It was a horrific display of first half football. The Pittsburgh Steelers were trailing the San Diego Chargers by a score of 13-3. The score itself tells a completely different story of what was happening on the field.
It was a contest dominated by both teams defenses until the second half, and that's when San Diego took over. The Chargers scored 21 points in the second, 14 of them coming with in 12 seconds of each other, to win the game 34-24. Let's take a look at who deserves to be called the hero and zero of today's game.
Word leaked December 6th out of the San Diego Times Union that Head Coach, Norv Turner, would be fired at the end of the season. The Chargers had been underachieving once again this season posting a 4-8 record to this point.
Norv Turner is no stranger to the hot seat, and has had his job in question for the past three years now. The Chargers haven't been to the playoffs since 2009, and haven't won a playoff game since 2008. Injuries have plagued the already depleted Chargers team, mainly on the offensive line, causing quarterback Philip Rivers to decline this year. Posting just under 3,000 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions for a quarterback rating of only 85.1.
With all of these problems it would have been thought of as impossible for the Chargers to come in to Pittsburgh and leave with a win, let alone in the dominating fashion that they did. As we learn all throughout sports though, motivation is the key to winning, which is why the whole San Diego Chargers team is awarded as today's "Hero of the Game".
Philip Rivers had his way with the defense throwing for 200 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The offensive line played like a top unit allowing only one sack to defensive end Ziggy Hood. The Chargers time of possession was a dominating 36 minutes, and that can be credited to a fake punt that extended a three and out in to a six minute drive. The whole team rallied around coach Norv Turner and sent a message that was heard loud and clear.
As for the Pittsburgh Steelers, their message was clear as well, they were not prepared to play an electrified Chargers team. The bulk of the Steelers points came in garbage time after the score was already at a 17 point difference. They scored 7 points in the third quarter on a 40 yard pass from Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace who would have another score in the 4th quarter (11 yard pass), as well as a 1 yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown. The run game was not effective totaling just under 70 yards, 32 of those yards coming from starter Jonathan Dwyer.
The number 1 Steelers defense should have dominated this game. They were handed a shaky offensive line, topped with a interception throwing machine on a platter and managed to come out with nothing but a sack from defensive end Ziggy Hood. Pittsburgh's D could not stop the short passes, which in the past has been an exposed weakness of the team. The defensive performance today by this Steelers team has landed them with the title of "Zero of the Game".
As for playoff positions, the Steelers did not miss out on much as both the Cincinnati Bengals, and Baltimore Ravens lost today. Indianapolis won at home against the Tennessee Titans leaving the Wild Card positioning the same.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have to head back to the drawing board to prepare themselves for the Dallas Cowboys next week.