Quick Thoughts: Steelers 38 Chargers 28

I had this whole thing already typed up and done during the 4th quarter. But the Steelers near choke job (again) put a bad taste in my mouth and made me redo the entire thing.

But before we get into the bad finish by the Steelers, there was a lot of good.

The Steelers proved tonight why the best passing defense is a great running game and Rashard Mendenhall had some kind of coming out party.

I’ve questioned Mendenhall before and I’m certainly not the only one. Heck, even Mike Tomlin wasn’t impressed with him last weekend. But everybody is behind him now and when you rush for over 150 yards at Heinz Field, you become a fan favorite.

Mendy showed the mix of speed and power that everybody thought the Steelers were getting when the drafted him a couple years ago. I’ve been a Parker loyalist for a long time and think once he gets healthy him and Mendy will be able to do great things down the stretch, assuming the offensive line contuniues to gel.

And as much credit as the Mendenhall will get, this is easily the best game we’ve seen from the offensive line. Cars could drive through some of those holes and it was beautiful to see guys like Colon, Kemoeatu and Hartwig blowing people up off the snap.

Roethlisberger did his thing as usual and was extremely accurate with most of his throws. Big Ben will probably be the one constant fixture week-to-week in the offense and that’s an awesome thing.

Now, the defense…and the bad.

There was a real chance of the Steelers posting a shutout until the Chargers scored in the 3rd quarter. After that, I was figuring the Chargers would get 10, maybe 14 points by the end of the night.

But the defense was just utterly dreadful and managed to undo almost all of their good first half work and erase the points that the offense was putting up with ease. Rivers was rarely pressured and consistently found guys open underneath in the 4th quarter. This is the same problem the Steelers defense has had all season and I have no clue why the Chargers didn’t go out and try to employ a west-coast style from the start.

And these terrible lapses in defense has nothing to do with Troy Polamalu. One guy is not the difference between giving up 7 points and that turning to 28 points in a matter of difference. No single player is that good.

James Harrison has two sacks this season. LaMarr Woodley has none. If those guys don’t get to the QB, the entire defense suffers. The only times the Steelers get pressure is when they commit to sending several guys up the middle, which is a high-risk/high-reward play that Rivers torched them for a few times.

For the longest time, this looked like it would be a blowout and Heinz Field would turn into a giant party. But the defense and the horrendous special teams did their best to make it interesting and piss away a huge lead.

It is definitely a great thing to finally get a win and see the offensive line almost singlehandedly win the game, but that 4th quarter proved once again that there a lot of deep flaws in this team that need fixing. Fast.

But like they always say, it’s better to win ugly…