By Dave Thomas
Sometimes you just need a little luck on your side. As the San Diego Chargers found out last Sunday afternoon, it sometimes pays to be lucky, especially when you need a win to turn things around.
A Cleveland penalty on a missed Josh Lambo field goal attempt with the score knotted at 27-27 allowed the rookie a retry. On his second kick, Lambo belted home the game-winning points, allowing San Diego to even its record at 2-2. Again, luck does play a role in making a run towards a playoff spot.
With the Browns in the rear-view mirror, the Chargers now turn their attention to Michael Vick (Ben Roethlisberger remains out with a knee injury) and the Pittsburgh Steelers this Monday night at home in front of a national audience.
San Diego Schedule Gets Tougher
Despite giving San Diego all it wanted last Sunday afternoon, Cleveland (1-3) came into the game looking like a notable underdog, most likely the Chargers’ easiest opponent on the October slate. As Cleveland showed, the games are certainly not played on paper.
Heading into this Monday’s showdown with the Steelers, San Diego is favored by a field goal, but don’t be surprised if Pittsburgh finds a way to leave Southern California with a win.
Playing their first game with Vick at the helm after Roethlisberger went down with an injury likely to keep him out several weeks, Pittsburgh was in position to defeat their rival Baltimore at home a week ago this past Thursday, but the Ravens rallied for a 23-20 overtime win. No doubt the Steelers have had plenty of time to think about that heartbreaking loss.
Meantime, San Diego must not get caught looking ahead by a week and a date Oct. 18 with the Green Bay Packers on the road.
The Chargers, who have put together recent 9-7 campaigns, find themselves two games behind (tied with Oakland) first-place Denver, while Kansas City brings up the rear of the AFC West at 1-3. San Diego will get its first taste of the heated divisional rivalries Oct. 25 when it hosts Oakland.
As the Chargers prepare for Pittsburgh, a number of injury concerns continue to plague the team.
On the offensive side of the ball, the O-line continues to be the biggest concern, both due to performance and injuries.
Heading into Monday’s game, the Chargers have questions as to whether linemen Chris Hairston, King Dunlap, D.J. Fluker, Orlando Franklin and center Chris Watt will be at or close to 100 percent with their myriad of injuries.
Defensively, San Diego should have corner Brandon Flowers (concussion) back for some action, while it is up in the air if corners Craig Mager (hamstring) and Jason Verrett (foot) will be able to go and/or be productive.
No matter who suits up for the Bolts come Monday evening, not waiting until the game’s final play to decide things will be a priority for Philip Rivers and Co. against a gritty Pittsburgh squad.
Brandon Flowers, corner (concussion)
Malcom Floyd, wide receiver (concussion)
Chris Hairston, offensive guard (ankle)
Jahleel Addae, strong safety (ankle)
King Dunlap, tackle (concussion)
Orlando Franklin, offensive guard (ankle)
Stevie Johnson, wide receiver (hamstring)
Jacoby Jones, wide receiver (ankle)
D.J. Fluker, offensive guard (ankle)
Craig Mager, corner (hamstring)
Jason Verrett, corner (foot)
Chris Watt, center (groin)
Tourek Williams, outside linebacker (foot)
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.