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Sunday Night Football: Chargers outlast Steelers for 41-37 win

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USA TODAY Sports

For a few minutes into the fourth quarter, it looked like the Chargers would add one more game to the long list of crushing defeats.

The Steelers had made a furious comeback with a blocked punt, interception and fourth stop building a 37-34 lead with 3:24 to go into the fourth quarter.

But the Chargers managed to stave off a heartbreak. On the third play of Los Angeles’ ensuing drive, quarterback Justin Herbert threw an arrow at a wide open Mike Williams down the left sideline and Williams took it in for a 53-yard touchdown.

That was enough for Los Angeles to win 41-37.

The Steelers got the ball back, but back to back sacked from Ben Roethlisberger left Pittsburgh with fourth and 29 from its own 3-yard line. Roethlisberger’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete.

The Chargers were in control for most of the game, taking a 27-10 lead with kicker Dustin Hopkins 41-yard field goal late with 3:40 left in the third quarter.

And even when Boswell hit a 36-yard field goal and run back? Najee Harris 1-yard touchdown narrowed the score to 27-20, the Chargers regained their lead to 14 with running back Austin Ekelers fourth touchdown of the night.

That’s when the Steelers scored 17 points in just under two minutes of playing time before Herbert put Los Angeles back on top for good.

Herbert didn’t make many mistakes on Sunday, finishing 30-of-41 for 382 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Even the pick wasn’t entirely a bad decision as the ball went off the Cam Haywards helmet for the defensive tackle cornerback Cameron Sutton made a dive catch for a sale.

Herbert’s legs were also an important factor in the game, as he rushed nine times for 90 yards including a 36-yard scramble.

Receiver Keenan Allen led the way with nine catches for 112 yards. Mike Williams had five catches for 97 yards, including the winning score. Ekeler had four total touchdowns, two rushing and two receiving, along with 115 yards from scrimmage.

By allowing 33 first downs and 533 yards of offense, the Steelers clearly missed the edge rusher TJ Watt, corner back Joe Haden, and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Watt and Haden were out due to injury and Fitzpatrick is on the COVID-19 list. The Chargers only tried one punt, which Pittsburgh blocked.

Roethlisberger just returned to the team on Saturday after missing last week’s game due to a positive COVID-19 test. Despite not practicing, he finished 28-of-44 for 273 yards with three touchdowns. Diontae Johnson had seven receptions for 101 yards with a touchdown. And Chase Claypool had five catches for 93 yards.

But it wasn’t enough for a West Coast win.

At 5-4-1, the Steelers will also hit the road next week to take on the 6-4 Bengals.

At 6-4, the Chargers will try to maintain their momentum in next week’s game against division rivals 5-5 Broncos.

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