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Chargers vs. Steelers: Instant Grades, Analysis for San Diego

Ryan HeidrichCorrespondent IIDecember 9, 2012

Chargers vs. Steelers: Instant Grades, Analysis for San Diego

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    Final Score: 34-24 San Diego 

     

    The 4-8 San Diego Chargers will travel east this Sunday for a matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Chargers have had a rough year, and news broke this week that head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith will be fired at season's end

    In what seems like a must-win for people within the Chargers' organization who want to keep their job, they could not have asked for a tougher matchup. The Chargers are 0-14 while playing in Pittsburgh.

    Philip Rivers and the disappointing offense will have to get on the board early to give the Chargers any chance at victory.

    Kickoff will be at 1 p.m. EST, so follow along as we hand out instant analysis and quarter-by-quarter grades.

Quarterback

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    Fourth Quarter Grade: A

    Philip Rivers saved his best game of the year for the Steelers. He made a beautiful throw to his new favorite target, Danario Alexander for a touchdown. While River's completion percentage will not blow you away the way he was able to move the ball under such pressure was extremely impressive. 

    Third Quarter Grade: A 

    Philip Rivers had a tremendous third quarter. He made accurate throws and made a nice throw on a Michael Floyd touchdown. Rivers has adapted to not having time to make throws and now looks comfortable being under pressure throughout the game. 

    Second Quarter Grade: B+ 

    Philip Rivers played much better in the second quarter. The main factor for this performance was his offensive line, which really stepped up their play in the second quarter. Rivers was able to get the ball downfield and it payed off on the Danario Alexander touchdown. 

    First Quarter Grade: C

    It is impossible to expect much out of Rivers with the amount of time that he is given. He is forced to scramble right after he receives the snap. He threw for just 17 yards in the first quarter and many of his drop backs resulted in throw aways. 

Offense

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    Fourth Quarter Grade: A 

    Woah! All aspects of the Chargers offense were working in the fourth quarter. They had a consistent running game and were able to move the ball down the field through the air. It was an impressive performance from the Chargers offense after such an awful year. 

    Third Quarter Grade: A

    The Chargers offense came alive in the third quarter after finally getting the running game going. With the running game working the passing game opened up and the Chargers look unstoppable on offense. 

    Second Quarter Grade: B 

    The Chargers offense finally scored! The Chargers had been shut out for the last seven quarters finally put the ball in the end zone. The Chargers offense line has played much better in the second quarter giving Philip Rivers time to get the ball downfield. 

    First Quarter Grade: B

    The Chargers offense actually looked decent against the No.1 defense is the league. With the offensive line in shambles the Chargers are not explosive on the offensive side of the ball but they were able to eat up clock and move the ball down the field against the Steelers. 

Defense

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    Fourth Quarter Grade: B+ 

    I would have liked to see the Chargers close out the game much stronger than they did but they were under pressure throughout the day to make stops. In a game with new players starting all over the place this defensive unit looked just as strong as they have all year. 

    Third Quarter Grade: A

    With the exception of the Mike Wallace deep touchdown pass the Chargers defense played incredible once again in the third quarter. They scored yet another touchdown, which helped build the lead for the Chargers. 

    Second Quarter Grade: A

    The defense continues to dominate this game. They have locked down on the speedy Steeler's receivers and have been able to get pressure on Big Ben consistently. With out this defense the score would be completely different since the defense is giving the offense a short field every time they touch the ball.

    First Quarter Grade: A

    The Chargers defense unit has been extremely impressive so far. They have locked down in coverage and shut the door on the Steelers running game. The defense will have to continue to play great if the Chargers want to win this game. 

Special Teams

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    Fourth Quarter Grade: A 

    The special teams unit continues to be strong. They do not allow big plays in either return game, which allows the Chargers to win the field position battle.  

    Third Quarter Grade: A 

    The Chargers ran a brilliant fake punt with Eric Weddle for a first down which helped the Chargers expand a drive and take more time off the clock. 

    Second Quarter Grade: B

    Another field goal for Novak, who has had a great season for the Chargers

    First Quarter Grade:

    The special teams unit has down a great job containing Chris Rainey and the explosive kick off team of the Steelers, which is a bright spot for the Chargers to this point in the game. Nick Novak continues to knock down kicks and has given the Bolts a lead after one quarter. 

Coaching

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    Fourth Quarter Grade: A 

    Typical Norv Turner. The Chargers save their best performance for when it doesn't matter. The Chargers dominated in every aspect of the game as they improve to 5-8. 

    Third Quarter Grade: A 

    What I don't understand is why don't the Chargers show this creativity earlier in the year? The Chargers need to be able to move the chains and the creativity that the Chargers are showing now could have helped them win more games earlier in the season. Goes back to Norv Turner not having the confidence to call these plays when he is coaching for his job. 

    Second Quarter Grade: B+

    Defensive Coordinator John Pagano has done a great job this game. He has his defense flying towards the ball and shutting down the Steelers' running game. Norv Turner has done a good job at calling plays but the big test will be holding onto a second half lead. Something that the Chargers have struggled to do. 

    First Quarter Grade: B

    Norv Turner is past coaching for his job. His fate is already sealed but he seems to have his team ready to play on the road. The Chargers offense is awful but with the way their defense is playing the Chargers might just be able to squeak out a victory.

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