Pittsburgh at San Diego


9 p.m.

[WJLA-7, WMAR-2]


Times the Chargers have donned their original powder-blue uniforms since 1994. They plan on going to the throwback look once again in tomorrow's game. The team last regularly wore the uniforms, which many think are the best-looking the league has ever seen, in 1973.


The Chargers' record in those games. Efficiency. To many of us, the word conjures up the best we can hope for from the Washington real estate market. But to the Steelers and Chargers, efficiency has been the defining characteristic of their offenses this season.

Neither team needs the ball a lot to score a lot. Both teams are in the top four in scoring despite being near the bottom in offensive plays per game. That's because when they have the ball, they move it. The Steelers are averaging a league-high 6.7 yards per play; the Chargers aren't far behind at 6.1. Not surprisingly, Pittsburgh and San Diego rank first and second, respectively, in how often their possessions end in scores.

Equally unsurprising is that both teams are getting it done on the ground. Pittsburgh received great production from second-year sensation Willie Parker while Duce Staley and Jerome Bettis were out with injuries and now expects the veterans to be able to contribute. The Chargers feature LaDainian Tomlinson, who is widely regarded as the best running back, if not player, in the NFL.

A bit more surprising has been the terrific play of quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees. Last year, they were breakout performers; the Steelers' Roethlisberger exceeded all expectations as a rookie, and Brees simply refused to let the Chargers give his job to top draft pick Philip Rivers. Any doubts this year about their abilities to repeat that level of play have been quelled.