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mesaSteeler
10-05-2009, 08:07 AM
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_646482.html#

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Steelers narrowly avoid late implosion in win

By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, October 5, 2009

The Steelers made sure they were not beaten by a late rally for the third week in a row.

And they did it by putting enough distance between themselves and the San Diego Chargers before the fourth quarter had started at Heinz Field.

Just enough as it turned out.

Behind Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall, the Steelers built a 21-point lead and held off a furious San Diego rally for a 38-28 win in front of an announced crowd of 64,065.

The Chargers (2-2) pulled to within seven points in the latter part of the fourth quarter after they recovered an onsides kick and needed just three plays to move 54 yards for a touchdown.

But the Steelers were able to grind out most of the clock because of Roethlisberger and Mendenhall, who finally showed why he was a first-round draft pick in 2008.

Jeff Reed finally put the Chargers away with a 46-yard field goal with 43 seconds left in the game

The Steelers snapped a two-game losing streak with their win over the Chargers, and they will try to improve to 3-2 next Sunday when they play the 1-3 Lions in Detroit.

"We have a good team," Steelers free safety Ryan Clark said. "I feel we can beat anybody on any day, but we've shown we can let any team back in the game also."

Indeed, the Steelers got back on the winning track last night by dominating the Chargers for the first three quarters of the game and then hanging on for dear life.

Roethlisberger, who entered the game with the highest completion percentage in the NFL, hit on 14 of 18 passes for 209 yards in the first half when the Steelers took a commanding lead.

He finished with 333 passing yards and two touchdowns, and Roethlisberger may not have even been the Steelers' biggest star on offense.

Mendenhall had a career game a week after getting demoted for making too many mistakes in practice.

Mendenhall rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns.

Mendenhall, who entered the game with 103 career rushing yards, ran with authority, and he didn't just play with an edge when he ran the ball. He crushed Kevin Burnett on a blitz pick-up in the second quarter, and the Chargers linebacker stayed down after getting lit up by Mendenhall.

"We wanted to put the ball in (No.) 7's hands," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said, "and supplement it with the run."

On a night where a number of players wore pink gloves or cleats or both since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers mostly saw red at least in the first half.

That became evident near the end of the second quarter when he angrily waved off punter Mike Scifres following an incomplete pass on third down.

If Rivers did not want to come off the field, it was understandable since the Steelers largely kept him in the one place where he couldn't beat them for much of the game: the sideline.

The Steelers dominated time of possession, particularly in the pivotal first half when they had the ball for almost 16 minutes more than the Chargers (2-2).

As a result of the inactivity and the aggressive Steelers defense, Rivers never got going until it was too late though he did throw for 254 yards and three touchdowns.

San Diego has never beaten the Steelers in Pittsburgh during the regular season, and it found itself playing catch up almost from the start last night.

Roethlisberger led the Steelers on a six-play, 79-yard drive on the opening possession of the nationally televised game. He engineered a 75-yard scoring drive later in the quarter, and the Steelers took a 21-0 lead into halftime.

That gave the Steelers enough of a cushion to overcome their misadventures in the fourth quarter.

The first misstep happened when Stefan Logan had the ball wrested away from on a punt return. Jacob Hester returned the fumble 41 yards for a touchdown cutting the Steelers' lead to 28-14.

Trailing 35-14, the Chargers scored back-to-back touchdowns, a sequence bridged by the onsides kick that San Diego recovered.

But they could get no closer to the Steelers after Rivers threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Chris Chambers with four minutes and 31 seconds left in the game.

The offense made sure of that by putting together one more drive on a night when it produced its most complete performance of the young season.

"We knew we had it in us," Roethlisberger said after his 10th career 300-yard passing game. "We just, for some reason, weren't finishing and weren't making the plays when we had to, and I feel we did that (against the Chargers)."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

SteelersinCA
10-05-2009, 10:49 AM
I am certainly happy we played a good game and won, however I am still concerned about giving up 21 pts in the 4th qtr. Granted 2 of them were fumbles (one an onside kick) but I am still mildly troubled. However, the good news is it looks like we are getting things fixed.

solardave
10-05-2009, 11:17 AM
There was far more + than - in this one. We won, and the things we've criticized like the O-line,lack of running game,no push in the redzone,etc seem to be turning the corner. There is a lot to be excited about.

SteelersinCA
10-05-2009, 06:22 PM
Definitely and with Detroit and Cleveland coming up we should have significant room to try things out and make some needed adjustments.

stillers4me
10-05-2009, 06:27 PM
Not to mention the return of our own superhero, Troy Polamalu!

NJarhead
10-05-2009, 06:33 PM
Not crazy about the headline. We didn't narrowly avoid imploding. We PREVENTED the Chargers from winning.

Our defense gave up 14 late points by playing soft on a desperate and talented offense (21 points total - a good measure for any defense in this day and age).

Our offense responded with 10 points when it was apparent that the Chargers finally decided to do something with that talent. May have been more if Mundy recovers that suprise on-side kick.

They can't all be blow-outs and I'm satisfied with how we finished.

BlueSteel
10-05-2009, 07:11 PM
The 4th quarter was a nail-biter but we improved in the run game and showed some very nice balance on the offensive side overall. Bottom line is a win is a win and the guys on "D" aren't gonna give up or continue to let leads slip away all season. And Troy coming back which is only gonna help.

redst3
10-05-2009, 07:15 PM
A win is a win, and it was really a very exciting game! Let's face it, the Chargers are too good a team to lay down and they deserve credit.

LOVED Mendenhall's game last night

Edman
10-05-2009, 07:34 PM
The San Diego Chargers rebounded from a 4-8 start last year and won the AFC West year and beat the heavily favored 12-4 Colts to get to us. Granted they got help from Denver's epic collapse, but yeah. They're resiliant as hell. I kinda feel bad for the Charger fans watching that SB-caliber talent go to waste.

Philip Rivers as big a douche as he is, is as competitive as they come, and he's very good with great players like Gates to throw to. The Chargers have too much talent to lay down and die.

I still wish we didn't play such passive defense in the 4th quarter though.

NJarhead
10-05-2009, 07:48 PM
The San Diego Chargers rebounded from a 4-8 start last year and won the AFC West year and beat the heavily favored 12-4 Colts to get to us. Granted they got help from Denver's epic collapse, but yeah. They're resiliant as hell. I kinda feel bad for the Charger fans watching that SB-caliber talent go to waste.

Philip Rivers as big a douche as he is, is as competitive as they come, and he's very good with great players like Gates to throw to. The Chargers have too much talent to lay down and die.

I still wish we didn't play such passive defense in the 4th quarter though.

I hear ya, but at the same time there was no reason to reveal more blitzes/schemes with such a big lead. ....plus, it ended with a strip-sack. :tt03: