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Sun., Mar. 08, 2015 1:30 PM PDT
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Offensive Line Gives Rivers Time
Coming into Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the biggest question mark concerning the San Diego Chargers was the offensive line.
Three starters were inactive due to injury, forcing recently signed replacements to step into the lineup.
And the most surprising part: this makeshift offensive line did surprising well.
Guard Tyronne Green (hamstring) and rookie left tackle Mike Harris (ankle) were injured midway through last week’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, while tackle Jeromey Clary injured his knee in the first series against the Bengals.
Replacing the injured trio were Kevin Haslam, who took over for Clary in last week’s game and started at the left tackle position, Reggie Wells, who was signed earlier this week and started at right tackle and Rex Hadnot, the veteran who was starting his second game of the season. This was Wells’ first game of 2012 and first start since 2010, while Haslam was starting for the first time in his career.
Along these three, center Nick Hardwick and guard Louis Vasquez rounded out the front five. At one point in the game, Hardwick left the game with a neck injury, forcing backup center Colin Baxter into action.
Despite facing the fifth-best rushing defense and best pass defense in the NFL, the offensive line only allowed one sack and four hits on quarterback Philip Rivers.
Chargers vs. Steelers
“It was good,” Hardwick said. “We had a lot of fun. We battled this week. We didn’t know who was going to be in there until it came down to the wire. It didn’t really matter. Guys came in, did a great job, coaches did an unbelievable job preparing and keeping the program tight this week. Everyone just jumped in and got right on board really quick. We’re proud of ourselves.”
“Guys worked their tails off to prepare this week,” Hardwick said. “We were ready to go. We were ready to play this week. The guys did a great job honing in this week and the plan was tight. The preparation was phenomenal. The guys just did a good job buying in.”