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Steelers Slammed by San Diego 34-24 to Fall to 7-6

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.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. DS

    December 9, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Absolute debacle today folks. Once again, Mike “Politically Correct” Tomlin didn’t set the tone or have the team mentally prepared to take on and defeat an opponent that by all rights should have been handed an absolute beating.

    Not sure if Big Ben should have played today but I will give him an “A” for effort as he appears to be one of the very few Steelers with a determination to win. Clearly the majority of the team appear to have checked out to include the coaching staff. When we continue game after to game to not perform the basics there is a real reason for concern here and I put that all on Tomlin.

    Hopefully, one day soon the Rooney’s will wake up and realize that their Tomlin “experiment” has run its course and that a big time staff and player shake up is necessary in order to get this proud franchise back on the path to success. With that all said, pardon me as I return to commode to vomit yet again.

  2. Dave B.

    December 9, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    The 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers are an undisiplined , unmotivated football team . With that being said , theyre are quite a few players on this team that talk an excellent game when you get them in front of a camera but when the ball gets kicked off on Sunday afternoon , they reveal theyre true side . They are there for a paycheck , period ! After the debacle against the Chargers every position on this team needs to be looked at and looked at hard . After the teams recent track record , of playing down to much lesser opponents , the coaching staff needed to make certain that history didnt repeat itself against the Chargers . They obviously did not . Bottom line , Mike Tomlin needs to take a hard look in the mirror because his team was in no way ready to play this game . That is his responsibility and he failed miserably . For this team to come out in front of its home fans with a playoff position hanging in the balance , and play the way they did is inexcusable .

  3. not broke don't fix

    December 9, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I am sick and tired of this anemic offense. I will not hang this loss on our defense, they have kept us in game all year long. I’m getting real tired of wasting my time watching a boring no scoring offense,and having the most undisiplined players. How many holding calls do we get on offense or special teams. This game was a total embarrassment and I’m ashamed to call myself a fan

  4. Pingback: San Diego Stuns the Steelers in Pittsburgh 34-24 - Unofficial Network

  5. American Veteran

    December 10, 2012 at 2:05 am

    As ive been saying for the past few years, Tomlin is no coach, he stands on the sideline, with the look of a deer in the headlights, unmotivated, undisciplined, the man has no control over this team, do the Rooneys see this, the man inherited a superbowl caliber team, and now that its falling apart he doesnt know how to fix it, Lebeau needs to go as well same defense, never changes, i do tip my hat to the defense, they are awesome, as for ben and the young money boys, shame shame shame on you, pathetic, disguisting, they are an embarassment, and thats putting it midly, dropped passes, sloppy routes, pathetic, If the Rooneys were smart they would dump this silver tongued coach, hes that and nothing more, and the outdated lebeau as well, the offensive line coach, the special teams coach and dump any player who doesnt give 100%.

    • david greer

      December 10, 2012 at 2:47 am

      Amen To that brother yo uhit it right on the head Tomlin doesnt own a pair of Big Boy pants YHis year sucks make me sick to see the fans have to go through it in excusable

  6. DrGeorge

    December 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    This is a long footnote to all the lamentation over Sunday’s loss. The lamentation and disgust are justified, but we need to keep the real cause clearly in mind.

    In his article, Bob Labriola of Steelers Digest (republished at gives as good a synopsis of the game as anyone. He is not usually critical of the coaching staff, as you would expect on the Steelers official site, but he writes, “…the Steelers didn’t look like they were ready to play… .” Brett Keisel, who is usually brief and accurate in his post-game remarks, said essentially the same thing. The fans on this web site and elsewhere are writing the same thing. We all agree. After a very emotional win against the Ravens, the team came out flat on Sunday and lost to the Chargers, a team that needs a road map to find the endzone, that knows its coaching staff will be gone at seasons end, and that has an offensive line more makeshift than the Steelers. No elaborate analysis is necessary. The Steelers weren’t ready to play. Just as they weren’t ready for Oakland or Cleveland earlier this year and almost lost to KC. This has become a trend. The question is, why?

    Usually when teams are so inconsistent (not ready to play), the coach bears the brunt of the criticism. As the argument goes: “If you’re good enough to beat the Ravens with your 3rd string QB, why can’t you beat the lowly Chargers? It must be Tomlin’s fault.” And in part, that is valid. It is less valid with regard to game preparation than it is with regard to Tomlin’s holding on to veterans long past their prime, a fact made worse by a plethora of injuries. Old and injured players do not play consistently or recover well from game to game.

    I’ve beat this point to death in prior posts, but it is worth remembering now: We have a lot of great and willing veteran players who are injured and\or who are playing well below their prior level of excellence: Polamolu, Starks, Hampton, Colon, Taylor, Woodley, Harrison, Leftwich, Mendenhall, and Rothlisberger to name a few. We also have key young guys who are out with injuries or nursing injuries that limit their effectiveness: Dwyer, Redman, A. Brown, DeCastro, M. Adams, M. Gilbert. We have two more players that have failed to meet expectations in C. Brown and A. Ta’amu. In other words, we are not playing with a complete roster anymore.

    Consequently, Tomlin does not have a whole lot of depth for substitution when players are flat or performing badly. For example, on Sunday, he replaced the struggling C. Brown with Josh Victorian, and Victorian promptly got burned for a TD. Mike Wallace, who is disgruntled with his multi-million dollar contract, plays like a zombie, but there is no one better to take his place. When Ben went down, Tomlin had to play C. Batch and recruit Hoyer for a backup. It is a miracle that the team is playing as well as it is.

    Tomlin has his faults, like the rest of us, but if he deserves blame for anything, it is less for his pre-game prep than for his failure to rebuild fast enough after the Super Bowl loss to Green Bay (Dec. 20, 2009). Since then, it’s been all downhill in terms of talent. In reality, the team is actually playing up to its abilities this season. Given the aging stars and key injuries, the talent level simply isn’t what it was. The bone head penalities, dropped balls, and poor execution are all symptoms of that more fundamental reality. Old and injured players can suck it up for one game or maybe two, but they can’t do it consistently. And they rarely win Super Bowls.

    The good news is that the Ravens and Bengals weren’t ready to play on Sunday, either. Both lost games they should have won. Merry Christmas, Steeler fans! Our rivals handed us another gift. And the Steelers still control their own destiny; they will finish the season by playing Dallas, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, the last two at home – three teams they can and should beat. If the team can win just the last two games, they’ll get a wild card slot for the playoffs, according to the statisticians. But as Tomlin so aptly put it during his press conference, “If we play the way we played today [against the Chargers], it won’t matter.” Tomlin and the coaching staff know what needs to be done – the question is whether the team has enough talent left to get it done.

  7. Terry S.

    December 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    This team has more than enough talent to compete in this division but this coaching staff does not appear to have what it takes to get this team prepared. The losses this season should have been laid on the shoulders of the coaching staff, starting with the head coach. Tomlin has repeatedly failed to get this team prepared to play football. I am tired of his lackadaisical attitude. This is the Pittsburgh Steelers not the Camden Cream-puffs. We need Coach Cower back. He knew how to get a team ready to play football. Tomlin is clueless and he is bringing the rest of the coaching staff down with him. And to think that Haley was brought in here to improve the offense. He could not handle the job in Kansas City, what made anyone think that he could help. I cannot blame the defense for these loses. They cannot play that many minutes with the caliber of players hurt that we have right now. The offense needs to step up and take over these games. I hope that the Rooney’s clean house and start putting a winning team on the field. I am a life long fan but I am getting tired of the effort that the coaching staff is putting into preparing this team to play. The head coach is responsible for setting the tone for the team and he has failed miserably.

    • Mike

      December 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      For those who are calling for the heads of the coaching staff, I share in your frustration. My confidence in their work is fading. Although it is noble of Tomlin to accept the responsibility of the teams failures, it is also getting very old. Tomlin taking ownership of these losses makes for a good sound bite, but it does not alleviate the level of angst felt by Steeler Nation. However, I cannot agree with the level of talent that some fans say we have. As Dr. George stated earlier, the core players are either injured or older or both and our young players are either not performing to their abilities or just not ready to assume a bigger role on the team. The depth is not there. The lack of depth is no more evident than this year. Furthermore, as unsure as I am about the future of this coaching staff, I cannot in good faith lay all of the blame on them. Hadn’t we traveled this same road last year with Bruce Arians? Isn’t the Colts on the verge of locking up one of the wildcard spots and their Rookie of the Year QB playing like a seasoned veteran ? Their offense is playing better than ours.(Not that I yearn for Arians running our offense again). My point is that eventually the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the players as well. I unfortunately think we are moving to an era of reexamination of talent and direction. Tough decisions will need to be made on personnel young and old. It is hard for any team whose future core players like Wallace and Mendenhall fail to meet their expectations. We appear to be on a downward trend. That is never a good thing. But, don’t expect any changes in the head coaching department anytime soon. If the season ended today, guess what: The Steelers make the playoffs. Right or wrong. Good, bad or indifferent. This will secure Tomlin’s position.

      • George H

        December 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm

        Mike I’ve been busy with finals so I havent been able to post this week, but you literally took the words right out of my mouth. Very well said. The fact is, this Steelers team needs to execute better and stop giving such short fields to the opposing offenses. There are a lot of holes that need to be addressed, but this team still has enough talent to play with the big boys. Although some of these negative trends need to stop now or the season will be lost.

  8. Black&gold4life

    December 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Hate to admit it..but that loss to the Browns and this one to the Chargers maybe too much to overcome.. a Dallas loss would be catastrophic and probably mean the end of the season

  9. Pingback: Flashback: Steelers Beat Up By Chargers 34-24 in Key 2012 Late Battle - Steelers Gab

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