The Chargers managed to pull out a close win over the Steelers on Sunday Night Football to avoid dropping to .500 on the season. That 6-4 record keeps them in the thick of the playoff hunt amongst the league’s top teams. It also happened to keep them from moving too much in this week’s rankings. A loss would have surely dropped them down quite a bit, but thank goodness Justin Herbert is a GANGSTER! and he was willing to run for a million yards before letting the Bolts fall in primetime.
With that out of the way, let’s go ahead and check out this week’s power rankings roundup!
CBS Sports - #9
“Now that Justin Herbert is back throwing it around, they can play with anybody. The coaches wised up by getting back to featuring Herbert throwing it down the field.” - Pete Prisco
Sporting News - #10
“The Chargers needed every bit of dynamic playmaking from Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler to hold off a furious Steelers comeback Sunday night. Their reward for Brandon Staley finding enough defense in the end is getting closer to the playoffs while still trailing the Chiefs.” - Vinnie Iyer
Pro Football Network - #10
“There are two teams you can almost set your watch to disappoint you late in the fourth quarter of a game. The Chargers and the Falcons can have their names used as verbs, and everyone will know exactly what you mean.”
“With about 10 minutes left in the game, it looked like 5.5 points was a given cover for the Chargers, but they went and decided “Chargering” was more important. A blocked punt started the party, but they went right down the field and scored to thwart that momentum.”
“But there was too much game left. A funky interception seemed to change Los Angeles’ fate, and then a missed fourth-down conversion seemingly sealed it.”
“But Justin Herbert, or more accurately, the Steelers’ defensive miscommunication, flipped the page once again. This is a talented football team with one of the most impressive young talents in the league at quarterback. But they still have to fight off the curse the franchise has long been under. They won, but it was incredibly ugly at the end.”
ESPN - #11
“The Chargers defeated a beat-up Dallas team in their first Thanksgiving game in 48 years. Philip Rivers threw for 434 yards on 27-of-33 passing, and Keenan Allen caught 11 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown. They bested a Cowboys team without several key players, including running back Ezekiel Elliott, who was sidelined due to a six-game suspension stemming from a domestic violence investigation. Before that, the most recent time the Chargers played on Thanksgiving was in 1969, when they beat the Oilers in the Astrodome 21-17. - Shelley Smith”
NFL.com - #11
“The Chargers were ready to Charger in a profound way ... until Justin Herbert stepped in. The brilliant second-year quarterback saved the day with a 53-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams that thwarted a furious Steelers rally and allowed the Bolts to escape with a 41-37 win on Sunday Night Football. The fourth quarter unfolded in ways both unique and deeply familiar if you’re a Chargers fan; it felt as if a meltdown in front of 40,000 Steelers fans invading Southern California was preordained. But Herbert is different. He makes the Chargers different. He accounted for 472 total yards and three touchdowns and — even more impressively — showed unshakable cool when the world was on fire. He’s a franchise quarterback in every way. - Dan Hanzus”
Bleacher Report - #12
Like so many NFL teams in 2021, the Los Angeles Chargers have been up and down. There was the up of a 4-1 start that included wins over Cleveland, Las Vegas and Kansas City. And the down of a 1-3 stretch after that included a blowout loss in Baltimore and home defeats at the hands of Minnesota and New England.
Sunday night’s win over Pittsburgh was in some ways a microcosm for the season. For most of the game, the Chargers did just about whatever they wanted offensively, piling up a whopping 533 yards of offense.
But the Chargers also blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead, and it took a late touchdown pass from Herbert to Mike Williams to pull out a four-point win and keep the pressure on the Chiefs in the AFC West.
However, while the win was far from flawless, Sobleski thinks it shows that the Bolts have to be taken seriously in the AFC bracket.
“‘The Chargers remain very dangerous in the muddled AFC,’ he said. ‘A win Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers placed Los Angeles right back into the thick of things as a legitimate playoff contender. With the team’s backfield of quarterback Justin Herbert and running back Austin Ekeler, the Chargers offense is extremely difficult to defend based on their varied skill sets. As long as the defense plays well enough, Los Angeles can beat anyone.’” - NFL Staff
Yahoo Sports - #12
“There is no way to have any confidence in the Chargers, unless you want to bank on excitement. They were large and in charge of Pittsburgh. Austin Ekeler had scored four touchdowns, and yet, somehow the Bolts allowed the Steelers to score 27 points in the fourth quarter. Lead? What lead? Justin Herbert saved the day with a 53-yard TD pass to Mike Williams. Next: at Denver Broncos” - Barry Werner
USA Today - #13
“In yet another remarkable performance Sunday night, QB Justin Herbert became the first player in Super Bowl era to pass for 350 yards and rush for 90 in the same game. And he’s definitely breaking mold for the Bolts, who’d never had a QB run for at least 90 in team’s 62-season history.” - Nate Davis