Chargers pushing past tough loss

The San Diego Chargers can't look back with the Pittsburgh Steelers coming to town. Although the Steelers are 1-2, one may recall that they won the Super Bowl last season.

With an AFC showdown with the Steelers looming on Sunday night, the Chargers' players are being careful not to criticize coach Marty Schottenheimer's ultra conservative ways in the loss to the Ravens on Sunday.

The Chargers easily scored a touchdown on their first drive in Baltimore on Sunday, then didn't score another one the rest of the game. They did have two field goals, but that wasn't enough to hold off the Ravens in a 16-13 loss.

"If you had to bet on the Ravens' offense versus our defense, who wouldn't bet on our defense?" said tight end Antonio Gates. "Marty has been around a long time and has a lot of knowledge. The media just says things to discredit him when things aren't going right."

What many felt was wrong was Schottenheimer putting the handcuffs on first-year starting quarterback Philip Rivers. He attempted but eight second-half passes, and the majority of those come in the final frantic minute.

"It had nothing to do with our quarterback, I can tell you that," Schottenheimer said.

Rivers, who must master another impressive 3-4 defense against the Steelers, was hopeful that wasn't the case.

"That would be my guess," Rivers said. "I certainly hope they wouldn't have any doubts, and to tell you the truth I don't sense that.

"The thing is, if you win, we're not talking about any of this." The thing is, if Schottenheimer didn't carry such a conservative slant in his 30 years as an NFL coach, he might not own a 5-12 playoff record.

What is clear is that Schottenheimer has no intentions of changing his slant. Especially with a stout Chargers defense and an inexperienced quarterback.

"The better (your) defense is," he said, "the more MartyBall you're going to get."

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