The Steelers (7-4-1) have lost two straight following a six-game win streak. They were handling the Chargers offense, which was limited withou Gordon, and Ben Roethlisberger had all day to throw. The Chargers scored a touchdown in Cleveland in October on a play in which left tackle Russell Okung moved before the ball was hiked to Rivers.
But the Chargers don't owe anyone an apology for the missed calls.
Late in the third quarter the Steelers still hadn't put the game away, and then it started to seem like weird things might be happening. The pass was under thrown by Roethlisberger and James did a heck of a job by reading it, and taking it back for 36 yards. Rivers's pass deflected off of two Steelers defenders colliding before Allen, positioned behind the play, reached forward and hauled in the score off of the bounce.
At that point, it seemed like we might be watching the type of weird collapse the Chargers have been on the losing end of many times the past few seasons. Rivers connected with Antonio Gates for a two-point conversion. This time, it was blocked, but again the Steelers jumped offsides.
Betting market: Betting activity for this game is very split, and so are the books, with some posting the Steelers at -3 and others at -3.5.
The Chargers tied the game early in the fourth quarter.
Pittsburgh's offense, which looked great in the first half, had totally stalled.
After forcing another Pittsburgh punt, the Chargers marched 79 yards on seven plays for the go-ahead score, capped by rookie Justin Jackson's first touchdown on an 18-yard dash up the middle with a little more than eight minutes left to play.
The Steelers were able to pull themselves out of the quicksand. James Conner added 60 yards rushing and two touchdowns before leaving in the fourth quarter with a leg injury. The game was tied again.
After two defensive offsides penalties, rookie kicker Michael Badgley nailed a 29-yard field goal as time expired, his first game victor as a pro.
With the win, the Chargers improved to 9-3 on the year and showed - along with the Kansas City Chiefs, the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans - that they belong as one of the teams to reckon with in the AFC playoffs.
While comparing Ekeler to Conner would be unfair, the Chargers won't get the same production from their replacement as the Steelers are from theirs.
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