Rice was swarmed, gaining just 40 yards on 20 carries with five receptions for 53 yards.

He gained only 13 yards on 10 carries in the first half, his least in a first half since an Oct. 24, 2011 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars where he was limited to 9 yards on four carries.

Allowing 87.9 rushing yards per game, San Diego has the third-ranked run defense.

"We've got to reinvent ourselves a week later, but obviously it's always been tough-sledding against them," said Rice, who has rushed for 697 yards and seven touchdowns. "You can't just run at the Steelers. This week, same kind of deal. Those are big, heavy guys up front. You get those big guys moving, and hopefully you get a crease."

Upshaw adapting to a new role

Rookie outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw lost his starting job when Suggs returned.

The Ravens have tried to find creative ways to keep the second-round draft pick on the field, lining him up at defensive end and nose guard against the Oakland Raiders. However, he played just 35 snaps in Pittsburgh.

"I'm more than happy for them to call on my name when they need somebody," said Upshaw, who has 39 tackles with just 14 over the past four games. "I don't mind. Whatever it is, I'm willing to do it."

Pollard preparing for Gates again

Pollard lined up against Chargers star tight end Antonio Gates several times when he played in the AFC West for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Although Gates has 30 receptions and 355 receiving yards and is on pace for his lowest totals since his rookie year, Pollard said the former basketball player remains a difficult assignment.

"He's still an impact player, still a phenomenal athlete," Pollard said. "I respect him. He can still maneuver and get open. It's going to be a fun matchup."

Keeping an eye on Barnes

The Ravens had no answer last season for Chargers outside linebacker Antwan Barnes. A fourth-round pick by Baltimore in 2007, Barnes sacked Flacco four times in 2011.

Although Barnes has just seven tackles, a sack and two fumble recoveries this season because of a strained hamstring, the Ravens regard him as a dangerous pass rusher. Barnes, who's no longer on the injury report, recorded a career-high 11 sacks last season.

"Barnsie went off," offensive guard Marshal Yanda said. "He can really bring the heat off the edge. We've got to contain him a lot better than we did last time. He's got a lot of speed."

Game blacked out in California

Because the Chargers failed to sell out Sunday's game and have more than 9,000 tickets available, the game has been blacked out in Southern California under NFL rules.

The game will still be shown live in Maryland on CBS.

End zone

Harbaugh excused the players early for the Thanksgiving holiday after practicing indoors to simulate the warmer weather anticipated in San Diego. "We know this is a business trip," tight end Ed Dickson said. "It's tough playing around the holidays, but we had a great day and got a good sweat in because it's going to be nice in San Diego. We're focused and ready to play." ... The Ravens expect to hear a lot of good-natured trash-talking from former Baltimore fullback Le'Ron McClain. "There is no clean stuff Le'Ron will say," Suggs said. "You know the kind of vocabulary we use when we're out there. He's definitely going to be jawing, and we're going to give him a little jaw back."

awilson@baltsun.com

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matt.vensel@baltsun.com

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