There is a home-field advantage in the NFL playoffs after all, and it belongs to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Now they’ve got to prove it means something against the team they despise like no other, and in the game they lose at home like no one else.
The Steelers, owners of the NFL’s best home-field record since the 1970 NFL merger, shook off a 7-0 deficit barely two minutes into the game, controlled pint-sized playmaker Darren Sproles and returned some normalcy to the postseason by beating the San Diego Chargers 35-24 in an AFC divisional game Sunday.
With a now-healthy Willie Parker running for 146 yards and two touchdowns, Ben Roethlisberger ignoring his late-season concussion to throw for a score and lead an efficient offense, the Steelers did what the favored Titans, Panthers and Giants couldn’t do by winning at home. It was the first time since 1971 that three road teams won during a single playoff weekend, and the Steelers made certain that road teams didn’t go 4-for-4.
“We talked about that, all the home teams—the No. 1 and 2 seeds—weren’t playing as well,” said Santonio Holmes, who got Pittsburgh going with a 67-yard punt return touchdown in the first quarter. “But we knew the road to the Super Bowl can run through Pittsburgh when we saw Baltimore won (at Tennessee). It was time to turn it on.”