Chargers vs. Bengals Game Notes

The San Diego Chargers lead the regular season series 17-9 over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Chargers have won six of the last seven meetings, including four in a row at San Diego. The Bengals lead the postseason series 1-0, with that victory coming in the 1981 AFC Championship Game, otherwise known as the "Freezer Bowl," won 27-7 in a minus-59 degree wind child condition in Cincinnati. In their last meeting, Drew Brees gained his first NFL victory, beating the Bengals 34-6, in the 2002 opener.

Chargers Notes:

--Pro Bowl RB LaDainian Tomlinson shot down one remedy to ease the pain after Sunday's losses. "Drinking is really not going to make a difference." he said.
--Marty Schottenheimer-coached teams are 7-5 against the Bengals.
--The Chargers' defense has struggled getting off the field. The Bengals are an AFC-best 43.4 percent on third-down conversions.
--QB Doug Flutie said the team would have a significant challenge Sunday: "It's going to be a test of character on the team.
--SS Rogers Beckett, who was caught in the Chargers' offseason, defensive purge, is contributing with the Bengals. His three sacks are two more than Chargers DE Marcellus Wiley.
--Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and Schottenheimer are both graduates of Fort Cherry High in McDonald, Pa. They also share the same birthday (Sept. 23), with Schottenheimer being the senior by 15 years.
--Ken Zampese is the Bengals QBs coach. His dad, Ernie Zampese is legendary among Chargers assistants as an offensive coordinator.
--Scheduling quirk: Last week the Bengals beat the Chiefs; this week, the Chargers play the Bengals, and the Chiefs the following Sunday.
--FB Lorenzo Neal, a former Bengal, when asked if he would be embarrassed to lose to Cincinnati: "I already am embarrassed."
-- The number of Chargers on IR has reached 9, with the latest addition being SS Kwamie Lassiter (knee).

Bengals Notes:

--It will be the first game between Bengals coach Marvin Lewis (age 45) and San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer (age 60). They are both graduates of Fort Cherry High School in McDonald, Pa., and share the same birth date (Sept. 23).
"He knew everything about everything, and I'm saying it in a positive way," Lewis said of Schottenheimer. "I just remember they were in Cleveland preparing for the AFC playoffs. And he was coaching the running back on how to run the flat route, the linebacker whoever was supposed to cover him, and it was just amazing."
Said Schottenheimer of Lewis, "I think it's terrific, and the thing that I see is that his football team has become very physical. Their offensive football team has shown an ability to run the football effectively and they keep pounding away at you."
--The Bengals like Ohio. They are 4-2 at home and their lone road victory came at Cleveland. They are 5-2 in Ohio and 0-3 outside the state (Buffalo, N.Y., Oakland, Calif., and Phoenix, Ariz.).
--The Bengals rank in rush offense has climbed 17 spots in two games, from 31st to 14th. They have rushed for 440 yards in the past two games and are now averaging 112.5 yards a game.
--Corey Dillon seemed happy to have just been on the field Sunday and apologized to fans in his post-game comments.
"I know I said some things people probably did not appreciate, and that's just me sometimes," Dillon said. "Sometimes I speak too fast and don't think about what I'm saying. I know the fans have supported me through a whole lot of stuff. One of the biggest things for me was coming back and trying to get accepted by them.
"I expected the worst -- I thought some beer bottles might be coming (my way). But I showed them that I care about them and I love them. What was said is what I said, and I apologize for it."
--Lewis has distributed black T-shirts bearing the words "One Heartbeat" to all Bengals players and support employees. "One Heartbeat" is Lewis' theme for the 2003 team.
--The Bengals are averaging 26.6 points on offense in their last five games (record 4-1). In their first five, they were scoring 15.4 a game (record 1-4).
--Lewis made one presentation Sunday after the Kansas City game. That ball went to Bengals president Mike Brown. Lewis said he told the players after the 24-19 victory that he honored Brown because of "the ability he has given me to help direct you guys and make (them) feel like they're NFL players."
Brown declined comment but said Monday through a spokesman that he was "pleased and gratified by the gesture."
The Bengals were the fourth NFL team to interview Lewis for a head coaching vacancy but the first to offer him the job. "He has taken all the heat for so long, and it probably wasn't all (his fault). He doesn't play or coach," said Lewis, who meets each morning with Brown. "He has good insights on what we do every day. I enjoy every day. I missed him when he was at the (league) meetings."
--The West Coast has been an unkind place to the Bengals in the past 12-plus seasons (since their last playoff appearance, 1990 season). The Bengals are 0-7 on the West Coast (San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and Seattle) since Nov. 6, 1994. The Bengals defeated the Seahawks 20-17 in overtime. The Bengals are 1-12 on the West Coast since defeating the L.A. Rams 34-31 in overtime on Oct. 7, 1990 at Anaheim.
--Fourth-year receiver Peter Warrick had 212 total yards and scored two touchdowns against Kansas City. He had a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 77-yard pass reception for another score and is beginning to live up to the excessively lofty expectations fans had of him after his college career. He was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week by the NFL.
--How did the Bengals upset the Chiefs? The Chiefs had been successful on 42.6 percent of their third-down attempts coming into the game. The Bengals held them to 1 for 11 (9 percent).
--Wide receiver Chad Johnson, who had seven receptions for 74 yards, against Kansas City, said he apologized to Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil before the game and spoke to some Chiefs players he knows. "I let (Vermeil) know that it was strictly for my team, that it was to get us fired up," Johnson said. "He already knew. He said he didn't take it personally."
Johnson also had apologized to his teammates for making a statement that could have motivated Kansas City. But did it motivate his teammates?
"No, yeah, of course," he said. "But if I hadn't guaranteed it, we still would have the same result."
Chiefs wide receiver Dante Hall, the league's best kick return specialist, gave Johnson credit. "It's sickening that he was able to back that up," Hall said, "but they didn't win the game based on what he said. But I tip my hat to that guy."
Johnson was 1-1 in guaranteed victories in 2002 and retires from the guarantees with a 2-1 record.
-- The Bengals have played 100 road games since the start of the 1991 season. They have a 19-81 record away from home in that time, which corresponds with the franchise's playoff drought.

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