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10 Insights: SNF to Feature Two of NFL's Top Dual-Threat Backs


Below are 10 quick-hitting insights ahead of the Chargers' Week 11 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers:

1) The Chargers' last win on "Sunday Night Football" came on Dec. 2, 2018 on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Down 23-7 at the half, Los Angeles scored 23 unanswered before winning 33-30 on a 29-yard Michael Badgley field goal as time expired in regulation.

2) In that game, wide receiver Keenan Allen caught 14 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown. He was targeted a career-high 19 times. Since then, Justin Herbert targeted Allen 19 times each in two games last season.

3) The Chargers have played the Steelers each of the last three times they've been on "Sunday Night Football." Should Mason Rudolph start under center, it will be the third different Pittsburgh quarterback the team has faced in those matchups (Ben Roethlisberger, 2018; Devlin Hodges, 2019).

4) Los Angeles is undefeated this season when Justin Herbert has a passer rating of 100-plus, per NFL Media Research. The team is 1-4 when his passer rating is under 100.

5) According to Next Gen Stats, Herbert has three touchdowns and zero interceptions on deep passes this year, the best ratio in the NFL. The average target separation of his receivers is 2.8 yards, second in the NFL.

6) Guard Matt Feiler spent five seasons with the Steelers – appearing in 50 games – before signing with Los Angeles this offseason. Feiler has started all nine games in 2021, playing 100 percent of L.A.'s offensive snaps.

7) Four former Chargers will return to L.A. this Sunday: Fullback Derek Watt played in all 64 regular-season games during his four seasons with the team; running back Kalen Ballage had 290 rushing yards and three touchdowns in 2020, his lone season with the team; guard Trai Turner started nine games for L.A. last season; and tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts was the Chargers' running backs coach from 2017-2019, and the tight ends coach in 2020.

8) Two of the best dual-threat running backs in the NFL will share the field Sunday night. Among RBs, Austin Ekeler is tied for third in receptions and fourth in receiving yards, scrimmage yards and scrimmage touchdowns, per NFL Media Research. Pittsburgh rookie Najee Harris is second in receptions, fifth in receiving yards and third in scrimmage yards entering Week 11.

9) Per Chargers Communications: "Chargers Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Frank Smith and Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger were teammates at Miami (Ohio) from 2000-03. The pair of co-captains helped lead the RedHawks to a Mid-American Conference title as seniors in 2003, finishing the season ranked No. 10 nationally in the AP poll."

10) Seven of Los Angeles' nine games this season have been decided by seven points or less. A win Sunday night will improve the Chargers' record to 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the conference. A Chiefs loss to the Cowboys coupled with a Chargers win will put L.A. back atop the AFC West.

*Stats and information courtesy of Pro Football Reference and Chargers Communications unless otherwise noted.

Check out the best photos from the Chargers Thursday practice at Hoag Performance Center.

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