Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Philip Rivers tossed a trio of touchdown
passes on Sunday, as the San Diego Chargers spoiled the return of Ben
Roethlisberger with a 34-24 triumph over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz
Rivers completed 21-of-41 passes for 200 yards, while Danario Alexander hauled
in seven passes for 88 yards and a pair of scores for the Chargers (5-8), who
snapped a four-game skid to avoid locking up their first losing season on the
six-season watch of coach Norv Turner.
The Chargers also added a defensive touchdown in the victory, their first ever
regular-season win in Pittsburgh.
Roethlisberger missed the last three games due to a sprained right shoulder
and an accompanying rib injury, but managed to throw for 285 yards and three
scores with one interception on 22-of-42 passing.
Mike Wallace finished with seven catches for 112 yards and two scores for the
Steelers (7-6), who were coming off a 23-20 triumph over rival Baltimore last
Pittsburgh's offense struggled to find a rhythm in the first half, giving the
Chargers excellent field position throughout the opening 30 minutes.
Nick Novak buried a 51-yard field goal on San Diego's second touch of the
game, but the Chargers were unable to take advantage of the fortuitous
starting position until late in the second quarter.
Starting from the Pittsburgh 48, the Chargers needed just three plays to
score, as Alexander lost his defender with a double move before Rivers found
him wide open down the left sideline for a 39-yard touchdown to make it 10-0
with 3:40 left in the half.
The Steelers turned it over on downs on their ensuing touch when Isaac Redman
was stacked up at the line on 4th-and-1 from the Pittsburgh 47.
The Chargers quickly capitalized, as Novak knocked a 39-yarder through the
uprights to extend the lead to 13-0 with under a minute left in the half.
Pittsburgh crossed midfield for the first time on its ensuing touch, as
Roethlisberger bought time in the pocket and fired a 31-yard strike to
Emmanuel Sanders to the San Diego 48.
Three plays later, Roethlisberger found Wallace over the middle for 17 yards
and after a spike, Shaun Suisham buried a 49-yard field goal to trim the
deficit to 13-3 heading into the locker room.
San Diego turned its first possession of the second half into points, as
Rivers converted a trio of third downs before Ronnie Brown picked up another
first down with a 17-yard surge on 3rd-and-13 down to the Pittsburgh 12.
Three plays later, Rivers picked up the biggest third down of the drive, as he
found Michael Floyd for a 3-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-1 to cap the 17-play,
78-yard drive and give the visitors a 20-3 advantage.
San Diego then blew the game open with another touchdown just 12 seconds
On the first play of Pittsburgh's ensuing drive, Roethlisberger threw a quick
screen to Antonio Brown, but the ball bounced off the back of a blocker and
rolled into the end zone.
The throw was ruled a backward pass and after Brown was unable to scoop up the
loose ball, San Diego defensive back Quentin Jammer pounced on the fumble for
a touchdown. The play was reviewed, but the ruling was upheld to give San
Diego a 27-3 edge with 5:16 left in the third.
The Steelers answered quickly, as Roethlisberger scrambled for eight yards on
3rd-and-4 to keep the touch alive before finding Wallace deep down the field
two plays later for a 40-yard touchdown to trim the margin to 27-10.
After a San Diego punt, Pittsburgh got the ball at their own 6-yard line, but
on the second play of the possession, Roethlisberger was picked off by Bront
Bird at the Pittsburgh 17.
Two plays later, Rivers floated a pass for Alexander in the front of the end
zone and the wideout out-leaped his defender and hauled in the 15-yard score
to make it 34-10 with under 10 minutes left in the game.
Pittsburgh answered with a scoring march, as Roethlisberger converted a pair
of third downs before capping the 10-play trek with an 11-yard TD toss to
Wallace to cut the margin to 34-17 with just over six minutes left.
Roethlisberger added a 1-yard touchdown pass to Brown with less than a minute
left, but the Steelers' ensuing onside kick was recovered by San Diego and the
Chargers ran out the remainder of the clock.
Pittsburgh cornerback Ike Taylor's streak of 135 straight games played came to
an end after he fractured an ankle in Baltimore ... Pittsburgh leads the all-
time series, 21-7 ... Roethlisberger's interception was his first at home in
his last 145 pass attempts ... San Diego hasn't lost more games than it's won
since going 4-12 in 2003 ... The Steelers had won the previous 14 meetings
between these teams in Pittsburgh.
The Sports Network