The following are the highlights and lowlights from the Steelers’ 24-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night at Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles:
Play of the game: Four minutes into the game, Steelers linebacker Devin Bush scooped up a fumble on a backward pass from Philip Rivers to Melvin Gordon and returned it 9 yards for a touchdown to give the Steelers a 7-0 lead and the early momentum.
Offensive player of the game: Steelers running back James Conner ran for 41 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and caught seven passes for 78 yards and a score.
Defensive player of the game: In addition to the fumble return, Bush led the Steelers with seven tackles and set up another touchdown with an interception off a Tyson Alualu tipped pass.
Most telling statistic: The Chargers managed just 32 yards rushing to the Steelers’ 124.
Hidden statistic: Steelers receivers and tight ends caught seven passes for just 40 yards, a 5.7 yards-per-catch average.
Best run: Pittsburgh rookie Benny Snell ripped off a 20-yarder midway through the fourth quarter.
Best pass: It looked as though Rivers was headed for a big game when he found tight end Hunter Henry in a soft spot in the Steelers’ zone on the first offensive play of the game. It went for 19 yards.
Worst pass: Steelers rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges helped spark a Chargers comeback by throwing deep with a 24-3 lead, and the pass intended for Johnny Holton was picked off by Los Angeles’ Rayshawn Jenkins.
Best catch: Pittsburgh receiver Donte Moncrief made a rare appearance and made a nice snag near the sideline for an 11-yard pickup and a first down in the third quarter.
Dropped pass: The Chargers’ Mike Williams missed a deep throw in the second quarter.
Best block: Steelers tight end Vance McDonald sprung Conner for a 12-yard touchdown run in the first quarter by sealing the defensive end and taking out the safety.
Missed block: Los Angeles’ offensive line had a tough night. One example was when Michael Schofield allowed Steelers nose tackle Dan McCullers to hurry a Rivers throw in the second quarter.
Best tackle: Steelers linebacker Vince Williams stopped Gordon in his tracks for a 1-yard gain in the first quarter.
Best hit: On the Chargers’ first possession, Pittsburgh’s Bud Dupree took down Gordon for a 1-yard loss.
Missed tackle: On a 26-yard Hodges-to-Conner touchdown pass in the second quarter, Conner shrugged off Los Angeles linebacker Jatavis Brown.
Best kick: The Steelers’ Jordan Berry, with the help of Holton, pinned the Chargers at their own 1-yard line with one minute remaining and no timeouts.
Worst kick: Los Angeles’ Chase McLaughlin banged a 43-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter off the left upright.
Best coverage: Pittsburgh’s Cameron Sutton knocked away a couple of passes to the much taller Williams in the fourth quarter — one in the end zone.
Worst coverage: The Steelers allowed Chargers tight ends to find open spots in the middle of the field in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh defensive back Kam Kelly didn’t provide much defense on an 11-yard Henry touchdown catch late in the game.
Worst penalty: Chargers linebacker Thomas Davis hit a defenseless Diontae Johnson in the third quarter and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. It helped lead to a Steelers field goal.
Best call: Except for the one deep throw, the Steelers kept Hodges from making too many mistakes by designing many short tosses to the running backs.
Worst call: Down 24-0 in the fourth quarter, the Chargers remained three scores down by kicking a field goal.
Best effort: Sutton sealed the victory with an interception with 41 seconds left in the game, and he also made a nice catch on an onside kick in which he landed on his head.
Best in defeat: Henry caught eight passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Unsung hero: Berry’s 59-yard punt with a fair catch three minutes into the game flipped the field position and helped set the table for Bush’s fumble return.