TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 14: San Diego Chargers At Pittsburgh Steelers

Chargers
Steelers
San Diego Chargers v Arizona Cardinals
Pittsburgh Steelers v San Francisco 49ers
Quarterback
Winner Philip Rivers is a talented quarterback but an erratic leader. The Chargers are almost certainly going to clean house in the offseason and they may be tempted to move Rivers because he seems frustrated in his position. Rivers can make all the throws, but he is an angry leader and his team has lost seven of eight games.
Winner The Steelers are hoping Ben Roethlisberger can return from his rib injury for this game. However, they are coming off their most inspired effort of the season in beating the Ravens 23-20 with Charlie Batch at quarterback. While Batch was awful in the Week 12 loss at Cleveland, he bounced back by completing 25-of-36 for 276 yards in Week 13.
Offense
The running game was productive early in the year, but the Chargers are not getting much from Ryan Matthews at this point in the season. That puts even more pressure on Rivers and his receivers. Danario Alexander can go downfield and make plays and he is coming off a 102-yard receiving game against the Bengals in Week 13. Malcolm Floyd is also dependable, but Rivers does not always get the ball to him.
Winner The Steelers can move the ball on the ground, but they can also leave it on the ground as well. That’s what happened in the Week 12 loss to the Browns, but they rebounded by holding on to it against the hard-hitting Ravens. Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman are hard-nosed backs who will initiate contact. Mike Wallace can be gamebreaking receiver while tight end Heath Miller will catch everything he can reach.
Defense
The Chargers often play well defensively for long spurts, but fall apart when the game is on the line. That was the case once again in Week 13 when they held Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to 211 passing yards. However, they gave up 10 points in the final five minutes and the Chargers lost again. Defensive back Corey Lynch had 10 tackles and an interception against the Bengals.
Winner As good as the Steeler defense has been, it can’t do the job without a complementary offense. The Steelers got a lift in their Week 13 upset at Baltimore with the return of Troy Polamalu. The All-Pro defensive back had missed the previous seven games with a calf injury. He should be much stronger against the Chargers. The Steelers have the top-ranked defense in the league.
Special Teams
Winner Nick Novak has been solid for the Chargers since replacing the departed Nate Kaeding. Novak has made 13-of-15 FG attempts this season. Punter Mike Scifres has above average leg strength and averaged 46.0 yards on five punts against the Bengals.
The Steelers have gotten a solid performance from placekicker Shaun Suisham this year and he was at his best in the Week 13 win over the Ravens. He was 3-of-3 on his FG attempts – all over 40 yards – including the game-winning 42-yarder with no time left on the clock. Punter Drew Butler averaged 38.5 yards on four punts against the Ravens.

The Winner Is

Pittsburgh Steelers v San Francisco 49ers
Winner Steelers
3 out of 4

The Steelers are simply a much tougher team than the Chargers. San Diego can’t handle the lead late in the game and they regularly make key errors in the second half of most games. The Steelers are battling hard to overcome previous injuries and they will likely punish the Chargers whether Roethlisberger is at full strength or they have to go with Batch once again.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 4: Tight end Dennis Pitta #88 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with teammate quarterback Joe Flacco #5 after scoring a second quarter touchdown against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 04:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to throw a pass during the second half against the Los Angeles Rams at Gillette Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
    Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

    The Ravens and Patriots meet again in Gillette in what should be another great game.

  2. MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 1:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys hands the ball off to Ezekiel Elliott #21in the first half of the game agains the Minnesota Vikings on December 1, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 04:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants drops back to pass in the first quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 4, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
    Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

    The NFC East rivals meet again in the Meadowlands as the Cowboys look to avenge their only loss of the year.

  3. SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 04: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes during warmups before a game against the Carolina Panthers at CenturyLink Field on December 4, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 04:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers is pressured by Christian Covington #95 of the Houston Texans during the first half of a game at Lambeau Field on December 4, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
    Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers

    The Seahawks travel to Lambeau for a match-up with the resurgent Pack.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Philly

2016 Guide To Holiday Mall Hours
What's New On The Nearby Slopes
Sign Up Now!

Listen Live