Afc Title Game: Chargers Vs. Steelers

January 15, 1995


Site: Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh.

Time: 12:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: Chs. 11, 4/WBAL (1090 AM)

Line: Steelers by 9.

Weather forecast: Temperatures in the low 50s, with an 80 percent chance of rain.

Last week: The Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns, 29-9, and the Chargers beat the Miami Dolphins, 22-21, in their divisional playoff games.

Last meeting: The Chargers beat the Steelers, 37-34, on the last game of the regular season in San Diego, but Pittsburgh defensive starters Greg Lloyd and Rod Woodson did not play. A number of Pittsburgh starters played only a half because the Steelers already had clinched the AFC Central title and home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Series record: The Steelers have a 14-6 edge in the series and are 9-1 against the Chargers at home. The last time Pittsburgh lost to San Diego at home was 31-28 in 1982.

On the sidelines: Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher is 33-16 in three seasons and 1-2 in the playoffs. Like Cowher, San Diego coach Bobby Ross is in his third year. Ross has an overall record of 31-18 and is 2-1 in postseason.

What the Steelers have to do to win: Stop the Chargers' running game, mainly Natrone Means. Stan Humphries is not a mobile quarterback and could become an easy target in long passing situations. Pittsburgh also has to neutralize linebacker Junior Seau.

What the Chargers have to do to win: Stop Pittsburgh's running game and force the Steelers to rely on the arm of quarterback Neil O'Donnell. San Diego also has to be able to handle the Steelers' blitz with quick adjustments at the line of scrimmage by Humphries and his receivers.

Injury report: Chargers -- DT Shawn Lee (knee) is out. G Joe Milinichik (knee) is questionable. Steelers -- S Gary Jones (groin), TE Craig Keith (ankle) are doubtful. DE Kevin Henry (back) is probable.

Outlook: The Steelers are on a roll and their pressure defense should be able to confuse the Chargers. If Pittsburgh is able to run early in the game, this could be a blowout. O'Donnell is capable of turning in a poor effort, which could keep this game close.

Mike Preston's pick: Steelers 25, Chargers 10 -- The relatively mild weather forecast for today won't help San Diego. Pittsburgh's defense will be as cold to the Chargers as any frigid temperature. It's off to the Super Bowl for the Steelers, where they'll make it 11 losses in a row for the AFC.

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