Ben Roethlisberger wore a Kevlar-lined vest to protect his injured rib, but the Steelers quarterback wasn't bulletproof against the Chargers' pressure.
Roethlisberger was under duress, sacked or hit while throwing on 19 of 48 (39.6 percent) drop backs Sunday, the highest rate of pressure he has been under over the past three seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information. His fourth-quarter interception under such pressure snapped a streak of 154 consecutive passes under duress or hit while throwing without being intercepted dating back to last season's opener.
The amount of pressure was reflected in the number of times Roethlisberger had to break free from the pocket and scramble. He ran for 31 yards on five attempts after having 58 yards in his first nine games.
Roethlisberger took some hard shots and fell on his injured right shoulder a couple of times. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said there was no thought of pulling Roethlisberger from the blowout loss.
"We're competitors, as is he," Tomlin said. "We're going to allow competitors to compete."
Roethlisberger said he made it through the game fine physically. "Right now, I feel OK," he said. "I will let you know tomorrow if I'm not doing very good."
STAT THAT STICKS: 11 -- Third-down conversions allowed by the Steelers' defense on 22 chances, including 5-for-5 on the 17-play drive that opened the second half. The Chargers had converted just 10 of 43 third-down chances in the previous three games. It seemed like every time it was third down that the Chargers threw to Micheal Spurlock, who constantly beat Curtis Brown.
OVERHEARD: "This was never a game. We made it look good at the end before they took their foot off the pedal. Thank God they did that. There's no telling what the score would have been." -- Steelers safety Ryan Clark on a game where Pittsburgh trailed 27-3.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Steelers (7-6) play at the Cowboys (7-6), who have won four of their past five games.