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Three Takeaways: How Did "Finishing As A Team" Propel the Chargers to Victory Over the Steelers?

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Here's what Brandon Staley, Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, Derwin James, and Mike Williams had to say following Sunday's win over Pittsburgh.

A 'wild ride' finish in fourth quarter

The Chargers improved to 6-4 on the season after they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 41-37, in a thrilling Sunday Night Football matchup. The win didn't come easy though, as 41 total points were scored in the fourth quarter between the two teams, and the Chargers held off a 14-point comeback from the Steelers.

After the game, head coach Brandon Staley talked about why he's the proudest he's been of this team the entire year.

"Our guys were ready for a fight today," Staley said. "I know how the game expressed itself in that fourth quarter and it turned into a wild ride. We were ready for it because we've played nine games before today where we've been preparing for a fourth quarter like that. When the fourth quarter happened the way it did, our guys stayed connected [and] we played our best at the end. We finished the game on our terms and I can't say enough about our players and coaches because that's as good of a win as we've had."

Staley explained that the defense 'played with a warrior spirit,' especially with guys stepping up in place of starting defensive linemen.

Safety Derwin James talked about how the defense was able to stay calm and get stops in a 'must-win game' for the Chargers.

"I felt like we finished as a team," James said. "It didn't always go as we scripted it, but they battled back, they got some momentum and we put the fire out. We got the job done, we got the win … We knew our offense was going to go down and score, so we just knew that were going to have the chance to go back out there and win the game."

After the Steelers kicked a field goal to go up 37-34, the Chargers had 3:24 left on the clock to respond and they did so in a big way.

Postgame, Justin Herbert recalled that in the huddle he told Mike Williams to be ready on a playcall that Herbert thought would work well for his receiver. Herbert delivered a pass to Williams and his receiver took it to the house for the 53-yard game-winning catch-and-run touchdown.

When Williams got the ball in his hands all he was thinking was 'nobody was going to stop me' as he raced for six points.

Williams talked about how important this win was for the Bolts this year.

"That was huge for this team," Williams said. "Just to be in a hard-fought game like that coming down to the end and to get a [win,] I feel like that's big for this team. It took the whole team on both sides, and we got it done."

Herbert on the run

In Justin Herbert's 25th career start, he became the first NFL quarterback to throw for 350+ yards and rush for 90 yards in a game. Herbert ended the night with 382 passing yards but what stood out were the yards he amassed on the ground.

After the game, Herbert explained that what he saw from the Steelers defense during the game led to his high number of rushing yards.

"You've just got to convert," Herbert said. "Whether it's by the ground or through the air, if there are open rush lanes and guys are getting covered and no one's playing defense on the quarterback, you have to kind of step up and find a way to get through the line. I thought the line did a great job of protecting me and making sure those lanes were wide enough to run through."

Staley talked about the football instincts that Herbert put on display on Sunday night and the added element that Herbert's mobility gave the Bolts offense.

"He's got real instincts at the game for the position," Staley said of Herbert. "His legs today really helped us win that football game … The way that they were playing the game [dictated him running.] He knows when there's daylight and he ran to it. What that does, is it forces the defense to change and that's a good thing. They can't play those coverages vs. us. And if they do, they better account for him."

From a defensive perspective, James saw how Herbert was able to have so much success on the ground.

"Justin [was] looking good today!" James said. "Every time he ran, I was like, 'Go, Justin, go!' I was proud of him. He saw that they were playing a lot of man [coverage] with their backs to the ball. He has the ability to do that. He's fast, he's athletic, and that's what I say I love our offense."

Four for Ekeler

Austin Ekeler showed his ability to be a complete running back on national TV with four total touchdowns (two rushing and two receiving) and 115 total yards on the night.

Ekeler emphasized how important practice is when it comes to winning close games like theirs on Sunday, and how he was able to have so much success against the Steelers.

"It came down to getting an opportunity to make some plays," Ekeler said. "You don't always get a night where you have an opportunity to score four touchdowns, but tonight I did have the opportunity and was able to come through."

Herbert talked about how special it was to have that type of performance from the Bolts running back and how important it is to find ways to get Ekeler the ball.

"To be able to do that in the NFL, it's not easy," Herbert said. "For him, we know how special and how gifted he is, we see it during practice all week. Just giving him the opportunity to make someone miss is a great option for us. We've done such a great job of getting him the ball and finding ways to get him the ball because something good will happen."

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