NFL

Pittsburgh Steelers at LA Chargers Preview

Welcome to the most comprehensive Pittsburgh Steelers Game Day Preview on the internet! NGSC Sports brings you your one stop shop for everything you need to know about the Steelers and their upcoming opponent! Mike Drakulich of Pittsburgh SportsNation brings you inside the huddle for both teams, providing all fans with a Game Story, Steelers Path to Success, Score Prediction, Game Information, a detailed breakdown of each team, Individual Stats, and Team Stats. Heck, you’ll even know the weather at kickoff! The only thing you’re missing is a game uniform!

M.A.S.H. UNIT STEELERS SET TO GO DUCK HUNTING VS CHARGERS

The Pittsburgh Steelers record sits at 1-4. Records usually tell the truth about your team.

Sometimes records can be deceiving.

In the opening week, Pittsburgh was blown away by New England.

Ok, we get it… tough place to play and the Patriots just raised their 6th Championship Banner.

Tom Brady and company came to play. The Steelers did not.

The same cannot be said about the last four games. Even after losing Ben Roethlisberger to injury one half into the Seattle game, this team has had more than it’s share of chances to win. By all accounts, if this team would learn to finish a game, they could be sitting at 3-2, if not 4-1.

But, they are who they are. Interceptions off the hands of receivers. Fumbles by James Conner and Juju Smith-Schuster. The defense, great as they have been, failing to hold a lead when counted upon the most in a game. And yes, you can count some horrendous call by officials.

All of these failings have added up to the Steelers sporting that dreadful 1-4 record, and a big possibility of their season being over by the 2nd weekend of October.

With their backs against the wall, Pittsburgh will likely turn to Devlin Hodges to lead the way at quarterback.

Mason Rudolph, who took over for the injured Roethlisberger, has played well, despite the clamps placed upon him by the coaching staff. Rudolph had just completed a great pass while scrambling against the Ravens last week, but was hit immediately from behind and from the front by Earl Thomas.

The resulting hit knocked Rudolph unconscious, and a scary scene set upon Heinz Field, as their QB lay there motionless. Smith-Schuster ran back to his fallen teammate and lost control of his legs as he saw his friend in peril.

But Rudolph suddenly came to, and then amazingly walked off the field before being taken to a local hospital for further evaluations.

In came Devlin “Duck” Hodges, who, if fazed at all, didn’t show it one bit.

Hodges is a rookie out of Samford where he set the NCAA FCS passing record with 14,584 yards passing.

His other claim to fame is being a world class duck call champion.

All Hodges did was go 7-9 for 68 yards, and was a few more yards away in overtime from leading the Steelers to a victory before Smith-Schuster had the ball jarred loose by Marlon Humphrey, of which the Ravens recovered and soon watched Justin Tucker seemingly kick the Steeler’s season through the uprights at Heinz Field.

Thanks to a horrid AFC North, Pittsburgh, with a win, could find itself at 3-4 at the end of week eight, and possibly just a game out of first place. The Steelers face the hapless Dolphins a week after the bye next week.

First things first… and that is taking care of the Los Angeles Chargers on the road in Carson, California. Not the coziest of home stadiums, and you can bet there will be a huge following of SteelerNation in the stands to help aide the Steelers.

Can Hodges be the man to do it?

Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn is impressed.

“It just seems like being at a small school, every time he had a chance to play on a big stage, he showed up,” Lynn said. “Just watching him last week when he came into the game, he was very prepared. It was pretty obvious. They went straight down the field and scored.”

Hodges always seems to have a confident smile showing, and shows a coolness under pressure that would make Clint Eastwood proud.

Devlin Hodge Tweet

Hodges went as far to tweet out a photo of a duck that had a caption that read, ‘Always behave like a duck. Keep calm and unruffled on the surface but paddle like hell underwater.’

“I tweeted it out as a joke but it is true,” Hodges said Wednesday at his locker. “You have to be calm, cool and collected with what everyone sees, but there’s a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes that no one sees.”

His fellow teammates believe in the undrafted rookie, especially wide receiver Johnny Holton.

“Duck’s got a lot of confidence,” said Holton, who played with Hodges on the scout team. “He knows he’s supposed to be in the NFL so he keeps working his tail off.

“Even when he got released, I told him, ‘Be ready. Someone will end up calling you.’ He looks at it like, he went to a small school so it’s harder to get drafted but he got his foot in the door — and I’m pretty sure he ain’t getting out this door.”

Now Hodges has a chance to turn the Steelers season around.

“He has the foundation. He’s been with us the whole time,” said Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner. “Devlin is a lot like Mason. He loves the game, and it’s hard to kick him out of the building, and he keeps his ears open and his mouth shut. That’s probably pretty good for a young quarterback.”

So, will Fichtner and the coaches give Hodges… or Rudolph, a chance to unleash their potential? Fichtner hinted that he would prefer both of his QB’s to start taking the majority of their snaps under center.

“You can run a full offense when you’re capable of doing that,” Fichtner said. “It gives you more play-action, more with the drop back pass, more with the general run game. We’re aware of that. Again, it’s tough to do anything completely overnight or within a week. Collectively, we’re going to do the best things we can, use the people to do the things they do best. It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is at this point.”

In addition to Mason Rudolph being out, the Steelers offense will be missing RB Jaylen Samuels and WR James Washington.

Paxton Lynch has been promoted from the practice squad to be the 2nd QB to Hodges, while Donte Moncrief will get a chance to make amends for his terrible hands he displayed the first two games. Benny Snell and Trey Edmunds will serve as James Conner’s back-ups, should he be injured or need a break.

Defensively, starting LB Mark Baron will be out, and CB Steven Nelson is listed as questionable, so rookie Devin Bush will get the start, as will Artie Burns at corner.

“I don’t know much about how Steve’s situation is right now,” Burns said, “but me starting is what we’re looking at right now.”

Whomever is in on defense will surely be looking to keep LA’s Keenan Allen under wraps after he torched the Steelers for 14 receptions for 148 yards and a score in 2018.

For some strange reason, Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Keith Butler thought it would be a good idea to keep just his linebackers covering Allen.

“Ah, yeah,” Steelers LB Bud Dupree said, with a big smile. “Ah, shoot, long story short, we were (covering) Keenan Allen last year, but now we’ve got Minkah to (cover) Keenan. We don’t have to be on him because he made us look bad at the linebacker position.”

Allen has been one of the best receivers in the NFL this year, catching 38 passes for 470 yards, which puts him on track for career-high 1,504 yards and a 3rd consecutive 1,100+ yard season.

“He’s a great athlete, and he can run, too,” Dupree said. “He’s in the conversation for having the best routes in the league.”

Safeties Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds are looking forward to the challenge.

“We know how they are going to try to attack us,” Edmunds said. “We know where we need to place people, and we have to go from there.”

Corner Mike Hilton is also confident this year’s defense is much better prepared than that of last years.

“We’ve got a lot more guys who can run and cover a lot better,” Hilton said. “We just feel more comfortable and confident in the guys we’ve got. It’s shown in how we’re playing these last few games. We’re faster, and we’re getting the ball.”

 

Steelers Path to Success

  1. STOP living in your fears: Hey coach Tomlin and Fichtner! Neither Rudolph or Hodges are Big Ben, but they know how to throw the rock! Open up the playbook and play to WIN!
  2. STOP turning the ball over: Enough is enough. Secure the damn ball. Five untimely fumbles have cost the Steelers five wins the past two years.
  3. Wreak havoc upon Phillip Rivers: Can’t give Rivers time to sit in that pocket. Continue playing the defense we have watched the past four games.
  4. Can ANYONE on Special Teams make a play? Bueller? Bueller?
  5. Redemption time for Donte Moncrief and Artie Burns? With James Washington out, Moncrief gets an opportunity for redemption. Burns starts in place of the injured Steven Nelson.

Prediction

It’s nearly impossible for anyone (besides Bolts fans) NOT to pull for Devlin Hodges this week, as he makes his first career NFL start against the Chargers with Mason Rudolph sidelined for at least one game.

Hodges represents everyone who was ever told they weren’t good enough, big enough, or strong enough in their lives by snobby people who often look down upon players who don’t have the pedigree of players from the Power Five conferences.

“We’re excited to get ‘Duck’ in the game,” tight end Vance McDonald said. “He will play well. I like his confidence. He just wants to come out and sling it. I just like him as a person. He’s fun to be in the huddle with. … We just tell him to go out and play football, play the way that you know, play the game you love — and we have your back, no matter what happens.”

No big deal, right Duck? All that is at stake is this team’s future. A win vaults the Steelers back into contention for the AFC North, while a loss will kill any hopes of a successful season.

“I’m excited. I believe in that new stars can be born every year,” guard Ramon Foster said after practice. “I’m not saying he will go out and just become a superstar, but you just never know. It’s exciting for a young guy like that who’s not timid about the situation.

“I am happy for him because he walks into the locker room and into the huddle like a little kid, but he plays big, so it’s going to be interesting.”

Crazy as the odds may seem to not favor the Steelers this week, the little voice inside is saying this team is not dead yet.

With the confidence and the swagger Hodges possesses leading the offense, combined with a defense that is flying to the ball, making plays and creating turnovers, this could be the spark and the starting point for this team to turn it’s season around and come out swinging after their bye next week.

The biggest key is the coaches trusting Hodges to make plays and scrap the conservative play-calling approach that has hamstrung the offense since Big Ben was injured.

The defense stepping up and taking the game over is another scenario often overlooked. The team was getting a little overzealous this week in practice, taking big shots at James Conner and Juju Smith-Schuster. Now it’s time to put the hurt to the opposing team, namely Phillip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, and Keenan Allen.

With 19 sacks and 10 turnovers this year, the defense will be looking to add to those totals against a Chargers team that was shutdown by the previously winless Broncos a week ago. Denver held LA to just 246 yards last week and forced three turnovers. Not to mention making amends for blowing a 16 point lead last year and losing 33-30 to these same Chargers.

Look for a motivated team to come out like a cornered rat this week, with the defense swarming and making Phillip River’s life a miserable one, combined with a gutsy performance by Devlin Hodges who will lead this team to a much needed victory headed into the bye week.

Steelers 24 Chargers 16

______________________________________

Game Information

Pittsburgh Steelers at LA Chargers

NFL Week 6

Venue: ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, CA.

Field: Bermuda Grass

Game-time: Sunday, October 12th, at 8:20 pm ET

TV: NBC (locally WPXI-TV)

  • Announcers: Al Michaels (play-by-play) Cris Collinsworth (analyst) Michele Tafoya (reporter)

Local Radio: Pittsburgh- 102.5 WDVE & WBGG 970 AM

  • Announcers: Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play) Tunch Ilkin (analyst) Craig Wolfley (sideline) Missi Matthews (sideline)

 

Internet Broadcast: Steelers Nation Radio (SNR) on Steelers.com

Weather at Kickoff: A mostly clear sky at night. Low: 58°.

Vegas Line: LA Chargers -6.5

______________________________________

Pittsburgh Steelers vs LA Chargers History

Series History: Began in 1971

Steelers are 22-8 overall vs Chargers

  • At Home: 14-2
  • On Road: 8-6
  • Post-Season: 1-2
  • Streak: Chargers won the last meeting.
  • Last Regular Season Meeting: Chargers Win, 33-30 (Dec. 12, 2018)
  • Last Post-Season Meeting: Steelers Win, 35-24 (Jan. 11, 2009)

______________________________________

Scouting the Pittsburgh Steelers

Overall Record: 1-4

Head Coach: Mike Tomlin (13th Season with Steelers)

  • Overall Regular Season Record: 126-70-1 (.639)
  • Playoff Record: 8-7 (Qualified for playoffs 8 times)

2019 Pittsburgh Steelers Team Roster

Steelers Team Statistics

Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 Schedule 

Last Game: Baltimore 23 Steelers 20 in OT

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Devlin Hodges*

The former Samford quarterback showed no fear when he was forced into action vs the Ravens. Now he has the keys to the car this week.

  • Passing Yards: 68
  • TD Passes: 0
  • Interceptions: 0
  • Sacks: 0
  • Yards Rushing: 20
  • Rushing TD’s: 0

Mason Rudolph (Injured)

The 2nd year gunslinger out of Oklahoma State takes over for the injured Ben Roethlisberger, but has yet to be fully unleashed by the coaching staff. Suffered concussion against Ravens and is out this week.

  • Passing Yards: 646
  • TD Passes: 7
  • Interceptions: 2
  • Sacks: 3
  • Yards Rushing: 19
  • Rushing TD’s: 0

Ben Roethlisberger (Injured)

Out for the season with an elbow injury.

  • Passing Yards: 351
  • TD Passes: 0
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Sacks: 2
  • Yards Rushing: 7
  • Rushing TD’s: 0

 

Running Backs

James Conner*

Not off to his best start. Conner needs to get back to power football and secure the ball.

  • Yards Rushing: 194
  • Rushing TD’s: 2
  • Receptions: 19
  • Yards Receiving: 153
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Jaylen Samuels (Injured)

Dynamic player who can play several positions. Dangerous as a pass-catcher out of the backfield.

  • Yards Rushing: 50
  • Rushing TD’s: 1
  • Receptions: 13
  • Yards Receiving: 83
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Benny Snell, Jr.

Will be used to spell Conner and possibly short-yardage situations.

  • Yards Rushing: 30
  • Rushing TD’s: 0
  • Receptions: 0
  • Yards Receiving: 0
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Roosevelt Nix (Fullback) (Injured)

  • Yards Rushing: 0
  • Rushing TD’s: 0
  • Receptions: 0
  • Yards Receiving: 44
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Wide Receivers

Juju Smith-Schuster*

Smith-Schuster is set to prove he is a true No.1 receiver for the Steelers, but now has two fumbles that have cost the team two probable wins.

  • Receptions: 24
  • Receiving Yards: 333
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

Dointae Johnson*

Talented rookie whose makes the most of every reception. Blessed with wicked moves in open space.

  • Receptions: 18
  • Receiving Yards: 198
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

James Washington (Injured)

Was ready to have a breakout season and establish himself as a big-time play-maker in the NFL. So far, not going anywhere as expected.

  • Receptions: 9
  • Receiving Yards: 140
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Donte Moncrief

Was expected to be the #2 receiver, but had five drops in the first two games.

  • Receptions: 3
  • Receiving Yards: 7
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Ryan Switzer

Sparingly used with Big Ben out. Will return punts and kicks.

  • Receptions: 7
  • Receiving Yards: 29
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Johnny Holton

Steelers deep threat, but has yet to record a catch.

  • Receptions: 0
  • Receiving Yards: 0
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Tight Ends

Vance McDonald*

The Vanimal, when unleashed, is a sight to see. He could be a major part of offense if utilized correctly and if he stays healthy.

  • Receptions: 13
  • Receiving Yards: 122
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

Nate Vannett

The Ohio State product was acquired from the Seahawks earlier this season.

  • Receptions: 2
  • Receiving Yards: 28
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

*Denotes Starter

 

OFFENSIVE LINE

Left Tackle: Alejandro Villanueva

Left Guard: Ramon Foster

Center: Maurkice Pouncey

Right Guard: David DeCastro

Right Tackle: Matt Feller

 

DEFENSE (Base 3-4)

Defensive End: Cam Heyward

Defensive Tackle: Javon Hargrave/Dan McCullers

Defensive End: Stephon Tuitt

Left OLB: T.J. Watt

Left MLB: Mark Barron/Devin Bush

Right MLB: Vince Willams

Right OLB: Bud Dupree

Cornerback: Joe Haden

Strong Safety: Terrell Edmunds

Free Safety: Minkah Fitzpatrick/Kameron Kelly

Cornerback: Steven Nelson/Artie Burns

Nickle: Mike Hilton/Cameron Sutton

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Placekicker

Chris Boswell

  • Extra Points: 9-9
  • FG: 10-10
  • 0-19: 1-1 / 20-29:  3-3 / 30-39: 2-2 / 40-49:  4-4 / 50+:  0-0
  • Long: 49

 

Punter

Jordan Berry

  • Yards per Punt: 47.3

 

Kickoff Returner

Ryan Switzer

  • Yards per Kickoff Return: 18.0 / Return TD’s: 0

 

Punt Returner

Dointae Johnson

  • Yards per Kickoff Return: 11.0 / Return TD’s: 0

 

Pittsburgh Injury Report (10/11/19)

  • Out: FB Roosevelt Nix (Knee), WR James Washington (Shoulder), RB Jaylen Samuels (Knee), LB Mark Barron (Hamstring), QB Mason Rudolph (Concussion), CB Steven Nelson (Groin)
  • Doubtful: None
  • Questionable: None

 

______________________________________

Scouting the LA Chargers

Overall Record: 2-3

Head Coach: Anthony Lynn (3rd Season with Chargers)

  • Overall Regular Season Record: 23-15 / 23-15 with Chargers
  • Playoff Record: 1-1 (Qualified for playoffs 1 time)

2019 LA Chargers Team Roster

LA Chargers Team Statistics

Last Game: Denver 20 Chargers 13

 

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Phillip Rivers*

The future HOF QB is off to an average start so far in 2019.

  • Passing Yards: 1,465
  • TD Passes: 7
  • Interceptions: 4
  • Sacks: 11
  • Yards Rushing: 24
  • Rushing TD’s: 0

 

Running Backs

Melvin Gordon*

Gordon is looking to get up to speed after holding out until week five.

  • Yards Rushing: 31
  • Rushing TD’s: 0
  • Receptions: 4
  • Yards Receiving: 7
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Austin Ekeler

Ekeler has been superb in place of Melvin Gordon, who held out of the first four games.

  • Yards Rushing: 227
  • Rushing TD’s: 3
  • Receptions: 39
  • Yards Receiving: 356
  • Receiving TD’s: 3

Justin Jackson

  • Yards Rushing: 142
  • Rushing TD’s: 3
  • Receptions: 6
  • Yards Receiving: 13
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Wide Receivers

Keenan Allen*

Allen is the #1 wide receiver option for Phillip Rivers.

  • Receptions: 38
  • Receiving Yards: 470
  • Receiving TD’s: 3

Mike Williams*

Williams makes big plays when given the chance. Averaging 16.5 yards per catch.

  • Receptions: 14
  • Receiving Yards: 231
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Dontrelle Inman

  • Receptions: 8
  • Receiving Yards: 132
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Travis Benjamin

  • Receptions: 5
  • Receiving Yards: 30
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Tight Ends

Lance Kendricks*

Kendricks hasn’t done much in place of the injured Hunter Henry.

  • Receptions: 3
  • Receiving Yards: 50
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Hunter Henry

Henry was expected to be a big part of the Chargers offense, but was hurt in the 1st game. He is questionable this week.

  • Receptions: 4
  • Receiving Yards: 60
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

*Denotes Starter

 

DEFENSE (Base 4-3)

The Chargers defense hasn’t played as well as they did last season. Heading into this week, they are hurting majorly with S Nasir Adderley and DE Melvin Ingram either missing the game or playing while hurt.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Placekicker

Ty Long

  • Extra Points: 9-9
  • FG: 7-9
  • 0-19: 0-0 / 20-29: 0-0 / 30-39: 2-3 / 40-49: 4-5 / 50+: 1-1
  • Long: 51

LA Chargers Injury Report (10/11/19)

  • Out: None
  • Doubtful: S Nasir Adderley (Hamstring), K Michael Badgley (Right Groin), RB Justin Jackson (Calf)
  • Questionable: DE Melvin Ingram (Hamstring), TE Hunter Henry (Knee)

 

______________________________________

OFFENSIVE STATS

Total yards per game 

  • Pittsburgh: 287
  • LA Chargers: 384.2

Passing yards per game

  • Pittsburgh: 220
  • LA Chargers: 294.4

Rushing yards per game

  • Pittsburgh: 67
  • LA Chargers: 89.8

Points per game

  • Pittsburgh: 19.8
  • LA Chargers: 20.6

 

DEFENSIVE STATS

Total Yards per game allowed

  • Pittsburgh: 355.6
  • LA Chargers: 334.8

Passing Yards per game allowed

  • Pittsburgh: 229.8
  • LA Chargers: 215

Rushing Yards per game allowed

  • Pittsburgh: 125.8
  • LA Chargers: 119.8

Points Allowed

  • Pittsburgh: 22.8
  • LA Chargers: 18.8

Extra Defensive Stats

Pittsburgh

  • Sacks: 19
  • Interceptions: 6
  • Fumbles: 4

LA Chargers

  • Sacks: 12
  • Interceptions: 4
  • Fumbles: 3

Author Profile

Mike DrakulichYour source for Pittsburgh sports!
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.

There's nowhere on earth that is more dedicated to its sports teams like Western Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh. The passion and pride of Pittsburgh's fan base is second to no one. From the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA football and basketball, to W.P.I.A.L. high school sports, "The City of Champions" has it all!

As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides top notch opinions and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers football & basketball, Robert Morris Colonials basketball, and Duquesne Dukes basketball, as well as all sports teams that represent Western Pennsylvania, including WPIAL High School Football.

For a refreshing view of sports, mixed with humor and uncensored opinions, check out Pittsburgh SportsNation today on Facebook, Twitter @SportsNationPGH and videos with over 1,000,000 views on YouTube!
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

To Top
%d bloggers like this: