, this game likely will be decided by the quarterback -- Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers) or Drew Brees (Chargers) -- who makes the most plays and fewest mistakes.
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San Diego Chargers
|Avg Points Allowed||14.8||22.4|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||PIT|
|Rush Yds Allowed||PIT|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Pittsburgh leads 2-0|
|Dec 21, 2003||PIT 40, SD 24|