Steelers notebook: Booed early, Wallace rebounds with 2 TDs
Wide receiver Mike Wallace was booed after getting flagged for a holding penalty and dropping a perfectly thrown deep ball from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the Steelers' 34-24 loss to the San Diego Chargers.
“I've got to catch that,” Wallace said. “That's all there is to it. Ben gave me a shot, so I've to come up with it.”
Wallace rebounded from a slow start to finish with seven catches for 112 yards. It came after a four-game stretch in which he totaled only 93 yards on 13 catches. He was the lone bright spot on offense, catching touchdown passes of 40 and 11 yards.
Wallace was the only receiver to touch the ball before Plaxico Burress caught an 18-yard pass — his first catch with the Steelers since the 2004 AFC Championship Game — late in the first quarter.
• Cornerback Curtis Brown couldn't keep pace with the Chargers' receivers, mostly Michael Spurlock, in man coverage. He surrendered three catches on third-down passes and was beaten on a 39-yard touchdown catch by Danario Alexander even though he committed a defensive holding penalty. “(Spurlock) had a great matchup, and he's a good underneath route runner,” San Diego coach Norv Turner said. Cornerback Cortez Allen was solid but not spectacular substituting for Ike Taylor, who didn't play for the first time in 136 games. Neither cornerback had a pass defended but combined for 11 solo tackles.
• Guard Willie Colon aggravated his knee, an injury that caused him to miss the previous two games. He left early and did not return. Strong safety Troy Polamalu, who missed nine games with a calf injury, came up limping in the second quarter after colliding with cornerback Keenan Lewis but continued to play despite some discomfort. Running back Rashard Mendenhall practiced all week, but was inactive for the second game in a row.
• The Steelers are 1-3 against the AFC West with losses to Denver, Oakland and San Diego. Their only win was a 16-13 win in overtime against Kansas City. “We have to come play every single game,” Wallace said. “We have to get out of our own ways.” Defensive end Ziggy Hood said, “We lost to a good team with a bad record.”
— Ralph N. Paulk