2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Steelers regrouping after 34-24 loss to Chargers

By WILL GRAVES - AP Sports Writer
    2012-12-10 04:26

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Steelers have gotten pretty good at beating the NFL's best.

They've nearly perfected losing to the worst.

And while San Diego is more underachieving than utterly horrific, the Chargers' 34-24 win over the Steelers on Sunday continued a perplexing trend for a team that considers itself among the elite.

Pittsburgh (7-6) has won on the road at Baltimore and the New York Giants this season. It has also fallen to lesser-lights Oakland, Tennessee, Cleveland and now the Chargers (5-8). It makes for one of the weirder resumes of any playoff contender.

``There's nothing we can really say,'' Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey said. ``We know we went out and messed up a lot of games. We know we're going to pay for it here.''

The Steelers certainly paid for it on Sunday.

Pittsburgh hoped the return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger from a three-week layoff due to a sprained right shoulder would provide the final piece to a puzzle that's only come together in fits and spurts this fall.

While Roethlisberger's arm looked fine while throwing for 285 yards and three touchdowns, he got little help from his teammates and was hardly perfect himself, throwing for an interception and having a botched screen pass turn into an easy San Diego score that put the Chargers up 24 midway through the third quarter.

``We felt like we missed a lot of plays out there,'' Roethlisberger said. ``I missed a lot of throws. I threw it to them once. We all have to play better.''

Amazingly, the Steelers are still in prime position to secure one of the AFC's six postseason spots after Cincinnati lost to Dallas. If Pittsburgh can win its final three games - starting with a road game against the Cowboys next Sunday - it's in no matter what happens elsewhere.

``I feel great about this team,'' nose tackle Casey Hampton said. ``We didn't play our best today and they got us but going forward I feel like we're going to win every game. That's what we've got to do to get in the playoffs.''

There are no such visions in San Diego, which came in having lost seven of its last eight. Yet the Chargers were able to make history by winning in Pittsburgh in the regular season for the first time, snapping a 14-game losing streak.

They did it by playing with the fearlessness and tenacity of a team with postseason dreams. Those are long gone, and head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith may soon be on their way out, too.

Not that it mattered on a day the Chargers looked like the team playing with something on the line.

Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes, two to Danario Alexander, and San Diego cruised.

``This isn't necessarily the team we thought we'd have on the field in December, but this is the type of performance we thought we'd put together,'' said Rivers, who completed 21 of 41 passes for 200 yards.

The injury-ravaged offensive line kept Rivers out of harm's way. The Steelers only sacked Rivers once, and all that extra time in the pocket helped him convert 12 of 22 third downs, allowing San Diego to chew up the clock and keep Roethlisberger from getting going while the game was still competitive.

``We all know that this team has played this way through large parts of many games,'' Turner said. ``We did not make the big mistake in the football game.''

Instead, it was the Steelers who couldn't seem to get out of their own way.

The Steelers didn't even cross midfield until a last-gasp drive to end the half ended with Shaun Suisham's 49-yard field goal that pulled them to 13-3.

Any boost the kick provided disappeared during the first 10 minutes of the third quarter.

San Diego converted five straight third downs during a clock-chewing drive, including a 17-yard burst up the middle by Ronnie Brown on third-and-13 from the Pittsburgh 29.

The play wasn't designed to get a first down, but a pair of missed tackles helped the Chargers extend the drive. Three plays later Rivers found Michael Floyd for a 3-yard touchdown to make it 20-3.

The 17-play march ate up nearly 10 minutes. The Chargers then needed barely 10 seconds to put the game away.

Backed up yet again after Floyd's score, Roethlisberger tried to hit Brown on a screen pass. The ball smacked into tight end David Paulson's rear and rolled into the end zone, where Quentin Jammer fell on it.

The play appeared to be overturned on review. Pittsburgh's offense ran back onto the field when referee Scott Green popped out from under the hood.

Instead, Green pulled a switcheroo, confirming the score to give the Chargers a 27-3 lead and a brief moment of joy in a year full of chaos.

``Yeah we've been struggling the last five weeks,'' tight end Antonio Gates said. ``But at the end of the day it only came down to one or two plays in those games we lost. Today, we just were playing the way we were capable of playing, the way we know how to play.''

NOTES: Steelers LG Willie Colon left the game with a left knee injury. Pouncey moved from center to guard, with Doug Legursky replacing Pouncey at center. ... Roethlisberger became the 25th quarterback in NFL history to surpass 29,000 passing yards and 1,000 career rushing yards. ... San Diego WR Michael Spurlock had seven receptions for 64 yards, with five of the receptions turning third downs into first downs. ... Steelers WR Plaxico Burress had an 18-yard reception in the first half, his first reception since being re-signed by the Steelers two weeks ago. ... San Diego held the ball for 36:45, the most by a Pittsburgh opponent this season.

---

Follow Will Graves at www.twitter.com/WillGravesAP

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Reggie WayneSep 20 09:12p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck has targeted WR T.Y. Hilton 22 times and WR Reggie Wayne 20 times in two games this year, and RB Ahmad Bradshaw ranks third [ More ]

Mike PounceySep 20 07:32p

Miami Dolphins C Mike Pouncey (hip) is expected to increase his workload in practice next week and said he would be willing to move to guard if it would [ More ]

Melvin IngramSep 20 05:22p

San Diego Chargers LB Melvin Ingram (hip, hamstring) was placed on the Reserve/Injured Designated to Return list. Ingram underwent an MRI on his hip Thursday, Sept. 18, but it's [ More ]

Kevin OgletreeSep 20 04:42p

The Detroit Lions released WR Kevin Ogletree, according to a source.

Dee MillinerSep 20 04:32p

New York Jets LB Nick Bellore (hip), FS Josh Bush (quadriceps), OG Willie Colon (calf), LB Quinton Coples (elbow), C Nick Mangold (shoulder) and LB A.J. Edds (hamstring) practiced [ More ]

Deonte ThompsonSep 20 03:22p

The Baltimore Ravens cut WR Deonte Thompson and promoted RB Fitzgerald Toussaint to their active roster from the practice squad Saturday, Sept. 20.

Darrin ReavesSep 20 03:02p

Carolina Panthers RB Darrin Reaves was promoted to the active roster from the practice squad Saturday, Sept. 20, according to a source.

Chris JohnsonSep 20 02:52p

New York Jets RB Chris Johnson (ankle) participated fully in practice Saturday, Sept. 20.

Dee MillinerSep 20 02:52p

New York Jets CB Dee Milliner (ankle, quadriceps) did not practice Saturday, Sept. 20. LB Nick Bellore (hip), FS Josh Bush (quadriceps), OT Willie Colon (calf), LB Quinton Coples [ More ]

Roberto GarzaSep 20 02:42p

Chicago Bears C Roberto Garza (ankle), CB Sherrick McManis (quadriceps), DT Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion), DE Trevor Scott (foot) and OG Matt Slauson (ankle) did not practice Saturday, Sept. 20. [ More ]

Brandian RossSep 20 02:22p

The Miami Dolphins signed CB Brandian Ross to their practice squad and waived DT Bruce Gaston Saturday, Sept. 20.

Shea McClellinSep 20 02:02p

Chicago Bears LB Shea McClellin (hand) has been ruled out for Week 3.

Charles JohnsonSep 20 01:22p

The Minnesota Vikings signed WR Charles X. Johnson to their 53-man roster from the Cleveland Browns practice squad Saturday, Sept. 20.

Chad GreenwaySep 20 12:42p

Minnesota Vikings LB Chad Greenway (hand, rib) said he hopes to be able to play in Week 3 but will be a game-time decision. He is listed as questionable for the game.

Lavar EdwardsSep 20 12:32p

The Dallas Cowboys signed practice squad LB Keith Smith to their active roster Saturday, Sept. 20. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team also waived DE Lavar Edwards.

Josh McCownSep 20 12:12p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) is scheduled to meet with a specialist Monday, Sept. 22, to have his severely sprained thumb examined. He likely will not be [ More ]

Darren McFaddenSep 20 11:22a

Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden is expected to receive a heavy workload even if RB Maurice Jones-Drew (hand) is active for Week 3.

Kaluka MaiavaSep 20 11:12a

Oakland Raiders LB Kaluka Maiava could start at middle linebacker in Week 3 if LB Nick Roach (concussion) is not able to play. LB Miles Burris has been playing [ More ]

Vernon DavisSep 20 11:02a

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (ankle, knee) could be a game-time decision for Week 3. Davis said he was encouraged with how he felt after some light running [ More ]

Nick RoachSep 20 10:42a

Oakland Raiders LB Nick Roach (concussion) still has not been cleared to play because of his concussion. Roach is listed as questionable for Week 3 and could be a game-time decision.

Danny TrevathanSep 20 10:32a

Denver Broncos LB Danny Trevathan (knee) has a good chance to be ready to play after the team's Week 4 bye. Head coach John Fox said Trevathan made good progress during practice this week.

A.Q. ShipleySep 20 10:12a

Indianapolis Colts C A.Q. Shipley will start at center Week 3 even though C Khaled Holmes (ankle) is healthy enough to play, according to head coach Chuck Pagano. Pagano [ More ]

Barkevious MingoSep 20 09:32a

Cleveland Browns LB Barkevious Mingo (shoulder) could be a game-time decision for the team's Week 3 game. He was limited during practice the entire week and is listed as questionable.

Harry DouglasSep 20 04:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Harry Douglas (foot) had his MRI come back negative on the injured foot he suffered Thursday, Sept. 18. The team will not update his status until sometime next week.

Shelby HarrisSep 20 03:32a

Updating a previous item, the Oakland Raiders re-signed DE Shelby Harris to the practice squad on Friday, Sept. 19. He had cleared waivers that day.

Knile DavisSep 20 12:32a

Updating a previous report, Kansas City Chiefs RBs Jamaal Charles (ankle) and Knile Davis split first-team reps in practice Friday, Sept. 19. Davis was the running back for the [ More ]

Jerricho CotcherySep 20 12:32a

Carolina Panthers WR Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring) ran in the treadmill in the pool Friday, Sept. 19, and will be re-evaluated Saturday, Sept. 20, head coach Ron Rivera said. Cotchery [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsSep 20 12:32a

Updating a previous report, Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (hamstring) is expected to be ready to play in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. His injury had been called [ More ]

Stephen HillSep 20 12:32a

Carolina Panthers DE Greg Hardy is on the exempt list, but the team has yet to fill his spot on the 53-man roster. Head coach Ron Rivera said RB [ More ]

D.J. SmithSep 19 09:52p

The New England Patriots worked out free-agents WR Kevin Cone, DE Steven Means, RB Raijon Neal and LB D.J. Smith this week.

Josh GordonSep 19 09:42p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is eligible to return from his suspension to play in Week 12 against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Nov. 23.

Josh McCownSep 19 09:02p

Updating a previous report, Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) is undergoing a second test on the thumb injury he suffered in Week 3. He is expected to miss several weeks.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group