They were out played, out coached, and maybe out of the playoffs after a game that no one could possibly have expected to go this way.
The Steelers got Ben Roethlsiberger back, but instead of a homecoming that was welcomed, instead it was a nightmare as the Steelers were crushed by San Diego at Heinz Field 34-24.
The loss comes seven days after the emotional win over the Ravens, a game where the team showed heart and desire to make sure the postseason was still well within their reach.
A week later, they came out flat, let the Chargers defense and special teams set the tempo, and because of it instead of sitting now 8-5, the team is 7-6 and muddled with many others for a shot for the postseason.
Roethlisberger was clearly not himself, and many will question if he should have sat another week with a game in Dallas looming next Sunday.
Instead, he played, and was bad, going 22-for-42 for 285 yards with three touchdowns and a pick. He didn’t get much help, as his WR’s dropped two passes that easily could have changed the game around.
Two of the TD’s came as the Steelers were trying to rally down 34-10, and they were able to close it to 34-24 before they ran out of time.
The Chargers did just about everything right. QB Philip Rivers was solid, going 21-for-41 and taking what the defense gave him. He threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns.
The rough and tough Steelers D was no match for a Chargers team that will likely have a new coach and new GM next season.
Sunday though, they were the much more prepared and better team. They came out and got control of things early, and after Nick Novak nailed a 51-yard field goal to open the scoring, you should have known it would be downhill from there.
They outgained the Chargers on the day 320-294, but most of that 320 yards came in garbage time with the game well in hand for the Bolts.
On third downs the Chargers dominated, going 12-for-22, holding the Steelers to 5-for-13. It seemed the Steelers D would stop San Diego on first and second downs, but always gave up big plays on third down.
At one point San Diego even went for a fake punt, gaining the first down after they were able to hold on third down.
About the only good thing of the day – the Bengals and Ravens both lost as well.
Next Week the team travels to Dallas to play the Cowboys.