Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Lifeless Steelers offense bogging down weakening defense, Chargers take 13-3 lead into the locker room.
San Diego's defense has harassed Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on nearly all of his 19 throws in the first half, and have held Pittsburgh to its poorest offensive half of the season.
Defensively, the Steelers have held strong, but the absence of cornerback Ike Taylor has been noticeable.
Nickel corner Curtis Brown, filling in at that spot as Cortez Allen moved to the starting cornerback position vacated by Taylor, has been victimized on three third down completions by Rivers, including biting terribly on a double move by Danario Alexander for a 39-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Conversely, the Steelers have been nearly shut out on third downs, going 1-for-8 in the first half, including a poor run by Jonathan Dwyer on 3rd-and-2 that led to a Steelers fourth down play that was run out of a spirit of begging and pleading for the offense to produce something - anything.
Isaac Redman was stopped on 4th and short, a fitting testament to a horrendous half of offensive of football. Almost as telling are two big drops, one by Mike Wallace and one by Antonio Brown - the pass to Wallace went through his hands, and the one to Brown bounced off his chest. Both would have given the Steelers significant yardage.
The Chargers, meanwhile, moved into field goal range, and Nick Novak hit his second of the half - the first from 51, the second from 39.
Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown on a nice throw and catch with under a minute to play in the first half. Then hit Emmanuel Sanders on a 31-yard gain to give the Steelers their first snap on the Chargers side of the field. After another completion to Wallace, kicker Shaun Suisham drilled a 49-yard field goal at the end of the half.
Left guard Willie Colon left the game in the second quarter due to the knee injury that's held him out of action the last two weeks. He made the start, but it didn't last. Maurkice Pouncey moved to left guard and Doug Legursky took over at center.
Hope is bleak, to put it mildly. San Diego has never won a regular season game in Pittsburgh, but if they've ever been in a strong position to win there, it's today.