Chargers defense forces the issue

Five sacks. Pressure at nearly every turn. Two interceptions. It was a dominant performance by the San Diego Chargers defense.

After allowing 55 yards rushing and 169 yards through the air in the first half, the San Diego Chargers defense fed off the energy of the offense and pounded the Steelers into submission.

"We came in at halftime and made a few adjustments," defensive end Luis Castillo admitted. "We eliminated the big plays in that second half and keep giving the ball to that offense because they are powerful."

Pittsburgh would manage just 13 yards rushing and 51 yards through the air in the second half, intercepting a pass on two of three possessions before forcing the Steelers to surrender the ball on downs.

Shaun Phillips netted a sack in the first quarter one play after tackling Willie Parker behind the line of scrimmage. Phillips has 3.5 sacks on the season, the second-most on the team.

Phillips pressure on Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter caused a Marlon McCree interception, McCree's first as a San Diego Charger. It was the 13th career regular season interception for McCree.

"We want to harass quarterbacks all the time," said Phillips. "That is what we do best with the help of a good secondary playing together."

"Hats off to that front seven," McCree began. "They put so much pressure on that guy that I caught a pop fly. It was so easy."

Shawne Merriman and Derreck Robinson split a sack in the second quarter. Merriman leads the team with 4.5 sacks. He would add a tackle for a loss late in the game on Parker.

The Bolts corralled Roethlisberger on successive plays in the third quarter with Castillo and Igor Olshansky splitting the first sack and Jamal Williams following up with a pancake of his own.

Williams has two sacks this year and is half way to his career high of four, set in 2004. The big nose tackle did not have any sacks last year. He also set a season-high with six unassisted tackles.

Castillo would collect a sack of his own in the fourth quarter to give him 3.0 on the season. Castillo had 3.5 sacks as a rookie for the Bolts in 2005.

For Robinson and Olshansky, it was the first time they notched a takedown of the quarterback this year, getting on board with .5 apiece. Olshansky had three sacks last season while Robinson did not have a sack in his rookie season.

"It is not a fun feeling," Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "I got hit a lot tonight. I am sure I am going to feel that. Give their defense a lot of credit."

"Our defense did a great job creating pressure," tight end Antonio Gates said.

The Steelers tried to pull off a flea flicker in the third quarter but the Chargers secondary was in position to make a play. With Both Terrence Kiel and Drayton Florence in the area it was Florence that came away with his first interception of the year. It is the sixth interception of Florence's career and first this year. The cornerback had one pick last year after netting four in 2004.


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