LA Chargers News

Injuries, improvement, and impact: How Chargers match up against the Steelers

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 02: Justin Jackson #32 of the Los Angeles Chargers signals a first down in the second half during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 2, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 02: Justin Jackson #32 of the Los Angeles Chargers signals a first down in the second half during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 2, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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Chargers Opponents’ Injuries

Ben Roethlisberger, Quarterback – Out, IR (Elbow)

Mason Rudolph, Quarterback – Out (Concussion)

Unless you have completely missed the start of the NFL season, you are well aware that  Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending injury earlier in the year, and he has left the Steelers offense in the hands of Rudolph.

With Rudolph, the Steelers have become a run-heavy team that almost exclusively only has a short-passing game. The Steelers do not appear ready to let Rudolph throw down the field, and it has made a major impact on their offense.

Rudolph has now been ruled out, but the Steelers will likely employ a similar offense with Devlin Hodges. Their dink-and-dunk offense will be a huge advantage for the Chargers, as the Bolts’ poor safety play could be masked by the lack of a downfield passing attack.

Jaylen Samuels, Running Back – Out (Knee)

Roosevelt Nix, Fullback – Out (Knee)

Samuels and Nix appear unlikely to play against the Chargers after missing several practices this week. Nix’s loss is relatively unimportant (as fullbacks have become in recent years), but Samuels has taken on a more important role with the Steelers in recent weeks, especially with his play in the wildcat formation. Without Samuels, the Steelers may become more one-dimensional, as they will lean more on the shoulders of James Conner.

James Washington, Wide Receiver – Out (Shoulder)

Without Antonio Brown, many expected Washington to step up as the next Steelers starting receiver, but he has had very limited production this season. Without Washington, the Steelers gameplan should not change much, as Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson will be their leading receivers.

Vance McDonald, Tight End – No injury designation (Shoulder)

Vance McDonald is a highly talented but frequently injured player. His injury could allow the Chargers to use their beefier but slower linebackers (Thomas Davis and Denzel Perryman) more frequently in an effort to stop the Steelers running game.

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