Maybe, but for an afternoon, anyway, the Chargers played with a fearlessness they’ve lacked during their swoon.
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.
Mike Wallace caught two second-half touchdowns but also dropped a 50-yard rocket from Roethlisberger in the first half that would have gotten Pittsburgh out of an early hole. Antonio Brown also scored in the final seconds but saw a 40-yard pass clang off his chest in the second quarter that could have made a difference.
The running game the Steelers hoped would take pressure off Roethlisberger’s right arm never materialized. Jonathan Dwyer led the Steelers with 32 yards, or one more than Roethlisberger had during five hold-your-breath scrambles.
San Diego controlled an ugly first half, taking a 13-3 lead at the break behind a 39-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to Alexander and a pair of Nick Novak field goals.
The Steelers didn’t even cross midfield until a last-gasp drive to end the half ended with a 49-yard Shaun Suisham field goal.
Any boost the kick provided Pittsburgh 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.