Pittsburgh Steelers 24, San Diego Chargers 20
Antonio Gates‘ return was spoiled on the final play of the game of the Monday Night match-up against the Steelers (3-2). Gates was back from serving a four game suspension for PED’s and boy, did he come out blazing.
Rivers found him on the first two throws for 10 yard and 12 yard gains. Then three plays later hit Gates in the end zone for his 100 career reception and it gave the Chargers (2-3) a quick 7-0 lead.
The Rivers-Gates connection has yielded 74 TD over the course of their careers, the most between a QB/TE tandem.
Everything looked gravy after that first possession but the Chargers offense had a tough time moving the ball after that. They had four 3-and-outs and a missed Hail Mary (60-yard field goal) at the end of the half, but the defense played well and held the Steelers to just a field goal.
Holding penalties, O-line getting pushed back into Rivers and draw plays out of the shotgun with only two starting O-lineman were just a few things that halted the offense in the first half and on the night in general.
Please Coach McCoy, let Rivers run the no-huddle and have him call plays at the line of scrimmage. I’d feel a lot better than Frank Reich calling in the plays. The offense takes off when we run the no-huddle, it only makes sense to use it more often.
The Chargers appeared to have a solid drive going with their first possession of the second half, but Melvin Gordon fumbled going down on a 3rd and two. It was his second lost fumble of the season.
The defense held it down, sacking Mike Vick three times. Ricardo Mathews, Corey Liuget, and Darrell Stuckey each got to him once. Jeremiah Attaochu had a solid game with 9 tackles (led the team), including two tackles for losses. He’s been looking great this season getting pressure off the edge.
Disaster struck when Steelers’ corner Antwon Blake undercut Malcom Floyds‘ route and picked it off. He took it back 70 yards to the house and giving the Steelers a 10-7 lead. It was the third time Rivers has thrown a pick six this year. It didn’t look like everyone on the Chargers was giving it their all trying to chase down Blake either.
Josh Lambo hit a 40-yard field goal early in the 4th quarter in the first to tie it at 10 all.
When the Chargers got it back, they marched down the field again and Rivers connected with Gates for his second TD of the game. That capped off an 8 play 60-yard drive and gave the Bolts a 17-10 lead.
But the Steelers came right back. Their first play after the Chargers score, Vick found Markus Wheaton streaking past Brandon Flowers for a 72-yard TD. The play was apparently drawn up on the sideline from Ben Rothlisberger as it was not in the game plan (wow, he’s so cool). Flowers was burned on the double move by Wheaton, and hasn’t looked like the lock down corner he was last season.
Rivers and co. got the ball back with just over 7 minutes left on the clock. The drive ended with a clutch (at the time) 54-yard field goal by Josh Lambo to give the Chargers the lead back.
Chargers just needed one more stop and they were going home with a victory. On a 3rd and 6 on the San Diego 41, Vick couldn’t find anyone open but took off up the middle of the field with no one
around and picked 24 yards.
A couple plays later Vick found Heath Miller just shy of the goal line and Chargers’ safety Jaheel Addae made sure he didn’t get into the end zone but was flagged for targeting (bs). I guess he was just supposed to let Miller score, I’m really not sure. Anyway, that penatly allowed the Steelers to save their one timeout and with 5 seconds left on the clock, Le’Veon Bell took the ball out of the Wildcat and ran it left. He was wrapped up and being taken down but reached out and the ball crossed the goal line before his knee hit, touch down Steelers. Game over.
It was a great day at Qualcomm all around. The game clock operator let almost 30 seconds come off the clock from when the Chargers kicked off following the go-ahead field goal. I know it wasn’t the most exciting game, but someone snoozed off. Nothing you can do about it though.
But someone who did have a great day, was cornerback Jason Verrett. This guy is going to be a top corner in this league for awhile. He blanketed Antonio Brown all night and shut him down. Brown finished with just 3 catches for 45 yards.
Philip Rivers 35/48 365 yards 2 TD’s 1 INT
Melvin Gordon 15 carries 45 yards
Antonio Gates 9 rec 92 yards 2 TD’s
Josh Lambo for the clutch 54-yarder with a little over 2 minutes left in the game. That kick, more often than not, is the game winner.
San Diego Chargers @ Green Bay Packers
Chargers will travel to the land of cheese to take on the Pack in Lambeau. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are nearly unstoppable on offense, especially at home. The Rams put up a good fight last week and even picked off Rodgers twice, but this one isn’t looking good unless we some how get completely healthy in a week. Buckle up!
Shout out to Danny Coyle’s in San Francisco. Awesome Chargers’ bar and it was still fun enjoying the game with fellow Bay Area Bolts fans.
Nick was born and raised in San Diego where he became a Chargers and Padres fan, attending numerous home games throughout the years with his dad. He then went on to attend college at the University of Arizona. There he earned his degree in marketing and now lives in San Francisco where he dreams of the the sunny beaches of San Diego. Bear Down.