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Live from Heinz Field, Oct. 4
October 4, 2009 - Buck Frank
FIRST QUARTER REPORT:
The Chargers have the Steelers right where they want them -- down 14-0. The way the Steelers have blown leads the last two games, one would expect their 14-0 lead not to be safe.
Ben Roethlisberger has gotten off to a nice start, and Rashard Mendenhall is running with authority. Can the Steelers put this game away by halftime? We'll see.
About 10 minutes until kickoff:
START THE GAME!!! I've been in the Heinz Field press box since 4:30, and it's starting to drag.
The country group Steel Magnolia is performing on the field. I'm not much of a country music fan, but I'm guessing the only reason they got the gig is because of the "Steel' in their name. I'd prefer the 80s band Steel Breeze or the big hair band Steel Heart.
Apparently Shaq is here at the game. One of the guys who sits near me says he was talking to him and saw him ducking the whole way down the hall to his luxury box. Snoop Dog, of course, was here at the opener against Tennessee.
Lots of pink around the stadium for breast cancer awareness.
One hour until kickoff:
Steelers will be wearing their throwback jerseys tonight. I believe they are going to wear them one other time this season. Too bad the Chargers aren't wearing theirs tonight.
The Steelers, as expected, are not activating WR Limas Sweed. So he won't be dropping any passes tonight. Willie Parker (toe) and Troy Polamalu (knee) are the two big names on the Steelers' inactive list. The others are rookies Keenan Lewis (CB), Kraig Urbik (OG) and David Johnson (TE), along with Tony "Mr. Preseason' Hills.
LaDainian Tomlinson and Shawne Merriman are both suiting up for the Chargers despite missing some practive time this week.
Three hours from kickoff.
Despite all the problems in the early going this season, the Steelers could be sitting just one game back of first place in the AFC North with a victory tonight against the Chargers. The Ravens suffered their first defeat earlier Sunday to the Patriots, while the Bengals pulled out an overtime win over the Browns. Both the Ravens and Bengals are 3-1.
The Steelers need a win badly tonight, and you should expect them to play that way. A win tonight, and the Steelers move to 2-2 with the lowly Lions, who have several key offensive players hurting right now, and Browns the next two weeks.
Rashard Mendenhall is expected to start at running back for the Steelers, and he should be able to find some holes up the middle against the Chargers defense. This is the first game all season the Steelers will face a 3-4 defense, which is more familiar to them.
The Steelers were successful at running the football in both games against the Chargers last season. If Mendenhall doesn't show he's up to the task, the Steelers will use more of Mewelde Moore and now have Isaac "Red Zone' Redman available as well.