The Steelers blow a huge opportunity in the AFC North in a crippling 34-24 loss at home to San Diego.
In one sense, the Steelers (7-6) caught a break as Dallas defeated Cincinnati 20-19 in dramatic fashion in Week 14, and Baltimore lost in overtime to Washington. With three games remaining, including one against the Bengals, the Steelers maintain positioning for the sixth seed in the AFC playoffs due to their victory over the Bengals in Week 7.
The real loss here is the fact the Steelers had a chance to pull within one game of the slumping Ravens in the AFC North race. Instead, at 7-6, they'll have to capitalize on any future opportunity to make up ground in the dwindling hope of hosting a playoff game.
The Bengals stay within two games of the Ravens as well, with those two teams play each other in Week 17.
San Diego's 34 points were the most scored against the Steelers in Pittsburgh since the Patriots won 39-20 in Week 10 of the 2010 season, and the 17-point losing deficit was the second largest at Heinz Field in the Mike Tomlin era (2007 to present).
The return of Ben Roethlisberger did nothing for the regressing Steelers offense, as a disastrous first half led to just three points after taking loads of pressure from an aggressive Chargers game plan.
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