The San Diego Chargers came into Pittsburgh and did what no other San Diego team had accomplished in the regular season; won. The Chargers kept the Pittsburgh Steelers off-balance, and eventually pulled away with a 34-24 victory.Phillip Rivers led them on a 12-play 36-yard drive to grab the lead mid way through the first quarter. Unfortunately, for the Chargers, the drive stalled and Nick Novak drilled a 51-yard field goal to make the score 3-0. That Novak field goal was the third longest in Heinz Field history.
After both defenses forced the opposition into multiple punts, the Chargers were finally able to take advantage of great field position. Danario Alexander beat Curtis Brown for a 39-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to extend the score to 10-0 with roughly three minutes remaining in the first half. The Steelers tried to convert on fourth-and-inches and failed at midfield, setting the Chargers up with field position again in the first half, and again the Chargers were able to add some points on the scoreboard. After one first down, Novak connected for his second field goal to make the score 13-0 with less than a minute remaining.
The Steelers took the 50 seconds and tuned it into points, with Ben Roethlisberger finally getting into a rhythm, moving them 59-yards in that 50 seconds to set up a Shaun Suisham 49-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
The Chargers took the second half kick off and basically salted the game away with a 17 play, 78-yard drive that took almost 10 minutes off the clock. On the drive, they converted six third downs and kept the pressure on the Steelers defense, leading to the Rivers to Malcom Floyd three-yard touchdown pass. This score coupled with the Quentin Jammer recovered Ben Roethlisberger lateral in the end zone 12-seconds later extended the score to 27-3 with less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Pittsburgh finally got their offense in gear late in the third quarter, when Roethlisberger connected with Mike Wallace on a 40-yard touchdown pass. This touchdown cut the score to 27-10; however, it did wake Wallace, who had been struggling with drops to that point in the game.
Following a three-and-out, the Chargers picked off Roethliserger at the 17-yard line and wasted little time making the Steelers pay. On the second play after the interception, Rivers hit Alexander for his second touchdown,, moving the score to 34-10 with 9:46 remaining.
The Steelers did not quit, and the offense continued to move the ball. On the next drive, Wallace and Roethlisberger connected again for an 11-yard touchdown with six minutes remaining. That score was followed by a Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown connection to bring the score to its final tally of 34-24.
The offense was out of sync most of the game in Roethlisberger’s return. Big Ben has completed only 22-of-42 for 285 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. After suffering through some drops in the first half, Wallace (7-112-2) and Brown (4-35-1) came on and joined tight end Heath Miller (5-66) with a solid second half of action. The Steelers also had no running game, with Jonathan Dwyer leading the way with eight carries for 32 yards. The offensive line played poorly, even before taking a hit, as guard Willie Colon re-injured his knee and will not return.
The defense struggled all game and had no answer for Rivers or the Chargers on third down. Giving up 12-of-22 third down conversions and allowed almost 37 minutes in the time of possession battle.
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