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Chargers Dominate Steelers for Resounding Win
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The Chargers desperately needed a win after dropping their previous four decisions, and the Bolts came into hostile Heinz Field and manhandled the Steelers on their way to a win.
San Diego won the opening coin toss and deferred. After three straight punts to start the game, the Chargers took over at their own 31-yard line. After converting three third downs, Novak drilled a long 51-yard field goal to put the visitors up 3-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Seven straight punts started the second quarter before the Chargers offense got a touchdown for the first time in eight quarters. On a third down at the Steelers 39 yard line, Philip Rivers found Danario Alexander down the left sideline for a long touchdown pass and a 10-0 lead. The Steelers were at midfield and went for it on fourth down, but the defense held, giving the Chargers offense great field position with 1:58 left in the quarter. After two first downs, Novak connected on a 39-yard field goal to increase the lead to 13-0. With less than a minute to go, the Steelers finally got rolling, and kicked a 49-yard field goal as time expired to cut the Bolts lead to 13-3 heading into halftime.
The Chargers received the ball to begin the third quarter. They strung together a 10 minute drive and drove deep into Steelers territory, all the way down to the three yard line. On third down, Rivers connected with Malcom Floyd to give the Bolts a 20-3 lead. Then, on the Steelers first play from scrimmage on the next drive, Ben Roethlisberger threw a backward pass that bounced into the back of the end zone. Quentin Jammer jumped on it and just like that, the Chargers led 27-3 with 5:16 left in the game. Pittsburgh responded strongly as Roethlisberger hit Mike Wallace 2:43 later for a 40-yard TD strike to cut the lead to 17 points, 27-10 heading into the fourth quarter.
Bront Bird picked off Roethlisberger early in the fourth quarter deep in Steelers territory, setting up a Danario Alexander touchdown to extend the lead to 34-10. The Steelers drove the length of the field that resulted in a 11-yard touchdown to Mike Wallace, his second of the day, to bring the score to 34-17. Melvin Ingram caught a pooch kick at the Chargers 34 as they started with 6 minutes left. After three straight three and outs, Roethlisberger again drovethe field with short 10-yard passes with the defense playing very safe, taking no risks of being beat deep. The Steelers ate up a lot of clock driving to the 1-yard line before a touchdown pass to Antonio Brown cut the score to 34-24. Read
The Steelers did not go for an onside kick, so Philip Rivers took a knee and secured the victory.
The Chargers held a 10 point lead as they received the ball to start the third quarter. What they did with it proved to be the turning point of the game as Philip Rivers orchestrated a 17 play, 78-yard drive that took 9:32. The drive, which was the second longest in the NFL this season, culminated with a three yard touchdown pass to Malcom Floyd that gave the Bolts a three score advantage the Steelers were never able to overcome.
It Was Over When…
Just 12 seconds after going up 20-3, Ben Roethlisberger threw a backward pass that hit off the back of his tight end, David Paulson. The ball bounced backward into the corner of the end zone where Quentin Jammer pounced on it for a 27-3 lead.
Play of the Game
On 3rd-and-1 at the Steelers 39-yard line midway through the second quarter, Danario Alexander ran about seven yard before a sputter step move left Steelers cornerback Curtis Brown completely helpless. Alexander ran right pass the defensive back up the left sideline, hauled in a perfectly thrown pass from Philip Rivers and ran the rest of the way into the end zone, celebrating his score with an emphatic dunk through the uprights.
Stat of the Game
The win was the Chargers first ever regular season victory in Pittsburgh in 15 tries.
“For me, the game really says something about our guys and the mentality that they have. The thing I’ve been talking about all along is the way they approach this. They’ve come together and I think it starts because they care about each other and they play for each other.” – Head Coach Norv Turner
“Defensively we did a great job. They got a score for us. And the field position game, Mike Scifres was awesome with the defense. They played the game with their backs to the end zone the whole first half,” – Quarterback Philip Rivers
“When Norv is on point calling the plays like he was today, it’s hard to stop.” – Center Nick Hardwick
“I think the O-Line came out and played well. I felt we did a great job as a team. I felt the coaches did great. I’m just happy that we were able to execute and come out with the win.” – Left Tackle Kevin Haslam
“I told the guys no one was giving us a chance. Let’s go out and shock the world. And we did. It feels great.” – Safety Eric Weddle
Odds and Ends
Nick Novak’s 51-yard field goal was only the fifth ever 50-yard plus field goal in the history of Heinz Field.
The Chargers are now tied with the Chicago Bears for the most defensive touchdowns in the NFL with seven.
The last time the Chargers had a touchdown drive of 17-plus plays was on Sept. 19, 2004 against the New York Jets. The last time they had a touchdown drive that last 9:32-plus was on Nov. 30, 1997 against the Denver Broncos.
For the fourth time this season the Chargers did not commit a turnover.
Marcus Gilchrist, Eric Weddle, Bront Bird and Demorrio Williams tied with a team-high five defensive tackles. Bird added another on special teams to give him a team-high six tackles.
The inactives today included Donald Butler, Eddie Royal, Mike Harris, Jeromey Clary, Tyronne Green, Ladarius Green and Antonio Garay.
Changes to the starting lineup included Kevin Haslam at left tackle for Harris, Rex Hadnot at left guard for Tyronne Green, Reggie Wells at right tackle for Clary and Demorrio Williams at inside linebacker for Butler.
The Chargers reported the following injuries: Demorrio Williams –ankle, Vaughn Martin – groin, Nick Hardwick – stinger, Darrell Stuckey – hamstring, Kendall Reyes – quad, Dante Rosario – quad. Read