A visiting wide receiver spreading his wings in Pittsburgh is like a young thespian making a go of it on Broadway. If you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere.
Take a bow, Danario Alexander. You're officially matchup-proof in our world. We won't sweat the remaining schedule.
The Steelers secondary was riding the crest of a two-month domination wave entering Week 14; no 200-yard passers since Week 6. And even with top corner Ike Taylor out of the mix, on paper it looked like a tricky day for the Chargers passing game. Philip Rivers is having his worst season in five years. Antonio Gates has turned into a milk carton player. Robert Meachem has been a colossal bust since Day 1.
Fear not, Alexander the Great is here. The Missouri product was once again San Diego's top receiver Sunday, snagging 7-of-11 targets for 88 yards and a couple of touchdowns. His first score, a 39-yarder, came despite defensive pass interference. The second spike resulted from a jump-ball in the red zone, Rivers giving Alexander a chance to win 1-on-1. Imagine what was possible had Alexander not mishandled a couple of earlier targets.
The numbers are straight off the pinball game over the last five weeks: 25 catches, 360 yards, four touchdowns. Alexander graded as the No. 8 receiver through Weeks 9-12, and he'll be one of the top scorers this week as well. Rivers and Norv Turner know who they can trust.
The Chargers can thank the football gods for Alexander; mostly this is a story of good fortune. He joined the team in mid-October, two months removed from his release from the Rams. He's had five surgeries on his left knee. While there have been plenty of flashes through the years (Alexander led the NCAA in receiving yards back in 2009 and showed occasional promise with St. Louis), it's telling when no one in the league calls your name for two months.
Go ahead and dial up Alexander in Week 15 against the Panthers, that's not even worth sweating over. And here's a vote of confidence that says Alexander will do something against the Jets in Week 16, too. So long as he stays healthy, Alexander isn't leaving our starting lineups.
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