The Steelers and Chargers have gone back and forth so far on Sunday, but Los Angeles has a 17-10 lead at halftime.
L.A. running back Austin Ekeler has made it to the end zone twice — once rushing and once receiving — to help the Chargers build their lead. Both of Los Angeles’ scoring drives lasted 12 plays, though the second was 98 yards. The Chargers started at their 2-yard line after their defense stopped a Ben Roethlisberger shovel pass to tight end Pat Freiermuth on fourth-and-goal.
Quarterback Justin Herbert had an outstanding first half, going 15-of-17 passing for 164 yards with a touchdown. He also took four carries for 44 yards, taking advantage of the Steelers’ man coverage downfield.
The Chargers picked up 18 first downs and were 4-of-5 on third down in the first half. With numbers like that, Pittsburgh’s defense is clearly missing edge rusher T.J. Watt, cornerback Joe Haden, and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Watt and Haden are inactive due to injury and Fitzpatrick is on the COVID-19 list.
On the other side, Pittsburgh hasn’t played poorly on offense but didn’t get in the end zone when they needed to. Chris Boswell gave Pittsburgh an early 3-0 lead with a 36-yard field goal. And Roethlisberger hit receiver Diontae Johnson for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 1:09 left in the second quarter.
Roethlisberger finished the first half 11-of-17 passing for 121 yards with a touchdown. Johnson leads the club with five receptions for 64 yards.
The Steelers will have to continue to test their offensive line depth. Left guard JC Hassenauer, who was filling in for injured left guard Kevin Dotson, was ruled out with a shoulder injury. Joe Haeg has come in to replace Hassenauer.