Winners And Losers From The Chargers Week 11 Victory Against The Steelers
Sometimes you just have to absolutely marvel at the randomness of football. Outside of having a missed field goal, this Week 11 matchup had every classic Chargers troupe you could imagine. This is the type of game that makes you nauseous when you’re trying to figure out if you’re a real Super Bowl contender or not. The Chargers were up almost two touchdowns for the majority of the game and barely squeezed out a four-point win.
The Chargers’ offense was awesome for most of the day, and when they click on all levels looks like the best offense in the NFL. The Chargers got it done offensively on all three levels finding success in the run game, with the deep ball, and through the short passing game. Their offensive performance was a ton of fun to watch, as you really never knew what they were going to throw at you.
Their defense and special teams on the other hand…left something to be desired. A ton of penalties through each drive, a bonkers interception, secondary getting torched, a blocked punt, and all of a sudden a two-touchdown lead wasn’t safe anymore. But hey, at least the run defense held up! Let’s take a look at who the winners and losers were from the Chargers Week 11 victory against the Steelers.
Ekeler was Sunday’s golden child, and there’s not much else to say about it. He was the best player on both sides of the ball, on both teams in Week 11. To start off, he scored a whopping FOUR touchdowns in the ball game. Two in the ground, and two in the air. But not only that, he just really had a spectacular game. I’ve long said that Ekeler is the engine that makes the Chargers go, and he had it all working in this game. He was making plays in the short passing game, he was slashing through big holes, and yards after contact were truly special. The way he wiggled away from about fifteen defenders this game is what makes him so different. It’s just about whether or not he shows up that week or not, and this week he dominated the entire offensive gameplan.
Herbie is fully loaded. Herbert is one of the best quarterbacks in the entire league, and his performance Sunday was absolutely insane. Let’s move on quickly from that silly interception. Cameron Heyward just throws his hands up and tips the ball, and Cameron Sutton flies out of nowhere to snag it down. That play isn’t getting made the next 99 out of 100 attempts. Herbert found his tight ends and Ekeler in the short passing game. He worked the ultimate Swiss Army Knife, Keenan Allen to perfection. He found Mike Williams for big plays, not to mention the game-winning touchdown. The play-action was working all game because Ekeler was a threat. Most of all though, Herbert absolutely gashed the Steelers on the ground. Ten carries for 90 yards, meant Herbert was not only keeping drives alive, but he was making big plays with his legs. It was almost a shame he didn’t get the QB sneak call on the 4th and inches. Herbert was so much fun to watch, prime-time games really bring out the best in him.
Bosa was all over the field on Sunday and basically sealed the game up with his big second-down sack on the last Steelers offensive possession. He received the best grade for the entire defense on the day by far with an 83. He only had the two tackles on the day but made up for it by being in Big Ben’s face all game long. It felt like every time a play was being made Bosa was not far away from the action. He accounted for an insane four hurries, two hits, and a sack. He even randomly held his own in pass coverage on two separate occasions. Bosa had half the pressure for the entire defensive line generated on the quarterback. That is a superstar-level performance.
It’s kind of hard to pin down what cost the Chargers their peace of mind in this game. The bizarre interception and the blocked punt obviously were important. There was even the 4th down that Ekeler got stuffed. All these seemingly random plays allowed the Steelers to get back in the game. But the reason the Steelers were never out of the game was that the Chargers’ secondary got diced up. Ben Roethlisberger threw for a little less than 300 yards on the day, but almost 80% of the yards the Chargers secondary gave up were from three players. That’s it. 20 points worth of damage came because they were slowly allowed to chip away with field goals that they earned by consistently finding Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool for big gains. Almost all of Johnson’s damage came against Michael Davis, especially his late-game 32-yard haul. Claypool was used a lot like we are used to seeing Williams in Los Angeles, which is in the deep ball role, and even though it was only a handful of catches, every time they needed a big play he was there. His responsibility then fell to the third culprit of the secondary, Asante Samuel Jr. It’s hard to knock the secondary, they’ve been solid all year. But they’ve shown holes at times too. The random plays are going to happen from time to time, so it’s going to be imperative to limit the small cuts they suffered in this game. Penalties and big plays down the middle of the field.