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Archive for Monday, October 9, 2006

Martyball’ disappears as Chargers roll, 23-13

October 9, 2006

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— Philip Rivers performed a trick that might have amazed Houdini. He made "Martyball" disappear in a flurry of passes.

Rivers threw two touchdown passes, including a 22-yarder to All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates midway through the third quarter that lifted the San Diego Chargers to a 23-13 victory over the slumping Super Bowl champions.

Gates' catch capped a remarkable 91-yard drive during which Rivers, in his first year as a starter, threw eight passes in the span of 10 plays, completing five.

San Diego (3-1) took its coach, Marty Schottenheimer, off the hot seat. Schottenheimer, whose conservative approach has long been known as "Martyball," was heavily criticized after sitting on a 13-7 halftime lead a week earlier at Baltimore. The Ravens rallied to win, 16-13.

The Steelers (1-3) have lost three straight games for the first time since late last season. They recovered then to earn a wild-card playoff spot, then went on to win the Super Bowl. The Steelers were shut out in the second half and gained just 49 yards after intermission.

While Ben Roethlisberger looked sharp in directing three scoring drives in the first half, he also was pressured most of the night. He threw two more interceptions, giving him seven this season, and was sacked five times. He has yet to throw a touchdown pass this season and finished 20-of-31 for 220 and two interceptions.

San Diego's go-ahead drive was set up when Roethlisberger threw long to rookie receiver Santonio Holmes on a flea-flicker and was intercepted by Drayton Florence.

Florence returned it to the Pittsburgh 38, but Steelers coach Bill Cowher challenged, and, after a review, referee Bill Vinovich ruled the cornerback had been down by contact at the nine.

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