Under pressure

The Steelers are on a record pace - they are sacking quarterbacks better than anyone has ever done. The Chargers, meanwhile, haven't allowed a sack since week two.

Coach Marty Schottenheimer knows that no matter how many cylinders the Chargers' offense is firing on, it has to be wise when handling the Pittsburgh blitz on Monday night.

The Chargers have been pretty good in protecting quarterback Drew Brees; he's been sacked six times in four games.

But the Chargers blockers must been keen Monday, as the Steelers have 14 sacks in just three games, including four against the Patriots and Tom Brady two weeks ago.

"We have to be prepared for them to bring pressure from anywhere,'' Schottenheimer said of the Steelers' vaunted zone blitz package.

To avoid getting his quarterback rocked, Schottenheimer said it's imperative for the offense to get on a roll on the early downs. So far, the Chargers are averaging a whopping 7 yards on first downs, the NFL high.

"The key is if you can make yards against them on first downs,'' he said.

"Then you are looking at second-and-4, second-and-5. Then you've got a chance to get it, at the worst, into third-and-2 or third-and-3.

"Then you've got a chance to get the ball out. You may not be able to block them all, but you beat the blitz with the ball.''

And while Schottenheimer's old pupil, Bill Cowher, is known for his defensive slant, the Chargers coach said the real credit for the Pittsburgh blitz goes to Dick LeBeau, its defensive coordinator.

"He has used it very, very effectively,'' Schottenheimer said, "every place he has been.''

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