2019 Game 6: (1-4) Steelers at (2-3) Chargers

The Steelers will start Devlin Hodges tonight against the Los Angeles Chargers. For the second time in three weeks, the Steelers offense will find itself being led by a quarterback making his debut as a starter.

I’m sure that Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges will give a good account of himself. His baptism of fire against the Ravens last week saw him complete 7 of his 9 pass attempts from 26 snaps.

On his first series, Hodges led his team on a 47-yard drive that resulted in a James Conner touchdown that put Pittsburgh in front. Later, his run of 21 yards for a first down showed his versatility. The undrafted rookie has shown confidence that should make his debut a memorable one for Steeler Nation.

Even if Rudolph Mason is out of the concussion protocol, there are good reasons why the Steelers decided he would not start. With the bye next week, it’ll provide him with another week to recover. In addition, Rudolph hasn’t taken all the snaps during practice. Training has centred around Delvin Hodges so let’s see what the ‘Duck’ can manufacture.

The Chargers are 6-8 at home against the Steelers, but Mike Tomlin’s teams are 1-6 on the West Coast. Those are the only bad stats that detract from a Pittsburgh win, but history is made to be broken and tonight the Steelers can fly back with a win.

The offense and defense need to help each other out. That’s an obvious statement to make but the Steelers must ensure they complement each other to achieve the win. The offense needs to establish the running game early. Without the option of Jaylen Samuels, James Conner will have to shoulder more work while Benny Snell should share the burden.

Last week, the Steelers defense limited the Ravens to 277 total yards and 3.8 yards/play. They are quite capable of putting in a repeat performance if the offense plays its part by staying on the field to allow the defense time to rest.

Los Angeles are coming off a 20-13 loss to the previously winless Denver Broncos. The Chargers could only manage 35 yards rushing and they weren’t helped by the return of Melvin Gordon who missed the previous four games due to a contract dispute.

After the game, Gordon admitted it was a tough adjustment returning this late (in the season) to refine the sort of small details that typically are ironed out during training camp practices and preseason games.

Los Angeles poor offensive line hasn’t helped their running game while they make little use of the tight ends. From a Steelers point of view this should vogue well for a defense that is becoming stronger as the season progresses.

Late injury news saw Steve Nelson not travelling with Bud Dupree filling his role.

Chargers game notes

NFL game capsule