The Pittsburgh Steelers traveled to San Diego and defeated the San Diego Chargers by a final score of 24-20. The Steelers played a sloppy game, but executed on offense at the right times. On the other hand, the defense was great, and they are the reason that the Steelers came away with the win.
Mike Vick struggled throughout the game, but he came up clutch when the Steelers needed him the most. Before the last drive, Vick's only real bright spot was a 72 yard bomb to Markus Wheaton to tie the game up at 17. Then, on the last drive, Vick started things off with a pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey for a 15 yard gain. Soon after, Vick made a great play with his legs, turning back the clock a little bit, scrambling up the middle for a gain of 24 yards. On the second to last play of the game, Vick made a great throw to Heath Miller, ultimately setting up the game winning touchdown.
Le'Veon Bell yet again proved why he is one of the best running backs in the NFL. Sure, the Chargers running defense isn't great, but Bell was just making defenders look silly. He finished the game with 111 yards on just 21 carries, good for an astounding 5.3 yards per carry. Bell ran the ball in from the wildcat formation, scoring the game winning touchdown as time expired. Until Big Ben Roethlisberger returns, the Steelers know they can rely on Bell. When Roethlisberger does return, Antonio Brown will get more touches again, and the offense will be a well-oiled machine, thanks in large part to Bell.
The Steelers did a great job of stopping the Chargers rushing attack, or lack thereof. San Diego finished with a dismal 2.7 yards per carry between rookie Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead. The defense can thank Lawrence Timmons for the help, who totaled nine tackles, two of which came in the backfield. Jarvis Jones also had a good game, including a sack and a forced fumble. His sack now gives all of the outside linebackers and defensive ends at least one sack on the season.
In terms of the secondary, things were not pretty for the Steelers. Philip Rivers threw for 365 yards on 48 attempts and two touchdowns, both to Antonio Gates. With the front seven playing so well, opposing teams will look to throw the ball on the Steelers. The secondary will have to step up. Antwon Blake made one of the biggest plays of the game, though, intercepting Rivers and taking it 70 yards for a touchdown. Still, this has been one of Pittsburgh's better games this season.
It was nice to see Chris Boswell make his only field goal attempt and all three of his extra points. Jordan Barry had a great game punting the ball, too. The special teams penalties need to be cleaned up, though. Pittsburgh got penalized twice for block-in-the-back on punt returns, once for holding on a return, and once for fair catch interference after a punt. These little things could make a huge difference, though.
All in all, this was a great win for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Roethlisberger wants to return next week against the Cardinals, though the team says it is unlikely. A victory without Roethlisberger is a big boost for the team. Hopefully Martavis Bryant, Ryan Shazier, Dan McCullers, and Roethlisberger play next week. The Steelers will have most of it's players returning to the field (center Maurkice Pouncey is still hurt). For now, however, the Steelers can enjoy this one because it was a great team win.