Just before halftime of the Chargers Sunday night roller coaster ride in Pittsburgh, NBC-TV analyst Chris Collingsworth put it bluntly: "The Pittsburgh Steelers are kicking their stinking butts."
And he was being nice.
The final score would seem to indicate a close, exciting game. And it was. But in the end, there will be no masking a dismal effort by the Chargers defense as the Bolts lost to the Steelers 38-28 before a sellout crowd at Heinz Field and national television audience.
After trailing 28-0, the Chargers offense staged a furious rally only to watch their defense fail to hold up their end of the bargain.
The Steelers, wearing old fashioned throwback uniforms, came out and absolutely shredded the Chargers defense. Quarterback Ben Rothlisberger, virtually under no pressure from the Chargers defense throughout the game, picked apart the Bolts secondary passing for 333-yards and two touchdowns.
The Steelers had a commanding 28-0 lead before the Chargers decided to make it interesing starting late in the third quarter. The Chargers first touchdown came on a Philip Rivers 3-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Gates.
They followed with a touchdown by their special teams. Jacob Hester stripped the ball from Pittsburgh's Stefan Logan and waltzed 41-yards into the endzone with 12:37 left to play.
Hester's touchdown seemed to energize the Chargers, but Pittsburgh did not let up, answering immediately with another touchdown on a halfback option pass from Mewelde Moore to Heath Miller making it 35-14.
The Chargers didn't give up on offense. They answered with another Rivers to Gates connection, this one a 31-yard touchdown pass to make it 35-21.
Then to make it even more interesting, the Chargers recovered the ensuing onside kick. That led to a Rivers to Chris Chambers touchdown strike to make it 35-28 with 4:31 to play.
But the Chargers defense simply could not come up with a big stop. The Steelers ended the scoring with a Jeff Reed 46-yard field goal with :43 seconds left in the game.
Rivers played another strong game in defeat finishing with 254-yards passing and 3-touchdowns. But it simply wasn't enough offense on a night in which the defense could not come up with a big play.
The Steelers started the game with a long opening drive. Rothlisberger connected on three straight completions. Rashard Mendenhall finished the drive with a one yard touchdown run making it 7-nothing Pittsburgh. The route was on.
The Steelers added two more touchdowns before halftime to lead 21-nothing. In the first half, the Chargers were outgained in total yards 151-18. The Chargers, even with Ladainian Tomlinson back in the lineup, only had 9-yards rushing.
In the second half, it was more of the same. The Steelers continued to take advantage of an anemic San Diego pass rush. Rothlisberger hit Miller giving the Steelers a 28-0 lead