The Chargers blew halftime leads in their first two losses. They fell too far behind at halftime in their two most recent losses.
They trailed the Broncos 17-0 at intermission last week before losing 20-13. On Sunday night, the Chargers were down 21-0 at halftime.
Los Angeles rallied in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late.
They lost to the Steelers 24-17.
The Steelers moved to 2-4 on the season, two games behind the Ravens in the AFC North. The Chargers fell to 2-4, two games behind the Chiefs in the AFC West.
Steelers third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges, making his first career start, threw only 20 passes and passed for only 132 yards. It was enough, with the Steelers rushing for 124 yards and forcing three turnovers, including one they returned for a touchdown.
The Chargers scored all 17 of their points in the fourth quarter as Chase McLaughlin kicked a 38-yard field goal and Hunter Henry caught touchdown passes of 5 and 11 yards from Philip Rivers. Henry finished with eight catches for 100 yards.
Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton recovered the Chargers’ onside kick with 1:28 left, but the Chargers got one last chance.
The Chargers were left with no timeouts and 1:03 to go 99 yards, and Sutton ended it with an interception.
Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:
1. It doesn’t take a franchise quarterback to win. At least in the short term.
Hodges got lots of help from his friends in moving his career record to 1-0. He became only the second Steelers quarterback since 1990 to win his first start, joining Roethlisberger.
2. Kickers matter.
The Chargers are on their third kicker of the season. They need Michael Badgley back.
Badgley, who made 15-of-16 field goals in 10 games last season, has not played this season because of a right groin injury. Punter Ty Long pulled double duty in the first four games, making 7-of-9 field goals.
McLaughlin made 2-of-3 tries last week against the Broncos. He clanked a 43-yard try off the left upright with 32 seconds remaining in the first half.
With the Chargers trailing 24-0, McLaughlin hit a 38-yarder.
3. The 2019 Chargers aren’t the 2018 Chargers.
The Chargers had Melvin Gordon holdout for 64 days. They have lost center Mike Pouncey (neck), left tackle Russell Okung (pulmonary embolism caused by blood clots), defensive end Melvin Ingram (hamstring), Henry (knee), safety Adrian Phillips (arm) and safety Derwin James (foot), among others, miss time. The Chargers have 11 players on some sort of reserve list.
The Chargers began last season 7-2 on their way to a 12-4 record. They already have four losses this season.
4. Devin Bush is a star in the making.
Everyone got a chance to see why the Steelers moved up in the 2019 draft to select the Michigan product 10th overall. Bush, 21, entered Sunday night with 45 tackles, three fumble recoveries, an interception and two pass breakups.
He made seven tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery, a touchdown and a pass breakup against the Chargers.
Bush limped off the field after rolling his ankle in the first half but returned for the second half. He did draw a taunting penalty in the third quarter.
5. Melvin Gordon has yet to play a big role for the Chargers.
Gordon played 32 snaps in his 2019 debut last week, getting 16 touches for 38 yards. Chargers coach Anthony Lynn expected to use him more this week, but after the Chargers fell behind early, they have to play catch-up.
Gordon ended up with eight carries for 18 yards and three catches for 30 yards.