Justin Herbert threw an important pass in the fourth quarter to Mike Williams when the Los Angeles Chargers (6-4) beat the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4-1) 41-37 Sunday night at SoFi Arena in Inglewood. The Chargers, who have lost three of their last four games, cut short the Steelers’ five-game unbeaten streak, but above all, they managed to avoid the crash and disgrace of failing to hold a 27-10 and 34-20 lead. .
When the Chargers seemed to let another win slip away in the fourth quarter, Herbert Williams found down the left and threw in a pass from 53 yards to score the decisive touchdown with 2:09 left. Chargers have seen a progression of up to 17 fade points.
“I am very proud of our team, as I have been so proud all this year,” said Brandon Staley, a relieved Chargers coach.
“The atmosphere was really challenging for us,” Staley said when speaking of the majority of Steelers fans who came to SoFi Stadium, once again outperforming the host crowd. According to Staley, his group of players remained focused in the face of pressure from the Pittsburgh fans, who never stopped rooting for their team with yellow towels.
“We stuck together through that last quarter. We were united the whole game,” Staley added. “Today we are facing a real NFL team. And that was a real NFL win.”
The Steelers, who saw Ben Roethlisberger return after he was on a Covid-19 roster, had no key defensive players, and Austin Eckler, who had a four-point night, took advantage of that.
“The training this week has been very good,” said Eckler, who said the mental strength of the team during training was essential to winning.
The Charger started off on the right foot when Eckler scored a six-yard touchdown by breaking through the Steelers defense after the visiting team surged with a field goal from 36 yards.
Los Angeles cemented the lead to 14-3 when Eckler once again capitalized on a big play by Herbert with a touchdown pass from 10 yards, his second of the night.
The Steelers, who couldn’t count on defensive starters TJ Watt and Joe Haden, didn’t score a touchdown until the second quarter when Diontae Johnson cut the difference to 14-10.
In the third inning, Eckler scored his third run from a 17-yard pass from Herbert and played superb play to dodge defenses and extend the lead 24-10.
The Chargers seemed headed for a comfortable victory with a 27-10 lead with 3:44 left in the third game until everything changed in the fourth when the Steelers responded with four touchdowns.
The Steelers began to build momentum in the last quarter after Miles Kelebro blocked a Punt kick while Pittsburgh trailed 27-13. Nagy Harris scored to cut the difference to 27-20 which boosted the visitors’ intentions.
Ekeler responded with a fourth touchdown from five yards to make it 34-20, but Eric Braun and then Pat Frymouth each scored a touchdown to equal 34-34 with 4:23 left, leaving fans speechless.
Chris Boswell then netted a 45-yard field goal to put the Steelers ahead for the first time with three points with 3:24 left in the game.
And just as Chargers fans began to think the worst, Herbert found Williams alone for him to save the night.
“Our boys were ready to fight. We were ready for that last quarter. We played our best game in that fourth quarter,” Staley said.
The Steelers had tied with the Detroit Lions last week and had won their last four games before that.
The Charger, who lost to the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday, now has a modest 3-3 home record.
The Shipper visits the Broncos building in Denver on Sunday, while the Steelers visit the Bengals area of Cincinnati.
The Chargers beat Roethlisberger’s Kessen in the final for the hosts to take their sixth win of the season.
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