Steelers 28, Chargers 7
Rashard Mendenhall had 95 yards rushing and the first two touchdowns of his career and the Pittsburgh Steelers lead the San Diego Chargers 28-7 after three quarters Sunday night. Ben Roethlisberger was 15 for 19 for 204 yards with two touchdown passes for the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers. The Chargers had only 16 yards rushing and 11 first downs - many of which coming during a third-quarter drive in which they scored their only points. Philip Rivers, who was 14 for 27 for 159 yards, threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Gates with 1:33 to play in the quarter to make it 28-7. Pittsburgh, which had the ball for 29:26, entered the game having lost two in a row for the first time since 2007 but are trying to move back to within a game of the lead in the AFC North. Mendenhall, last season's first-round pick, did not have a carry last week after coaches were upset with his preparation and performance during practice. Starting because of a toe injury to Willie Parker, Mendenhall scored on a 1-yard run on the opening drive after the Steelers went 79 yards in six plays. He also scored on a 2-yard run with 1:28 to play in the first half to cap a 13-play, 79-yard drive and make it 21-0. Mendenhall entered the game with 103 career yards rushing on 26 carries in seven games. He also had a 20-yard reception. Mewelde Moore scored on a catch and run from the left flat on third-and-4 with 4:08 to play in the first quarter that was part of an 11-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in the Steelers' second touchdown. Roethlisberger threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller 7:04 into the third quarter - the end of another long Pittsburgh drive (eight plays, 81 yards). The Steelers are also without Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu. Polamalu has missed the past three games with a knee injury. Chargers running back LaDanian Tomlinson has been ineffective in his return after missing the previous two games with an ankle sprain. He has only 15 yards on seven carries. This is the Chargers' third appearance at Heinz Field in the past 11 months. San Diego lost 11-10 to Pittsburgh Nov. 16 and again 35-24 in an AFC divisional playoff game Jan. 11.