In their second of three consecutive matchups against teams from the AFC North, the San Diego Chargers (4-7) will host the Cincinnati Bengals (6-5) on Sunday, Dec. 2 at Qualcomm Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1:25 p.m. PST.
As of Tuesday, more than 12,000 tickets remain to lift the local television blackout. If they are sold by 1:25 p.m. on Thursday, CBS Sports will televise the game throughout Southern California with Marv Albert calling the play-by-play and former NFL quarterback Rich Gannon providing color commentary.
For the Chargers, the team just needs a win. The Bolts have lost six of their last seven games. The team suffered a heartbreaking 16-13 overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens in which the Ravens scored 10 points in the final 4:19 of regulation before winning the game on a 38-yard field goal after 13:53 of overtime. Nursing a three-point lead, the Chargers had a chance to close out the game with 1:59 remaining, but Baltimore converted a 4th-and-29 on a controversial play. The Ravens picked up the first down and continued to drive for the game-tying field goal that sent the game to overtime. It overshadowed a stellar defensive performance for the first 55:41 as the Chargers’ defense recorded five sacks while holding Baltimore to just three points and 228 yards of total offense.
The Bengals come in on the opposite end of the spectrum as they have won three straight to post a record of 6-5. The streak includes wins over the New York Giants (31-13) and two of the Chargers AFC West rivals, Kansas City (28-6) and Oakland (34-10). The Bengals trail AFC North-leading Baltimore by three games with five to play, but they are in the thick of the AFC Wild Card Playoff race.
The Chargers will have to deal with a hot quarterback in Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton, a 2011 second-round pick who led the Bengals to the playoffs with a 9-7 record as a rookie and who also was selected to play for the AFC in the Pro Bowl. Dalton has continued where he left off as a rookie, completing 237 of 374 (63.4%) for 2,769 yards, nearly 252 yards per game, with 23 touchdowns to just 11 interceptions. His top target is the NFL’s fourth-leading receiver and the team’s top draft pick of a year ago, wide receiver A.J. Green, who’s already racked up 1,022 yards and an NFL-leading (tied) 10 touchdown catches on 67 total receptions. And the Bengals, who’ve rushed for 1,253 yards as a team, feature the veteran Benjarvus Green-Ellis, who’s well on his way to his second-career 1,000-yard season with 767 yards and five touchdowns on 201 carries.
The Chargers will also face a talented Bengals defense that ranks ninth in the NFL in total defense, eighth against the pass and has recorded 35 sacks, second-most in the league. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins has a team-leading nine, while defensive end Michael Johnson has eight.
Adding to the Chargers’ woes in facing the Bengals this week, the team came out of last Sunday’s game against Baltimore with one of its lengthiest injury reports in recent memory. Here is a look at the injuries that the team reported: linebackers
Chargers secondary coach Ron Meeks was the defensive backs coach for the Bengals from 1992-96. Tight ends coach Jason Michael is from Portsmouth, Ohio. Safety
Bengals strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton was an assistant strength and condition coach with the Chargers from 1995-98. Quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese attended USD, served as an assistant coach with the school from 1990-91 and is the son of former Chargers offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese. Bengals running backs coach Jim Anderson served as the defensive coordinator at Morse High School in San Diego in 1972.
Bengals guard Clint Boling is from the same hometown in Georgia as Chargers quarterback
Familiar Faces, cont.
Cincinnati defensive backs coach Mark Carrier, linebacker Rey Maualuga and safety Taylor Mays all attended USC. Safety Tony Dye attended UCLA and is from Corona, Calif. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict is also from Corona.
Other Bengals with ties to Southern California include wide receiver Armon Binns (Pasadena), cornerback Leon Hall (Vista), wide receiver Marvin Jones (Fontana), cornerback Taveon Rogers (Lancaster) and defensive end DeQuin Evans (Long Beach).
The Chargers and Bengals have a history that dates to 1968 as the teams have met 30 times in the regular season and once in the playoffs in a game in January 1982 that was played on the coldest day in NFL history and was later dubbed “The Freezer Bowl.” The Chargers lead the all-time series, 19-12 (playoff game included) and though the Bengals won the last meeting, 34-20 in 2010, the Chargers have won two of the last three, five of the last seven and eight of the last 11. The Chargers are 10-5 in games played between the teams in San Diego.
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