The Steelers were 1-4 and facing the Chargers on the road with their third-string quarterback when they turned their season around.
Devlin Hodges led them to a win in that game, Mason Rudolph returned to the lineup after their Week Seven bye and the defense has made sure things keep on rolling. The Steelers forced seven turnovers in wins over the Dolphins and Colts to even their record and the defense came up big again on Sunday.
Minkah Fitzpatrick returned a Jared Goff fumble 43 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter and intercepted a pass that was deflected by Joe Haden with less than 30 seconds to go to ice the 17-12 win. The win leaves the Steelers with a 5-4 record and a four-game winning streak as they prepare to play in Cleveland in Week 11.
Haden also picked Goff off earlier in the game — another interception came when Johnny Hekker tried a pass on a fake punt — and the Steelers sacked him four times on the way to the win. T.J. Watt had two of the sacks while Fitzpatrick now has five interceptions, two fumble recoveries and two touchdowns since joining the Steelers in a September 16 trade.
Goff was 22-of-41 for 243 yards overall and Cooper Kupp was held without a catch as the Rams offense took a big step backward by producing three points after improved pre-bye results against the Falcons and Bengals. The Steelers represented stiffer defensive opposition and things don’t get much easier with the Bears and Ravens on deck the next two weeks.
Rudolph was 22-of-38 for 242 yards and a touchdown to James Washington that tied the score in the first half of the game. He was sacked three times, including once for a safety by Aaron Donald, but came up big with two third-down conversion throws and another on a fourth down in his own territory on an eight-minute fourth-quarter drive that ended with a field goal.
Going for it on fourth down from that spot with a two-point lead showed head coach Mike Tomlin has faith in his quarterback along with faith in a defense that answered the call once again on Sunday.