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Philip Rivers Forced to use Silent Count in Home Loss

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It isn’t exactly unfamiliar territory, but it doesn’t make things any less embarrassing. Once again, Monday night’s game in San Diego was anything but a home affair for the struggling Chargers, who were out-cheered in their own stadium by a raucous contingent of Steeler Nation en route to a dramatic 24-20 Pittsburgh win.

Several times during the game, the noise became so bad that Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers had to revert to a silent count – a timed method of snapping the ball often used to combat noise during road games – to communicate with his own offense.

The passionate and always animated Rivers expressed a lot of frustration during the game, as the offense sputtered its way into mistakes, miscues and turnovers before the defense ultimately capitulated on the game’s final play.

“I’m usually hoarse after those road games. I’m going to be today as well,” Rivers joked after the loss. He later conceded that crowd noise “did not affect the outcome” and that it was “way down the list” as a tool for apportioning blame, but there was no doubt that the vocal away fans played a part in the outcome.

The Cali-based members of Steeler Nation even earned a tip of the cap from Mike Tomlin in the post-match press conference. The bizarre scenes, nationally televised, will only continue to fuel the fire of the myth that Steeler fans “travel well” whereas, in actuality, they are simply situated in every corner of the globe as it is, and there is no way to escape their presence short of booking a spaceship.

The fact that the Chargers fans were overrun by an opposing fanbase – again – doesn’t bode well for the vocal supporters desperate to keep the team in San Diego.

A large contingent of the “Save Our Bolts” campaigners were camped behind the uprights and scored valuable TV time with every PAT, field goal or touchback, while a touching pre-game special featuring one of the team’s oldest fans should draw some sympathy as well.

But the proof is in the numbers, and at the moment, the cruel irony is that America’s Finest City simply offers a lot more than watching a frustrating football team squander leads and watch its already small Super Bowl window tighten with each passing week.

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