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mesaSteeler
11-17-2008, 01:33 AM
http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2008/11/16/sports/chargers/za7ba9ad36797f36d882575040005267c.txt

CHARGERS: Multiple mistakes haunt Bolts in loss to Steelers

By MIKE SULLIVAN - Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH ---- Antonio Gates' mind was racing fast as the Pittsburgh Steelers slowly moved downfield for the game-winning points against a tired and taxed Chargers' defense.

Gates was getting a head start on how the Chargers' offense had failed to take care of business on a cold and snowy Sunday.

"During that last-second drive, I thought about the situations where we made turnovers," said Gates, "and it came back to haunt us."

Oh yes, it did. The Chargers made three costly mistakes and scored just one offensive touchdown to sabotage a fine defensive effort as they suffered an 11-10 loss to the Steelers before 62,051 at Heinz Field.

Pittsburgh's Jeff Reed provided the winning points by kicking a 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds left to drop the Chargers to 4-6, leaving them two full games behind first-place Denver in the AFC West.

The Chargers are 0-13 in regular-season games played in Pittsburgh. And while unlucky No. 13 wasn't easy to accept, it was much easier to explain.

"The turnovers killed us," Gates said.

Quarterback Philip Rivers was intercepted twice and lost a fumble in his own end zone that resulted in a Pittsburgh safety during a frustrating day in which the Chargers' high-powered offense totaled just 213 offensive yards.

Rivers threw a costly interception to Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison with the Chargers leading by five points and positioned at the Pittsburgh 17-yard line late in the first half. So instead of the Chargers taking either an eight- or 12-point lead into halftime, the Steelers took over with 1:23 left in the half and drove downfield for Reed's 21-yard field goal that left them trailing just 7-5 at halftime.

"That was obviously a crucial play in the game," Rivers said.

There were numerous other missed opportunities. Of the Chargers' six first-half possessions, four began at their own 40 yard-line or better, including one possession that began at the Steelers' 49.

All they had to show for the excellent field position was a 3-yard first-quarter scoring run by LaDainian Tomlinson.

"It is becoming too much for us to overcome, obviously," Tomlinson said. "When you lose by one point, that's what you've got to look for ---- blown opportunities. When you play a real good team on the road, you can't do it."

Though the statistics reveal that the Chargers' defense gave up 410 yards, that unit allowed Pittsburgh (7-3) to score just nine offensive points.

Pittsburgh controlled the ball for over 36 1/2 minutes, more than 13 minutes more than the Chargers. And the gassed defense was unable to stop the Steelers from driving 73 yards on 13 plays over 6 1/2 minutes for Reed's winning field goal.

"Unfortunately, we didn't pull it out," said cornerback Quentin Jammer, who missed most of the final drive with leg cramps. "... We held them to nine points and under normal circumstances, that should be a win with the type of offense we have.

"But they have a great defense and they held us to 10 points."

The Chargers' defense set the tone for the gritty performance with a goal-line stand late in the first quarter. Pittsburgh had fourth-and-goal from inside the Chargers' 1, but linebacker Brandon Siler and Jammer stuffed Mewelde Moore for a 1-yard loss.

However, the Steelers didn't come away empty-handed. On third-and-9 from the Chargers 3, Rivers dropped back to throw and Pittsburgh's Harrison exploded past Brandon Manumaleuna for his 12th sack of the season and forced Rivers to fumble.

Offensive tackle Marcus McNeill recovered the ball and was tackled in the end zone for a Steelers' safety.

"I was trying to buy a little time," said Rivers, who matched a season low by passing for 159 yards. "In hindsight, you wish you maybe just would've tried to eat it and get out of there and live for another day and punt us out of there."

Reed kicked three field goals, including one that gave Pittsburgh an 8-7 lead in the third quarter. Nate Kaeding, who missed a 42-yard field-goal attempt in the third quarter, connected on a 22-yard field goal with 6:41 to play to put the Chargers back ahead, but his short kick was a result of a missed red-zone opportunity.

Kaeding's kick ended a 17-play, 78-yard drive in which the Chargers had first-and-goal at the Pittsburgh 6. Tomlinson gained 2 yards on first down and Rivers threw two incompletions.

"We wanted to score a touchdown," Tomlinson said. "Looking at the situation, you figure they haven't scored a touchdown all day and if we score a touchdown, it's going to be pretty hard for them to come back down and score a touchdown.

"Yeah, we knew how important it was. We just couldn't get it done."

Couldn't get it done ---- that's kind of becoming the rally cry for the Chargers' season, one that is quickly running down on a team forecasted to be a Super Bowl contender.

With six games left, the Chargers are two games behind Denver with no margin for error.

"It's going to be a tough road, man," Jammer said. "Very tough. But we'll be up to the challenge."

Contact staff writer Mike Sullivan at (760) 739-6645 or msullivan@nctimes.com.

(Looks like we got into their heads by the end of game. It seems that Chargers went into the game expecting bad things like turnovers to happen. - mesa)

jjpro11
11-17-2008, 01:56 AM
missed opportunities? the refs gave them every opportunity in the world to win and they still couldnt. they suck.

Edman
11-17-2008, 07:47 AM
The refs alone erased 14 points from the Steelers scoreboard.

They were provided with gifts each and everytime. They suck.

steelpride12
11-17-2008, 07:48 AM
The refs gave them a free touchdown to start the game. Missed opportunites?

Michael Keller
11-17-2008, 08:00 AM
The chargers do not win games llike the one played yesterday. The Steelers do and should . It was much more Steeler football ,

El-Gonzo Jackson
11-17-2008, 09:20 AM
Yup, the Chargers turned it over and stuffed the Steelers in short yardage situations, but otherwise got outplayed.

That game kind of reminded me of the Texans loss several seasons ago when the Steelers completely outgained the Texans....but lost on turnovers.

We let a bad team hang around too long, but I'm just happy we squeaked it out. On to the Bengals.