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Chargers - Steelers Game Day Report

Posted Dec 9, 2012

Third Quarter

The Chargers began the third quarter with a 13-3 lead and the ball. Five consecutive first downs, four of third-down conversions, put the Chargers deep into Steelers territory. Running back Ronnie Brown was able to get the first down on third-and-13 to put San Diego in the red zone. On third-and-one, Rivers found wide receiver Malcolm Floyd in the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown to make it 20-3 Chargers. The touchdown pass was Rivers’ second of the game and 20th of the season, his seventh consecutive season with 20 touchdown passes, which is a franchise record. The touchdown drive was 17 plays, covered 78 yards and took 9:32 off the clock.

On the Steelers’ ensuing play from scrimmage, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger intended a pass for wide receiver Antonio Brown, but the pass hit the back of tight end David Paulson and rolled into the end zone. Cornerback Quentin Jammer the ball for a San Diego touchdown. The referees reviewed the play, but the call stood. It was the second touchdown in 12 seconds and gave the Chargers a 27-3 lead.

The Steelers came out with a sense of urgency on their next drive, driving 80 yards down the field for a 40-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to wide receiver Mike Wallace. The touchdown cut the deficit to 27-10.

On their next drive, the Chargers faced fourth down and a punting situation. But free safety Eric Weddle took the direct snap and ran for the first down to stop the Steelers’ momentum and silence the crowd. The trick play gave the Chargers drive new life.

Second Quarter

The Steelers began the second quarter with the ball, but were forced to punt.

The Chargers were again able to convert on two third-down chances, but not on the third, as running back Jackie Battle was stuffed behind the line of scrimmage on third-and-two. Mike Scifres punted again, pinning Roethlisberger and the Steelers deep in their own territory. Center Nick Hardwick briefly left the game with a neck injury, forcing Colin Baxter into action.

The Steelers took over and again were unable to do anything with the ball, going three-and-out and punting.

The Chargers took over on Pittsburgh’s 46-yard line. Facing another third down, wide receiver Danario Alexander dropped a sure first down and Scifres was again forced to punt, pinning the Steelers inside their own 10-yard line. Hardwick returned after leaving the game on the previous drive.

Again, the Steelers went three-and-out, with Roethlisberger taking a vicious hit from linebacker Demorrio Williams on third down to force an incompletion.

The Chargers would continue to win the field position battle, starting the drive on Pittsburgh’s 36-yard line. After a trick play went wrong, Alexander dropped another third-down pass that would have resulted in a first down. Scifres punted for a fourth time.

The Steelers continued to struggle on offense, with cornerback Marcus Gilchrist sacking Big Ben on third down, bringing up another Steelers punt.

A third straight drive for the Chargers would start on Pittsburgh’s side of the field. And the big move finally came. On third-and-one, Alexander stutter stepped past the Steelers secondary and caught the Philip Rivers’ pass down the left sideline for a 39-yard touchdown. The touchdown made it 10-0 and was the Chargers first offensive TD in 7 quarters.

On their next drive, the Steelers were stopped short on fourth-and-inches, as the Chargers took over again on the Steelers side of the field with two minutes left in the half.

Consecutive first down passes to Spurlock and tight end Antonio Gates has the Chargers at about the 20-yard line with a minute left in the half. On third down with 10 yards to go, Rivers was unable to connect with wide receiver Malcolm Floyd. Nick Novak’s second field goal of the game, this one a 39-yarder, gave the Chargers a 13-0 lead.

With 28 seconds left in the half, the Steelers took their first snap on the Chargers’ side of the field. Later in the drive, Shaun Suisham knocked in a 49-yard field goal as time expired to cut the deficit to 13-3.

Rivers finished the half 10-for-25 passing for 114 yards and one touchdown, while Roethlisberger was 9-for-20 passing for 105 yards. Alexander leads the Chargers with two receptions for 45 yards.

First Quarter

Meeting for the first time since 2009, the San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers took the field with NFL fans anxiously watching the return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The Steelers began the game with the ball. After getting a first down on the first play from scrimmage, Pittsburgh was unable continue the momentum and was forced to punt. Prior to today’s game, the Steelers had scored on seven of their first 12 opening drives this season.

The Chargers took the ball over near midfield and were quickly able to get into Pittsburgh territory before pressure by the Steelers front seven forced a punt. The Steelers defense came into today’s game ranked fifth in the NFL against the run and first against the pass.

The defensive battle continued as the Steelers went three-and-out on their second drive, giving the ball back to the Chargers.

San Diego began to get some momentum, with quarterback Philip Rivers converting two consecutive third downs to tight end Antonio Gates and wide receiver Micheal Spurlock, before two penalties by the Steelers defense gave the Chargers another first down on third down. Nick Novak gave the Chargers a 3-0 when he connected on a 51-yard field goal, the fifth from 50-plus yards in Heinz Field history.

The Steelers took over and drove to midfield as the first quarter ended.

Pregame Report

The San Diego Chargers (4-8) finish the AFC North portion of the schedule when they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers (7-5) at Heinz Field.

The Steelers, who are coming off a big 23-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens, are 5-2 over their last seven games and in the thick of the playoff hunt.

Pittsburgh is led by tight end Heath Miller, who has seven touchdowns and 613 yards receiving on 56 receptions, and wide receiver Mike Wallace, who has totaled 52 receptions for 616 yards and six touchdowns.

Fortunately for Miller and Wallace, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is expected to return to the field after injuring his shoulder and dislocating a rib in a 16-13 overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 12.

Meanwhile, inactive for the Bolts today is linebacker Donald Butler, defensive tackle Antonio Garay, wide receiver Eddie Royal, offensive tackle Mike Harris, offensive tackle Jeromey Clary, offensive guard Tyronne Green and tight end Ladarius Green.

Tyronne Green and Harris both were injured midway through last week’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, while Clary was injured in the first series. Butler was injured in Week 12 against the Baltimore Ravens and did not play last week. As a result, offensive tackle Kevin Haslam will start at left tackle, while guard Reggie Wells will start at right tackle.

Wells, who was signed this week, was on the roster earlier this season, though he was never active for a game. The 10-year veteran has appeared in 117 career games, starting 91 of them. Haslam, who was signed to the active roster on Nov. 24, played considerable minutes last Sunday when he took over for Clary.

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