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PITTSBURGH - JANUARY 11: Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers watches the Pittsburgh Steelers offense play against the Chargers defense during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game on January 11, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Steelers won 35-24. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH -- Electrifying early and too late, the San Diego Chargers just didn't have enough juice.
They scored on a gorgeous touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Vincent Jackson just four plays and barely two minutes into Sunday's game, but the Chargers couldn't sustain their fast-and-furious start and had their season end with a 35-24 playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
After stunning the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC wild-card game last week, the Chargers (9-9), who won their final four regular-season games to make the postseason, traveled to the snow-dusted hills of Western Pennsylvania looking to shock the Steelers (13-4).
The Chargers couldn't have imagined returning to Pittsburgh, where they lost 11-10 on Nov. 16 -- the first of three straight losses that dropped them to 4-8.
But afterward, they were glad they came back.
"The character, the fight, the resiliency we showed says a lot about the group of guys that we have," Rivers said. "When your backs are against the wall, you want to know who's on your side. When you get front-running type guys who are only there when you're reeling off wins, those aren't the type of guys you want.
"We got the right kind of guys. Anytime you're 4-8 and you bounce back and win the division and you win a game in the playoffs, that says a lot."
Source: Associated Press via NFL.com
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