There are, for all intents and purposes, 24 starting spots on an NFL team and 53 spots on an NFL roster, and only 45 of those guys are allowed to suit up on game day.
Assuming that the Chargers have 12 guys that can't play tonight, that trims their roster down to 41 guys. They will, quite literally, have guys suit up that they know are too injured to play.
Once you've reached this point, your team is going to have a hard time competing. Once you're literally playing with less players than the opposing team, you're giving up all sorts of advantages.
If not for backups that can play multiple positions, the Chargers would be playing a handful of positions without a backup tonight. Instead, they'll be one or two injuries away from complete catastrophe.
Does anyone have any idea how good the Chargers are?
So far, they've needed a dramatic comeback and an injury to Matthew Stafford to beat the now 0-5 Detroit Lions. Then, they came within an inch of going to overtime with Josh McCown and the Cleveland Browns. No real wins to be proud of at this point.
I'm not saying the Chargers are a bad team, I'm just saying that they're are in that giant mish-mash of about 15-20 "average teams" that takes up the middle of the NFL standings.
The Steelers are better than that. Oh, sure, they can lose to a divisional foe with a backup QB, but their strength on the offensive and defensive lines gives them an advantage over the Chargers in this one. Le'Veon Bell should have no problem racking up plenty of all-purpose yards, which usually means he'll get into the end zone a few times as well.
I won't go too deep into this because you've heard it all before.
Mike McCoy is not going to give his team the best chance to win. In fact, the players will have to win this game in spite of him. That will be difficult because they'll be going up against a team that matches them in talent, has strengths where their weaknesses are, and is coached aggressively by someone that will make decisions that give his team the best chance to win.
Don't expect anyone to be raving after this one about how Mike McCoy coached the Chargers to victory. It has been a long, long time since that has been a narrative. However, don't be surprised if Tomlin is being praised for finding ways to win with a backup QB.