Steelers 2021 season reminder: Shootout ensues in loss with LA Chargers
Steel City Underground presents our Steelers 2021 Reminder: A look back at Pittsburgh Steelers games and storylines from last season.
After their tie with the winless Detroit Lions in Week 10, expectations varied for how the Pittsburgh Steelers would perform on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers the following week.
Concerns persisted over how many key players Pittsburgh wouldn’t have on the field until Sunday Night Football kicks off. Those worries came to fruition as the Chargers started fast, offensively, and kept coming.
Ben Roethlisberger was one such concern, as the Steelers quarterback was sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols after testing positive the night before the previous game’s tie with the Lions. Big Ben didn’t practice the whole week and was flown separately on a private jet to play the game on Sunday night.
Ben Roethlisberger entered SoFi Stadium, scoring for 273 passing yards with three passing touchdowns. He completed 28 of 44 pass attempts while finishing with a passer rating of 103.7.
Najee Harris — who didn’t “appear” on the stat sheet — finished the night with 39 rushing yards on just 12 attempts, one rushing touchdown and 20 receiving yards.
That was part of the problem early on, as the Steelers offense continued to struggle early on. In fact, most people were ready to turn off their TVs as the game entered the fourth quarter with the Steelers trailing by 17 points.
Pittsburgh’s 27 points in the fourth quarter against Los Angeles in Week 11 are the third in the fourth quarter in franchise history and the second in the fourth quarter of a road game in franchise history…#BertschyBits#Here we are pic.twitter.com/svHARDmAJZ
— Michael Bertsch (@SteelersPRMike) November 22, 2021
But for those who turned off their devices and went to bed early, they missed a hell of a game. The Steelers managed to grab 24 points in the fourth quarter of the game thanks to one-on-one play on special teams, a spilled ball they intercepted and somehow got no only closed the 17-point gap but took a 37-34 lead. out of one Chris Boswell field goal.
Their Steelers defense, however, had a bad night…to put it mildly. The fact that Pittsburgh finally seemed to wake up in the final quarter was a sign of hope, as they showed great heart and fought late. Unfortunately, they just didn’t have enough left to keep the Chargers from responding with 14 points.
Collectively, the defense gave up 533 yards. It’s hard to believe the offense could score 37 points when they haven’t had 30 points all year. However, the pill was harder to swallow when the defense gave up so many yards – and 41 points!
But there’s a good reason, if you want to call it that.
The defensive side of the ball lacked star players such as TJWatt, Minka Fitzpatrick and Joe Haden. The luminaries that adorned the grounds ranged from Charlton Tacos at Karl Joseph at Delontae Scott. (The only memory most have of Scott being lifted from the practice squad for this game is when he ran onto the field wearing Ryan Shazieris the old number 50.)
He joined another one added practice squad to list, Daniel Archibong. There were even more names missing, as Derek Tuszka joined Charlton, Joseph, Scott and Archibong as five players who weren’t in camp with the Steelers a few months earlier.
CC Ahkello Witherspoonwho was far from in good graces at this stage of the season, made six, while the seventh-round pick Tre Norwoodplayed his most snaps of any game this season: and more than he played in the previous four games combined.
Archibong and Scott played 8 and 7 snaps, while Joseph added 15 (20%). Witherspoon (20/26%), Tuszka (32/42%) and Charlton (49/64%) all clocked significant times, as well as DE Henry Moundeaux, another former practice squad player who recorded 27 snaps (36%) during the game. , which severely hampered their ability to slow down Justin Herbert and Company.
With the six players who weren’t in camp combined with a late-round rookie pick and another player from the practice squad, the Steelers have lined up eight mostly inexperienced and/or substitutes against Chargers. (This did not include Chris Wormleywho has already moved from a substitute role earlier in the season to a full-time starter.)
Once factored in, it’s easier to see how a hodgepodge of players can give up 533 yards.
Typically, I wouldn’t give as much insight into this column, but the Steelers’ first three quarterbacks saw them get tagged in everything five of the Chargers’ first possessions. That’s crazy, because the Steelers were down just seven points at halftime: and actually had the possession time advantage over the Chargers by a full minute.
However, the third quarter would see the Steelers shattered to pieces, as their only full drive of the quarter was a 3-play, 2-yard miss that saw them quickly return the ball between the Los Angeles scores.
Trailing 27-10, Ben Roethlisberger fought back late in the third and fourth quarters, still giving Steeler Nation hope they could pull off an unlikely win on the road.
The shorthanded defense came away with a turnover – while two of the remaining playmakers, Cameron Heyward and Cameron Suttoncombined for a Herbert interception. Miles Killebrewmostly a special teams player, also made an impact with a blocked punt.
It wasn’t enough, however, as the Chargers WR mike williams putting the icing on the cake as LA held on for a 41-37 victory.
With the loss, Pittsburgh moved to 5-4-1 this season, with a rematch against the Bengals looming the following weekend.