October 14, 2019 / 3:36 AM / a month ago

Banged-up Steelers beat Chargers on Sunday night

EditorsNote: Fixed “Chargers” in 14th graf, additional minor edits

Oct 13, 2019; Carson, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers fan Frank Higgenbotham looks through binoculars before a game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

James Conner scored one touchdown on the ground and another through the air Sunday night as the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers tripped up the Los Angeles Chargers 24-17 in Carson, Calif.

Both teams are 2-4.

Steelers quarterback Devlin “Duck” Hodges, an undrafted rookie third-stringer making his first career start because of injuries to Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph, was 15 of 20 passing for 132 yards, the scoring pass to Conner and an interception. Conner finished with 41 yards rushing, 78 receiving.

Rookie linebacker Devin Bush scored on a fumble return and snagged an interception for Pittsburgh.

Los Angeles’ Philip Rivers, under pressure constantly, was 26 of 44 for 320 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Hunter Henry, who had 100 yards on eight receptions, caught both touchdowns.

Pittsburgh defensive end Stephon Tuitt left in the first half because of a pectoral injury.

Los Angeles was driving in the first quarter when, on third down, Rivers threw a slightly backward pass that went off the outstretched hands of Melvin Gordon. Bush pounced on the ball and ran it nine yards to the end zone for a 7-0 lead.

The Steelers defense struck again right away when, four plays later, Tyson Alualu tipped a Rivers pass and Bush intercepted it and returned it six yards to the Chargers’ 40. The ensuing seven-play, 40-yard drive culminated with Conner following a Vance McDonald block 12 yards into the end zone for a 14-0 lead less than 11 minutes into the game.

On a third-and-8 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter, Hodges found Conner at the right sideline, and Conner trotted 26 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead.

The Chargers missed a chance to get on the board when Chase McLaughlin’s 43-yard field-goal attempt with less than a minute left in the first half bonked off the left upright.

Pittsburgh’s first drive of the third quarter ended with Chris Boswell kicking a 20-yard field goal to make it 24-0 with 8:12 left in the quarter.

McLaughlin got another chance one minute into the fourth quarter and hit a 38-yarder.

Los Angeles executed touchdown drives on the following two drives, going 70 yards on 10 plays with Rivers hitting Henry for a 5-yard score to make it 24-10, and 79 yards on eight plays with Rivers hitting Henry for an 11-yard score with 1:29 left.

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The Chargers then forced a Steelers punt and had the ball with a minute left, but at their own 1-yard line.

After an incomplete pass, Rivers was intercepted by Cameron Sutton to end Los Angeles’ hopes.

—Field Level Media

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