Chargers could use a closer

The Chargers have lost three games this year and have blown three fourth quarter leads along the way. The latest happened on Monday against the Steelers.

When Pittsburgh got the ball back with more than four minutes on the clock, down by one, an exasperated crowd was still moistening the lungs to give the last few cheers as they tried to pump up the defense.

Unfortunately, the Chargers had no answer for Jerome Bettis as he carved up the defense and took precious seconds off the clock. The Bus rolled through third-and-one opportunities, dropping the passengers he carried on his back off after the conversion.

Not a single run went outside the tackles and the 3-4 – in place to stop the run supposedly – was no match for the powerful downhill runner.

"When you have two backs that are so different it is tough to stop," linebacker Shawne Merriman offered.

The 4-3 would have seemed like a better option with Bettis running through the open lanes.

In the end, Jeff Reed got the call and won it with a few ticks on the clock.

"You have to find a way to hold the lead," head coach Marty Schottenheimer said.

And it started after the Chargers took the first lead of the game in the fourth quarter.

With the crowd alive and foaming at the mouth the Bolts were given the opportunity to hold that lead and build upon it.

Three plays later, Pittsburgh was celebrating a touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Heath Miller. It took 71 seconds to answer the bell.

"It was a classic football game," said head coach Bill Cowher. "Those are two good football teams that played out there tonight. We are fortunate we had the football last."

Word is Trevor Hoffman was at the game. The Chargers could have used his closing ability to shut the door.

Three games. Three fourth quarter leads by slim margins. Three losses.

"They made plays when they had to and we did not," said defensive end DeQuincy Scott.

Schottenheimer talked about continuing to coach and teach after the game. Perhaps Hoffman would make a great guest speaker at practice on Wednesday. Without a finisher, the losses will continue to pile up.


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