Pittsburgh — Coming off back-to-back losses, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin challenged his team this week and the Steelers offense answered the bell early and often.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns and the Steelers got a dominating performance from 2nd year running back Rashard Mendenhall.
Mendenhall making his first start of the season, rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns on the night. The Steelers controlled the clock with a strong running game and precise passes from Roethlisberger to take a commanding 28-7 lead in the 4th quarter.
But, for the defending Super Bowl Champs, no lead is safe. Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers roared back, scoring 21 (4th) quarter points to cut the Steelers lead to 35-28 with less than five minutes remaining in the game.
Following a Chris Chambers 13 yard touchdown reception with 4:31 left, the Steelers turned to Rashard Mendenhall to close out the game.
With a need to run down the clock, Mendenhall rushed for 65 yards on the Steelers final drive to set up a 46 yard field goal from Jeff Reed to put the game way.
The NFL is about getting an opportunity and Mendenhall took advantage of that opportunity tonight.
What Mendenhall showed his coaches and teammates tonight is that he’s a complete back. Mendenhall thrived in all situations from being a factor as a goal-line back, to breaking a big play, to getting 4-5 yards on first down and his run blocking ability can’t be overlooked. His vision and patience was impressive.
Tonight was a major step forward in Mendenhall’s development and also a major step forward for the Steelers running game.
The offensive line as a whole had their finest game of the season, especially left guard Chris Kemoeatu.
The concern for the Steelers tonight was clearly their inability to keep the Chargers off the scoreboard late in the game.
The Steelers defense gave up 14 points in the 4th quarter and again struggled to hold onto a lead.
In a game that the Steelers needed to win, they came out of the gates flying and in the end prevailed. The offense showed that killer instinct which has been lacking all season.
*The Pittsburgh Steelers threw three touchdown passes on the night but only two were from Ben Roethlisberger. Mewelde Moore threw a 6 yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller in the 4th quarter to put the Steelers up 35-14 in the 4th quarter.
*The Steelers inactives were Keenan Lewis, Willie Parker, Troy Polamalu, Kraig Urbik, Tony Hills, Limas Sweed and David Johnson.
*Safety Ryan Clark led the Steelers with 6 tackles. The Steelers had three sacks on the night. Two from James Harrison and one from Aaron Smith.
*QB Ben Roethlisberger – 26/33 – 333 yds – 2 TD
*RB Rashard Mendenhall – 29 CAR – 165 yds – 2 TD – 5.2avg
*WR Hines Ward – 8 REC – 113 yards
*TE Heath Miller – 8 REC – 70 yards – 2 TD
Pittsburgh 497 – San Diego 250