Thursday update: Rivers ready weather or not; Lewis says it was nothing negative; Chad out again

Posted Dec 23, 2010

Updated: 4 p.m.

Since 2006, the Chargers and quarterback Philip Rivers have lost just one regular-season game in December (three weeks ago at home against Oakland), and it isn't often they've endured the cold that is supposed to hit Cincinnati for Sunday's game.

But when they do, the numbers say that Rivers is his Pro Bowl self.

The National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio is calling for Sunday's game-time temperature at Paul Brown Stadium at about 25 degrees under cloudy skies with the wind chill to make it feel like it's between 10 to 15 degrees with winds out of the northwest at about 10 to 20 miles per hour.

San Diego has played two games at 32 degrees or colder since '06. The Chargers won at Buffalo on Dec. 3, 2006, 24-21, in 32 degrees with a wind chill of 22. Three years later on Dec. 6, 2009 in Cleveland, the Chargers beat the Browns, 30-23, in 28 degrees with a wind chill of 19.

The Chargers have lost two playoff games in sub-freezing temperatures in that stretch. New England beat them in Foxboro in the 2007 AFC title game on Jan. 20, 2008, 21-12, in 29 degrees with a wind chill of 18, and the next season lost a divisional game in Pittsburgh on Jan. 11, 2009, 35-24, when it was 26 degrees with a 15 wind chill.

Rivers hasn't blinked. In those four games he's got a passer rating of 101 with eight touchdowns and two interceptions and the long ball has been there with 8.34 yards per throw. So there is going to be no Dan Fouts glaze job here in the Freezer Bowl 28 years ago.

"I think too much is made of it, only because I don’t know anybody that loves playing in it," said Rivers this week in a conference call with the Cincinnati media. "We don’t necessarily love playing in it. We’ve gone back east late in years and handled it. You have to handle it each and every time. It doesn’t mean you’re going to handle it because you have previously, but I don’t see it being a hindrance for us just because we don’t get to play in it.

"This has really been the first year (we’re going to play in weather this cold). We played in a monsoon almost in Kansas City Week 1, but since then we haven’t had any weather games. This is the farthest (east) we’ve gone all year. We haven’t gone past Kansas City. We went to St. Louis, but that was inside. It is quite different this year, but I don’t think it’ll be a problem.”

San Diego has been getting some bad weather this week with torrential rains that have flooded the Chargers stadium.

"We’ve probably been fortunate to get a little bit of weather these past two days," Rivers said. "It was real windy today, and it rained Monday during the whole practice. I know that’s different than 18 degrees and maybe a little snow. I don’t know what the wind is like there, but it was good to be in the wind today. I don’t know if there’s anything you can do. You just go there in warmups, get acclimated, and handle it for three-and-a-half, four hours, and hope you play really well and win the game.”

LEWIS IRKED: Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis didn't like the way his "mopey" remark about wide receiver Chad Ochocino was interpreted. In rather animated fashion he told a group of reporters after Thursday's practice that he meant nothing negative about his answer to a "How is Chad?" question during Wednesday's conference call with the San Diego media.

Lewis was livid that what he felt was such an innocuous remark became a headline, which it did when it was brought to The Ocho's attention and he tweeted he was playing hurt and that he felt he had been thrown under the bus.

"He was mopey that day. Sometimes he's happy. Sometimes he's sad. He's up, he's down," Lewis said as he walked past reporters. "It was nothing negative."

"It's juvenile," Lewis said of the attention.

Ochocinco had no elaboration off his bus tweet Thursday. The Ocho considers himself close to Lewis and was shocked by the statement. He's looking at postseason surgery for bone spurs in his ankle and didn't practice Thursday for the second straight day.

"I've got no more to say," he said.

Also not working was running back Brian Leonard (ankle). Running back Bernard Scott was on the field after not working Wednesday.

JOSEPH UNMOVED: With 13 regulars and the head coach not having a contract for next season, a lot of guys are being asked this week if they have thought about Sunday's 4 p.m. game against the Chargers possibly being their last appearance at Paul Brown Stadium.

Cornerback Johnathan Joseph, the most coveted potential free agent, gave the representative answer before Thursday's practice.

"It's all the same to me. Whether we play Pittsburgh, Baltimore, it doesn't matter," Joseph said. "First or last game. Doesn't matter. Same field, same lines, same ball."

Joseph, a fifth-year player, said he'd like to come back and was hoping there'd be a deal by now. He said he'd be amenable to getting tagged with the franchise or transition tag designation, which figures to be between $10 to $13 million.

"I'd sign it the first day," Joseph said with a laugh. "Hopefully we can get a deal done before then."


» Tight end Reggie Kelly signs his new book “Prepared” Tuesday, Dec. 28 from Noon to 1 p.m. at the Bengals Pro Shop, where it is on sale for $12.99.

» Clint Stitser is two field goals shy of tying Mike Nugent's record of nine straight to start a Bengals career. Asked what his longest personal streak is, Stitser said, "I don't know, but I know it's seven in the NFL."


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