AFC North: 2014 Quick Takes AFC

Quick Take: Chargers at Bengals

December, 29, 2013
12/29/13
11:00
PM ET
Three things to know about Sunday's San Diego Chargers-Cincinnati Bengals playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium:

1. Haven't we been here before? The Bengals and Chargers will meet for the second time in 35 days. This time around, San Diego will be the team making the cross-country trip. In the teams' Dec. 1 meeting, the Bengals staved off the rallying Chargers by returning to the best run-pass balance they had in weeks. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown in the 17-10 win, and rookie Giovani Bernard added 57 rushing yards. As the pair led a 164-yard rushing attack, quarterback Andy Dalton threw for 190 yards. This also marks the first playoff game between the teams since 1981, when the Bengals hosted the Chargers at old Riverfront Stadium in the second-coldest NFL game ever played. In what was nicknamed the "Freezer Bowl," temperatures that day dipped to minus-9 and the wind chill was minus-59. Temperatures are expected to hover around 40 degrees next week.

2. Rivers can wing it: Cincinnati will brace for Philip Rivers' powerful right arm. He entered this weekend's games with the league's third-highest QBR and ranked in the top 10 for passing yards. A true pocket quarterback, his prolific passing stats are a credit to his playmaking receivers, including rookie Keenan Allen and tight end Antonio Gates. The key to solving Rivers is pressure. In the first meeting, the Bengals sacked him twice. They've been doing a solid job of getting after other quarterbacks of late, too. Against Joe Flacco on Sunday, Cincinnati had a pair of sacks and three interceptions.

3. Ground-and-pound Part 2? The key to the Bengals' success in the first meeting was their dedication to the ground game. Since then, the Bengals have rushed for more than 150 yards just one other time -- the next week against Indianapolis. It was after the Chargers win that offensive tackle Anthony Collins mentioned how the offensive line set a goal each week of helping open enough holes so the ball carriers can reach the 150-yard milestone. Among the reasons for Cincinnati's success in that game was the movement of Andrew Whitworth from left tackle to left guard. He replaced Clint Boling, who went down with an ACL tear. With Whitworth moved, Collins came off the bench and took his old tackle spot. That same line rotation has been used since, but it underwent serious tweaks Sunday, when multiple Bengals came in and out with injuries.

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