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Chargers narrowly escape Steelers, earn ‘B+’ on report card

A messy fourth quarter didn’t ruin an otherwise notable performance on both sides of the ball.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Chargers entered the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s game with a 17-point lead. However, the Steelers turned a blocked punt into 17-point barrage late in the final quarter to take a three-point leaf with 3:24 left on the clock. The Chargers responded with their own quick-strike magic as Justin Herbert hit Mike Williams streaking up the left sideline for a massive 53-yard touchdown.

On the ensuing defensive stand, Joey Bosa led a punishing attack that ended with him following a Kyler Fackrell sack with one of his own.

Overall, it was an extremely gutsy performance that may have been closer than the Chargers, but a win is a win, especially against a Steelers team that has long been the standard in the AFC.

For the team’s efforts, CBS Sports’ John Breech graded the Chargers out with a “B+”. Here’s what he had to say about the Bolts and their offensive explosion:

“Los Angeles received a big game from each of its main offensive playmakers. Herbert went 30 of 41 for 382 yards and three touchdowns and his one interception. He also led both teams with 90 rushing yards; his 36-yard carry set up Austin Ekeler’s fourth touchdown of the game. Ekeler, who caught and ran for two touchdowns apiece, amassed 115 all-purpose yards on just 17 touches. Keenan Allen caught nine passes for 112 yards, while Williams caught five passes for 97 yards that included the game-winning, 53-yard touchdown.”

“They weren’t great, but the Chargers’ defense did come up with two key red-zone stops in the first half that included Derwin James and Joe Gaziano’s fourth-down stop of Pat Freiermuth on fourth and goal. They also forced a field goal after Joe Schobert’s fourth-down stuff of Ekeler with 3:48 left and the score tied at 34. Joey Bosa had one of the Chargers’ two sacks on Pittsburgh’s final offensive drive that ended with an incomplete pass on fourth down.”

Breech is right about the defense not exactly being “great”, but the Chargers made the plays necessary in the right moments to pull this game out in the end. Holding the Steelers to field goals over touchdowns following sudden changes in momentum went a long way in keep Pittsburgh at arm’s length.

There were also several moments where a takeaway for the Bolts was just inches away. Several tip-drill opportunities presented themselves and even Derwin James looked to have picked off a pass early in the first quarter but he couldn’t get a second foot down ahead of sliding out of bounds.

Renaldo Hill has consistently stated that he believes the turnovers will come in bunches and this game really seemed like it’d finally come to fruition. Unfortunately, that day will have to wait another week. But either way, kudos to the defense for buckling down in some of the most pivotal moments on Sunday night.

An ugly win is still a win.