Winning on the road in the NFL is difficult, doing it with a third string quarterback is unheard of. That was the challenge facing the Pittsburgh Steelers when they hit the road to play the Los Angeles Chargers in a Sunday night matchup. Devlin Hodges made his first career start tonight and moved the offense to pick up a 24-17 Pittsburgh victory.
The Steelers defense got the scoring started in the first quarter when rookie Devin Bush recovered a fumble and returned in nine yards for a touchdown. Six minutes later James Conner scored his first touchdown of the night with a twelve-yard touchdown run to put Pittsburgh up by two touchdowns.
The second quarter was more of the same. The defense continued to pitch a shutout, while Hodges would throw a twenty-six-yard touchdown pass to Conner to put the Steelers up by three touchdowns heading into halftime.
Pittsburgh would add a field goal in the third quarter, a twenty yarder by Chris Boswell to make it 24-0. Things felt safe at this point, but Steelers fans know better than to feel comfortable with any lead. Los Angeles would make their comeback as the fourth quarter began.
Chase McLaughlin put the Chargers on the board with a thirty-eight-yard field goal with fourteen minutes left in the game. Seven minutes later, Phillip Rivers would connect with Hunter Henry on a five-yard pass for their first touchdown of the night. With ninety seconds left in the game those two would connect again, this time from ten yards out to get Los Angeles to within a touchdown. Pittsburgh would finally put the game away on a Cameron Sutton interception late in the game.
Hodges managed the game well tonight and only got into trouble when he tried to go deep down the field on a pass that was intercepted. His numbers weren’t eye popping, but when your team is on their third quarterback in six weeks you take what you can get. Benny Snell Jr. led the team with seventy-five rushing yards, while Conner was the leading receiver on the team with seventy-eight.
While the defense only accounted for one sack on the night, they were constantly putting pressure on Rivers through the first three quarters of the game. The fourth quarter saw the Steelers go to the prevent defense, which does nothing but make these games closer than they need to be.
Pittsburgh will have a bye next week, before returning to Heinz Field on Monday October 28th to host the Miami Dolphins on ESPN.