PIT-SD: Le’Veon Bell delivers game-winner as time expires

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Steelers’ 24-20 MNF victory over the Chargers.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

PIT-SD: Le’Veon Bell delivers game-winner as time expires

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Steelers’ 24-20 victory over the Chargers:

San Diego Chargers

– After an inconsistent start to the season, Philip Rivers (+1.3) has bounced back in the last two games, capitalizing on the return to the line of Antonio Gates (+3.5) who he hooked up with early and often. Rivers collected a lot of his passing yards on short targets (272/365) but he was on point with some accurate intermediate (three-for-five, 37 yards, two touchdowns, one interception) and deep (two-for-three, 56 yards) passing when he was did raise his aim from the short passing that was his staple for much of the night.

– A strong, but shortened, rookie season has not led to immediate success in 2015 for cornerback Jason Verrett (+0.5), who turned in an impressive game in coverage this week, though his run defense still needs improvement. After losing Antonio Brown on a crossing route early on, Verrett was targeted only four more times on the night, surrendering a solitary completion for 4 yards, while breaking up a pass to earn a +2.3 coverage grade for the game.

– While Verrett held Antonio Brown (+1.1) largely in check, the same could not be said for Brandon Flowers (-2.5) on the other side, who was lit up for 138 yards by a trio of Steelers receivers. That represents Flowers’ highest yardage total allowed in a single game since Week 2 of the 2013 season against Dallas, when he played for the Chiefs. Flowers gave up the play that arguably swung the momentum for Pittsburgh, getting burned (in spite of attempting to hold Markus Wheaton) on a double move to surrender a 72-yard touchdown immediately after Rivers and Gates had set the Chargers up with a two-score lead midway through the fourth quarter.

Top performers:

TE Antonio Gates (+3.5)

OLB Jerry Attaochu (+2.2)

HB Danny Woodhead (+1.5)

QB Philip Rivers (+1.3)

TE Ladarius Green (+1.3)


Pittsburgh Steelers

– There is no hotter player in football over the last two weeks than Cameron Heyward who turned in the best single game grade of his career (+9.8), bettering the +7.5 mark he set only last week against the Ravens. Injuries forced the Chargers to shuffle their offensive line, and playing at left guard, San Diego’s reserve centers Chris Watt (-5.4) and J.D. Walton (-3.9) simply weren’t cut out to cope with Heyward’s power as a pass rusher, in particular, where he racked up 11 pressures (two hits, nine hurries).

– Very few backs in the NFL have a comparable running style to Le’Veon Bell (+3.1), and he put his rare blend of power, balance and speed to good use in a 100-yard game that he capped off with a game winning score as time expired. Bell forced five missed tackles, but saved the best until last, somehow weaving and contorting through traffic to extend the ball over the goal-line for the game winning score as time expired to bring the Steelers back above .500 for the season.

– Dropping to a two-score deficit proved to be a turning point for Michael Vick (-3.5), who can be thankful that the game wasn’t further out of reach by then. Prior to the Chargers’ second touchdown, Vick had been the beneficiary of three dropped interceptions in an erratic performance. After he hit Markus Wheaton (+1.3) streaking downfield away from Brandon Flowers on the very next play from scrimmage however, Vick played his own part in the Steelers’ turnaround. Well placed throws and a trademark scramble on the game winning drive helped put Pittsburgh in position for Bell’s game-winning heroics.

Top performers:

DE Cameron Heyward (+9.8)

OLB James Harrison (+5.2)

LT Kelvin Beachum (+4.6)

HB Le’Veon Bell (+3.1)

RG David DeCastro (+2.5)

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • Jay V Of Considerable Influenc

    “Dropping to a two-score deficit proved to be a turning point for Michael Vick”
    At no point in the game were the Steelers ever down 2 scores.

    • Izach

      Right that’s what inward hi kin haha

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      were down ten in the 4th quarter…

      • Jay V Of Considerable Influenc

        False. Pitt led 10-7. SD tied it, then went up 17-10. Pitt tied it. SD went up 20-17. Then Pitt won

        • Kelly Martin

          Here is something to pay attention , a great opportunity for work for those who want to use their free time to make money using their computers… I have been doing this since last two years and I am making 40 to 70 dollars per hour … In the last week I have made 12,245 for almost 18 hours sitting ….

          ?There are no special skills required just basic typing and an internet connection ….

          ?There are no time constraints … You may do this any time when you are free ….

          ?Here is what I’ve been doing….

          < ->>w­w­w­.­y­o­u­c­a­n­a­l­s­o­c­h­a­n­g­e­y­o­u­r­f­a­t­e­l­i­k­e­o­t­h­e­r­s­a­r­e­.­b­l­o­g­s­p­o­t­.­c­o­m >


      • Jay V Of Considerable Influenc

        But thanks for jumping in with an incorrect statement.

        • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

          you’re welcome

  • Sam Doohan

    Vick really did look dreadful for most of last night. It seemed like every throw was either poorly thrown or a poor decision or both. Before that 4th quarter throw for the TD he had 87 yards. Maybe it is just play calling and when Vick actually gets the chance to run something he’s comfortable with he’ll do better but whatever it is the coaches need to figure it out and make sure he’s doing that.

    I’m happy to see my Steelers win, keeping alive hopes of a wildcard run once Ben comes back, but man I am not looking forward to next week against a really good defense. Getting cute with the Wildcat isn’t going to cut it and I really doubt the game will stay close with the Cards offense on the field. Whatever it is; maybe just staying in hurry up mode all game long, if Vick looks like he did on those two drives then at least the Steelers should acquit themselves well but I am not confident at all.

    • Izach

      I actually don’t think the cards are as tough as they’ve looked, I do think it’ll be harder with Ben out and Vick playing so erratically. But in truth I think we can run on them pretty well and take advantage of their LBs with bell, their safeties and CBs Could be trouble if we don’t establish the run and are forced to pass too much, but I feel if we force the run so much they have to commit to it we can get a few passes like the Heath Miller passes and Wheatons early in game and if Vick can work on the short stuff brown can dominate any CB in the league with YAC. Have to avoid the off target throws tho card DBs won’t drop as many INTs as chargers