5. Secondary, aside from Derwin, was burned the first half
The Chargers obviously played better defense in the second half to be able to slow the Steelers down. But for me, it’s hard to ignore the play in the first half. And, it could have been worse.
Antonio Brown burned Casey Hayward for the first half. Michael Davis struggled and got called for a big pass interference early. Justin Hunter snuck behind our defense and just missed a wide open touchdown. Jahleel Addae’s inconsistent play has been a problem this year, and he got passed up or burned on a few plays.
Like I said, the Chargers recovered in the second half and forced issues defensively. But that kind of performance by the secondary in the first half nearly sunk them. And it wasn’t quite as bad as it could have been somehow. They need to get the secondary together these last few games.
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The Chargers improve to 9-3 to inch closer to clinching a playoff berth over the next few weeks, whether that be through the Wild Card or the division. They have strengthened their grasp over the No. 5 seed, up now two games on the Ravens, and three games on all of the teams jammed at 6-6.
I was impressed by the Chargers’ resilience in the second half, and their ability to find a way to get it done without Gordon this game. If the team can fix their early game struggles and some secondary issues, they’ll be in perfect position for a potential playoff run.
The Chargers head back home to L.A. to take on the struggling Cincinnati Bengals, who will be without quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green, both done for the season.
There’s also a lot of noise (once again) about the job security of Marvin Lewis. I expect the Bengals to play their hardest this week, but they’re simply too depleted to take on a playoff team at their best. I don’t think the game will be an Arizona-level blowout, but I don’t expect it to be particularly close.