Prisuta 4th & Goal:

Finally, a team that's going to throw the ball down the field regardless. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

For the Steelers, it will at least be a different thing and a revealing thing.

For the start of October football that's more than enough.

The Titans wouldn't do it.

The Bears wouldn't do it.

The Bengals at least thought about it, but in the end they didn't do much of it, either.

"They had deep routes dialed up," free safety Ryan Clark said. "You can't throw 'em if they're covered."

Ultimately, the Bengals preferred throwing short to the sideline and underneath the coverage to risk-taking, to the extent that they looked for and found running back Brian Leonard isolated on linebacker James Farrior on fourth-and-10 with the game on the line on a route that didn't extend to the sticks.

They shouldn't have been able to get away with that.

Chargers quarterback Philip "Whiskey" Rivers will make no such concessions.

He's going to drop deep into the pocket and let it fly. He's going to stand up in the face of the Steelers' pass rush and he's going to throw it up into the teeth of the Steelers' pass coverage. It's what he does.

"He's thrown a touchdown against the Raiders into triple-coverage," Clark said. "He threw three balls against Oakland into double-coverage."

Rivers can get away with such bravado because of his arm, and because of a concept the Chargers are honing that is being referred to around the league as "Tall Ball."

With wide receivers that could comprise a frontcourt that's four deep (Chris Chambers, 5-11, 210; Vincent Jackson, 6-5, 230; Malcolm Floyd, 6-5, 225; and Legedu Naanee, 6-2, 200), San Diego seeks chunks in bunches.

The Chargers are more explosive than prolific in doing so.

It doesn't work all the time but when it does, games change. The 421 passing yards and 474 total net yards amassed against Baltimore suggests San Diego go is onto something. That's especially so, given the woeful state of the Chargers' running game.

Those same league-types who came up with that catchy "Tall Ball" label are ranking San Diego's receiving corps among the top three in the NFL these days, behind New England and Arizona.

When they get here, we'll learn what we need to know about the Steelers' defense.

Once the Chargers arrive, there should be ample opportunities for James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley to resume hording sacks, for Ike Taylor to continue dropping interceptions and maybe even catch the odd ball, and for Clark to deliver more potentially-fineable hits that splatter possessions as well as would-be pass-catchers.

If we're still waiting on such big plays from the defense come Monday, there's a pretty good chance the Steelers will be 1-3 and in need of a refresher course in how to play Steelers Defense. What the Bears and Bengals did on offense isn't supposed to be able to beat the Steelers.

The vast majority of the time it doesn't. But if the Chargers beat the Steelers at their own defensive game, that's a problem.


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