Chargers notebook: Spikes sticks up for embattled Turner
Linebacker Takeo Spikes took offense to a report out of San Diego earlier in the week that head coach Norv Turner would be fired at the end of the season.
“It was so much foul play,” Spikes said after the Chargers upset the Steelers, 34-24. “I don't know where it came from. I thought it was (expletive) myself.”
Spikes heard talk all week about the Chargers not having much to play for after losing eight of their previous 10 games to fall out of playoff contention. Spikes said the team especially was aware of the negative talk about their longtime coach.
“A lot of people crucified Norv — killing him,” Spikes said. “Norv puts his face on the TV saying blame me. We stepped up and said enough is enough. ‘OK, Norv you take the (blame), but at the end of the day we are all accountable for what we do.'”
• Offensive lineman Reggie Wells (South Park and Clarion) was signed on Monday and didn't arrive in San Diego until Tuesday. By Sunday, he was earning a game ball. Due to injuries to starting tackles Jeromey Clary and Mike Harris, the Chargers used three new starters on the offensive line, including Wells at right tackle — a position he hadn't played in six years. “I wanted to come in and show that I am just not here and that I was here to play ball,” Wells said. Left tackle Kevin Haslam, who spent much of the season on San Diego's practice squad, also received a game ball.
• At one point, the Chargers had four non-starters on the offensive line when center Nick Hardwick left briefly in the first half. Still, that didn't prevent the line from allowing only one sack of quarterback Philip Rivers. He came into the game ranked second in the NFL by being sacked 36 times.
• Wide receiver Michael Spurlock has been with three teams in two months, but he was a big part of the Chargers' game plan Sunday. Of his seven catches and 64 yards, five came on third down for 55 yards. “On third downs, we knew what we were going to get. They rely on their front seven and we figured we could exploit their corners,” he said.
• It was the first regular-season victory for the Chargers in Pittsburgh (1-14) and third in 17 career games. But linebacker Jarret Johnson, who played nine years with Baltimore before signing with the Chargers this year, has won his share of games in Pittsburgh, and he said it never gets old. “This is, in my opinion, the greatest place in the NFL to win,” he said.
— Mark Kaboly