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Steelers-Chargers highlights and lowlights

December 10, 2012
By Buck Frank - , The Altoona Mirror

PITTSBURGH - The following are the highlights and lowlights from the Steelers' 34-24 loss to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday at Heinz Field:

Play of the game: With San Diego leading, 20-3, in the third quarter, Pittsburgh tried to run a bubble screen to Antonio Brown from its own 8-yard line. Ben Roethlisberger's backward throw hit tight end David Paulson and bounced into the end zone. The Chargers' Quentin Jammer recovered the ball for a touchdown.

Offensive player of the game: San Diego receiver Danario Alexander caught seven passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensive player of the game: Chargers safety Eric Weddle recorded five tackles and two passes defensed.

Most telling statistic: The Chargers held the ball for 36 minutes, 45 seconds to Pittsburgh's 23:14.

Hidden statistic: Nine of the Steelers' 14 drives lasted for four plays or less.

Best pass: Roethlisberger found Mike Wallace, who had a step on Jammer, on a 40-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter for one of the Steelers' few highlights.

Worst pass: Roethlisberger threw one directly to Chargers linebacker Bront Bird while forcing a throw over the middle to Emmanuel Sanders in the fourth quarter.

Best run: The Chargers' Ronnie Brown blasted up through the middle for a 17-yard run to the Steelers' 12-yard line on a third-and-13 play in the third quarter.

Best catch(es): Chargers tight end Antonio Gates made a one-handed stab of a Philip Rivers pass in the fourth quarter. Alexander went high over Steelers cornerback Josh Victorian for a 15-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Dropped pass: Wallace missed a deep throw from Roethlisberger in the second quarter.

Best block: San Diego left tackle Kevin Haslam went downfield to take out Ryan Clark and Larry Foote on a 13-yard reception by Micheal Spurlock in the fourth quarter.

Missed block: Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey allowed San Diego linebacker Demorrio Williams to deliver a big hit on Roethlisberger in the first quarter.

Best tackle: Weddle, with the help of linebacker Shaun Phillips, stopped Wallace for no gain on an end-around in the first quarter.

Best hit: Pittsburgh's Brett Keisel and Clark sandwiched San Diego running back Ryan Mathews after a 7-yard run in the third quarter.

Missed tackle: Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons was no help on Ronnie Brown's 17-yard run in the third quarter.

Best coverage: Chargers cornerback Antoine Cason knocked away a second-quarter throw near the sideline to Wallace.

Worst coverage: Pittsburgh cornerback Curtis Brown was called for illegal contact and allowed a 39-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to Alexander on the same play in the second quarter.

Best kick: Kicker Nick Novak got the Chargers off on the right foot by drilling a 51-yard field goal in the first quarter.

Worst kick: Steelers punter Drew Butler shanked a 32-yarder in the second quarter that traveled from the Steelers' 14-yard line to the 46.

Best return: Spurlock took back a punt 21 yards, from the San Diego 43 to the Pittsburgh 36, in the second quarter.

Costliest penalty(ies): Back-to-back offside calls on Troy Polamalu and James Harrison in the first quarter gave the Chargers a first down and put them in position for Novak's first field goal.

Best decision: San Diego, with nothing to lose at 4-8, ran a fake punt on fourth-and-2 at its own 28-yard line at the end of the third quarter, and Weddle took a direct snap and gained 4 yards.

Worst decision: The Steelers ran Isaac Redman up the middle on fourth-and-1 at their own 47 with two minutes left in the second quarter. The Chargers stopped him for no gain and kicked a field goal a few plays later.

Best effort: Rivers wasn't spectacular, but he didn't make any mistakes and threw three touchdown passes.

Worst effort: Antonio Brown should have fallen on the ball or kicked it out of the end zone on the botched bubble screen in the third quarter.

Unsung hero: San Diego punter Mike Scifres pinned the Steelers inside their own 20-yard line on five of his seven punts.

Challenges: San Diego coach Norv Turner successfully challenged a reception by Pittsburgh's Jerricho Cotchery in the fourth quarter. On review, Cotchery didn't maintain possession of the catch.

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