Chargers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers matchups, start time and how to watch
Breaking down how the Chargers (5-4) and Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3-1) match up heading into their game at 5:20 p.m. PST on Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The game will be shown on NBC (Channel 4).
When Chargers have the ball: Five games into the season, Mike Williams had six touchdown receptions. He still has six. After a blazing start, Williams has slowed considerably — just like the Chargers’ offense. “When he gets it, he produces at a high level,” fellow wide receiver Keenan Allen said. “He scores a lot. Obviously, we haven’t been scoring. It’s probably got to do with Mike not getting the ball.” The Chargers have averaged slightly fewer than 20 points per game while losing three of four. Pittsburgh’s defense ranks eighth in points allowed and ninth against the pass, meaning things might not get much easier for Williams and the rest. Over these last four games, Williams has only 10 receptions for 137 yards, and he picked up 49 of those yards on one play. “I think it’s more just a little bit of randomness as far as the way the defense is playing,” offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said of Williams’ lacking production. “Is he going to have a 10-catch game every week? Probably not. But I do expect those numbers to start creeping up again.” The Steelers will be without pass rusher T.J. Watt (hip/knee) and cornerback Joe Haden (foot) and perhaps safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (COVID-19 list). Looking for renewed offensive life, the Chargers will take whatever breaks come their way.
Former Steeler Robert Golden, who will attend his ex-team’s game against the Chargers, started Golden Charter Academy in Fresno.
When Steelers have the ball: Ben Roethlisberger was activated from the COVID-19 reserve list Saturday and is expected to start, removing one area of uncertainty. There is no such uncertainty at running back. Rookie Najee Harris leads the Steelers with 646 yards rushing, the total ranking sixth league-wide. But Harris averages only 3.7 yards per attempt, and the Chargers — still last in the NFL against the run — have shown marked improvement over the last three games. “You can tell he’s in the weight room constantly,” Chargers defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill said of Harris. “Once you make contact with him, the next opponent is that he’s a wrestler. We’re going to have to wrestle him down to the ground.” Harris has two 100-yard rushing games and one 100-yard receiving game. The Chargers have permitted three 100-yard rushers this season and 100-yard receivers in back-to-back weeks. But they are trending in the right direction, having allowed only 3.8 yards per rush over their last three games. Hill said the defensive coaches have been stressing technique since the team’s off week. With a new scheme, he said some of the Chargers have been reverting to past techniques, leading to some of the breakdowns.
When they kick: Dustin Hopkins is five for five on field goals and six for seven on extra points. He has been one of the most consistent performers in an area where the Chargers continue to struggle, their special teams again ranked among the worst in the NFL. Chris Boswell is 18 for 19 on field goals and 15 for 16 on extra points for Pittsburgh.
Jeff Miller’s prediction: Doesn’t it seem as if “the Chargers should win this game” is the feeling around this team almost every week? Well, that’s the feeling again this week. The Chargers should win this game, which means absolutely nothing once the ball is kicked off.
CHARGERS 27, STEELERS 17
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