The Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the San Diego Chargers 34-24 Sunday at Heinz Field to drop their record to 7-6 on the season. Below are the players, or group of players, that I thought had winning and losing performances in the game and it sure was tough to come up with any winners this week.
Lawrence Timmons – Timmons led the defense with 11 tackles, 6 of which were for gains of 2 yards or less. Although he did not have a sack in the game, he did have a pressure or two and was one of the few bright spots on defense.
Ziggy Hood – Hood got off to a rough start as he was driven back on the Chargers opening running play, but he calmed down after that on his way to recording 8 total tackles. Hood blew up a few screen plays and although it was a bit cheap, he did get credit for the lone sack of Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers when he pursued him out of bounds.
Ben Roethlisberger – I am hesitant to put Roethlisberger here, but his escapability and willingness to scramble for some needed yardage kept this game from being an even bigger blowout than it ended up being. He was rusty out of the chute with a few of his first throws, but calmed down quick enough to show that he still has the arm strength and accuracy that he had prior to being injured. Despite the game being out of hand late, he never quit and his first third down pass to Plaxico Burress and first touchdown pass to Mike Wallace are throws that only he can make.
Chris Rainey – Rainey only had one rush for 6 yards and saw very few snaps on offense, but he did unfortunately have 5 kickoff returns for 113 yards that resulted in a 22.6 yard average. We are reaching here, but his performance certainly stuck out as one of the few good ones in this game.
Mike Tomlin – Tomlin did not have this team ready to play Sunday and his decisions to not chase pints via two point conversions made you wonder why he would leave Roethlisberger in the game. Either you are trying to win the game or you are not. His excuse to not put those two point plays on tape was a bad one. You just can\’t lose to a 4-8 team at home.
Offensive Line – The Steelers offensive line was flagged twice for penalties and they allowed too many pressures of Roethlisberger to count. They never had an answer for the Chargers double A-gap pressure and the combined poor run blocking resulted in the Steelers running backs rushing for a measly 38 yards on 11 carries with 20 of those yards coming on 2 carries.
Cortez Allen & Curtis Brown – The Steelers two second-year cornerbacks didn\’t come close to filling the shoes of Ike Taylor on Sunday. Rivers took what these two gave him as they couldn\’t defend the sticks against simple out routes or underneath crossers. Brown looked very bad on the double move that resulted in a touchdown and Allen wasn\’t much better. Neither had a pass defensed in the game and both gave up big third downs.
Antonio Brown – His decision to not knock the ball out of the end zone, or at least fall on it, on the blown up lateral resulted in an easy touchdown for the Chargers defense. Throw in a drop of a ball that hit him right in the chest and it results in him being on the loser list despite his late garbage touchdown.