Each season, we preview the games by looking at three reasons the Chargers will win and lose each week. Here is why they will win.
Devlin Hodges is no Ben Roethlisberger
Mason Rudolph was already a borderline catastrophic dropoff from Big Ben. Devlin Hodges is a guy that went undrafted this Spring. Even with their Hall of Fame quarterback, the Steelers offense was not going to be an elite unit. They were likely to be pretty good, sure. But they were not going to scare you. Now? Now, they have a guy nobody was willing to burn a 7th-round draft pick on running the whole show. Hodges was a 4-year starter at an FCS school in Alabama called Samford. He had a lot of success there. He also was not playing against defenses that had NFL talent on them.
Sunday, he will be facing down the likes of Joey Bosa and Uchenna Nwosu on every snap. This should not end well for the rookie.
Injuries to other Steelers skill position players
Because losing your top two choices at quarterback simply is not enough, the Steelers are also going to be without Jaylen Samuels and James Washington. Neither of those guys are world-beaters by any stretch of the imagination, but they are both good players that have the ability to break open a game thanks to their athletic gifts. Instead of those guys, Pittsburgh is going to run out Benny Snell and, I guess, Johnny Holton? Yeah, that is not ideal for the visiting team.
The Chargers have not had a lot of success on the defensive side of the ball this year, but Sunday is the day to get right if they are going to do so this year.
Keenan Allen is unstoppable
I am not telling you anything you don’t already know when I say that the Chargers’ veteran wide receiver is one of the best and most productive players at any position in the entire league. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth revisiting that fact in greater detail. Allen is 7th in defense-adjusted yards above replacement. He is 20th in defense-adjusted value over average. He is fourth in effective yards. He has a 70% catch rate. And he has 3 touchdowns through 5 games. And none of those numbers, impressive though they may be, does justice to how damn good he has been. At times, Allen has been the only competent wide receiver on the field for Los Angeles. Opposing defenses know they don’t have to worry about Travis Benjamin or Dontrelle Inman. They are able to gameplan almost exclusively for Allen. And it simply does not matter. Teams can put their best cornerback on Allen for nearly every snap and consistently shade coverages to give that guy help, and he is still beating them.
Keenan Allen, to put it simply, really is unstoppable.