Antonio Gates - 9 catches (11 targets), 92 rec yds, 2 rec TDs
When Garrett Sisti said last week that he expected to see Antonio Gates look "the best he's looked in 4 or 5 years" for this game, I nodded my head in agreement. That being said, I still didn't expect this.
This was not "old reliable Gates" that helps you on third down. This was the Antonio Gates that could get separation and make big plays downfield. Throwing to one receiver 11 times is a lot, and the San Diego Chargers should've thrown to Gates twice as much as they did. He was uncoverable and looked like the best TE in football. He looked like Gronk.
Jerry Attaochu - 9 tackles (7 solo, 2 tackles for loss)
It wasn't that long ago that I was pushing for Kyle Emanuel to take the starting OLB spot opposite Melvin Ingram and saying that he was the more complete player. I assumed that Attaochu was the same guy we saw last year, who could pass-rush and nothing else.
Boy, was I wrong. Attaochu is a freaking stud.....kind of. Last night, he led the team in tackles, tackles for loss, and QB hits. However, he also got run over a few times by blockers clearing out space for Le'Veon Bell. Then again, which Chargers defender didn't?
Corey Liuget / Ricardo Mathews - 4 tackles, 2 sacks
That was more push from the defensive line than we've seen all season, and it paid off with the first two sacks for the d-line so far this season.
Jimmy Wilson - 4 tackles (3 solo), 2 passed defended, 1 interception
Say what you want about his dropped interception, Wilson made plays when he was on the field and impacted the game in a positive way, which is more than what I can say for Jahleel Addae.
Manti Te'o - 8 tackles (5 solo)
Since Bolts are for guys that perform above expectations, consider me impressed that Manti Te'o taught himself how to tackle with a week's worth of post-practice dummy hitting.
Josh Lambo - 2/3 FGs, 2/2 XPs
This is what the team hoped for when they kept Lambo over Nick Novak.
Sure, he missed a 60 yard FG attempt at the end of the half, but that's a kick that the team doesn't even attempt with Novak on the roster.
Besides that, Lambo hit FGs from 40 yds and 54 yds out, and got a touchback on 3 out of his 5 kickoffs.
I'm going to say this once: This Chargers team stinks.
I know they're not healthy and I know they have a hard time fielding an offensive line, but to me that seems like more of a reason to run the ball (with a lead). Protect Philip Rivers!
The Chargers threw the ball 48 times yesterday and ran it 19 times. That is significantly more than double the amount of passes than runs. The Chargers trailed the Steelers for about the last three minutes of the third quarter and for, I suppose, the final millisecond of the game. That's it.
This team is built wrong and coached wrong. The idea that, with a lead and a makeshift offensive line, they would have the face of their franchise throw the ball 48 times, tells you everything you need to know about the Chargers' chances of turning this season around or their chances to beat any playoff contender. The coaches literally don't know how to come up with a gameplan that's more in-depth than "Let's Rivers do whatever he wants."
For comparison's sake, the Steelers ran it 27 times and threw it 26 times, despite trailing for most of the game. When they had one play left in the game, they knew they were going to be able to run it into the end zone.
The idea that San Diego can grind down opposing teams with long drawn-out drives, as they did when they beat the Seahawks last year and when they got most of their wins in 2013, is now gone. It's not going to happen. Even when they're trying (too hard) to work in their rookie RB into the offense, they throw to him (9 times) nearly as much as he carries the ball (15 times). This is now a finesse offense. Marty Schottenheimer would be sick if he watched it.
Even the balance between the RBs is all out of whack. The Chargers have, arguably, three RBs that are starting-caliber playmakers. Yesterday, their touches got split into 22 (Melvin Gordon), 9 (Danny Woodhead), and 0 (Branden Oliver). It got to the point where the team was running plays meant for Woodhead, to the wrong side of the field, with Gordon playing Woodhead's role.
This coaching, specifically on the offensive side of the ball, is atrocious. Those guys are lost.
Unfortunately, the website where I used to get stats-per-Cornerback no longer does that, so this one is going based off my own eyeballs. Brandon Flowers always had some issues with downfield coverage, because he doesn't have much speed, but now it's a major weakness.
Look at this:
Ben Roethlisberger's magic drawn-up play was, essentially, "play action to get Weddle to jump and then throw deep at Flowers." Not only did it work for a 72-yard touchdown to tie the game up, a similar play-call opened up a big running lane for Michael Vick on 3rd & 6 because Eric Weddle was forced to abandon his center-field spot and take Flowers' man downfield.
I'm not saying Flowers can't turn it around, but it doesn't look good lately.
Keenan Allen - 6 catches (10 targets), 57 rec yds
Keenan Allen is not a #1 WR. He may not even be a #2 WR.
He can't win jump balls, isn't winning any foot races, and essentially has one route he runs (shallow cross). Slow-of-foot slot receivers can be valuable, but the Chargers already have two of them in Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green.
I appreciate when Allen can do after the catch, but it may be time to start talking about his 3rd round draft slot being right where it should've been.
Eric Weddle - 2 tackles (1 solo)
I don't know what game Eric Weddle is playing out there, but it's not team football. He continues to be an embarrassment every single week, but I bet it won't hurt his value in free agency.