The San Diego Chargers were the team to knock the league MVP from the playoffs. After the Chargers won the game on a 22 yard TD scamper in overtime by Darren Sproles, people whined about the nature of the victory. The whiners said that getting the ball first is an advantage that cannot be overcome. That’s loser talk. I’ve never heard the winning team have any problem with the overtime format. As a matter of fact, the coin toss winner has scored on that first drive only 30% of the time. The whiners said that in this season, the coin toss winner won 9 of 16 times. Reasonable people will point out that 16 is a statistically irrelevant sample.
So, get over it all you Colts apologists and the-MVP-never-got-to-touch-the-ball-in-OT wailing babies. Guess what? The Colts defense didn’t give him a chance. And in regulation, pinned deep in his own territory, the MVP took a sack, narrowly averting a safety. Hey, MVP, lead your team to a couple of first downs and this whole talk of OT format is moot. Got that?
Now, back to the rightful winners of that game, the San Diego Chargers. Wow, it’s good the Steelers get this team again. When they last met, the Steelers absolutely dominated the Chargers with stats. But they needed a late field goal to win an 11-10 game. Remember, this is the game where Troy Polamalu’s lateral-fumble return for a TD was disallowed by the brain-dead referees. And this is the game where the Chargers were penalized twice – once on the last play – in comparison to 13 drive-killing (offense) or drive-extending (defense) penalties for the Steelers. Shit, I’d wager there were no less than five near tackles by the Chargers left tackle of a rushing James Harrison.
I’m thinking the Chargers will come into this game absolutely unprepared for the fury they’ll face. Sixty minutes against the mushy Colts defense in the warm climes of San Diego are not a fair preparation for the League’s Number One Defense and the frigid, wet and windy conditions of Heinz Field.
Last time Big Ben had a nice game going 31 of 41 for 308 with no TDs or INTs. Fast Willie carried the ball 25 times for 115. The only touchdown in the game was scored by Tomlinson early in the first quarter and he finished with 57 yards on 18 carries. Phirrip Livers had a poor day going 15 of 26 for 159 and no TDs with two INTs.
Frankly, there’s no good reason why the game will be significantly different this time around. If the referee crew calls the game fairly and both teams get hit for similar amounts of penalties then the Steelers should win this one by 12 or more points.
Hopefully, knowing their next opponent will not distract them from the task at hand. Coach Tomlin should guard against this.
Prediction: Steelers win 27-13.
Actual: Steelers win 35-24. Stupid garbage time scores for the Bolts ruined my prediction.