The Los Angeles Chargers scored 26 second-half points to shock the Pittsburgh Steelers 33-30 Sunday night at Heinz Field.
Kicker Michael Badgley kicked a game-winning, 29-yard field goal with no time remaining. The Chargers are now 9-3 and have won eight of their last nine games.
Philip Rivers went 26-of-36 for 299 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Keenan Allen caught 14 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown, but contributions came from up and down the roster.
After trailing 23-7 at halftime, rookie running back Justin Jackson had 82 total yards and a touchdown, all in the second half. With a knack for the big play, cornerback Desmond King scored a second-half touchdown on a 73-yard punt return.
The Chargers opened the game with a promising drive that included three catches from Allen for 42 yards. On a fourth-and-one from Pittsburgh’s 34-yard line, Badgley attempted a 52-yard field goal that was no good.
Starting at its own 42-yard line, Pittsburgh needed just four plays to get on the board. A 46-yard reception by Antonio Brown set up a one-yard touchdown rush by James Conner to give the Steelers an early 7-0 lead.
Los Angeles went three-and-out on its next possession, which set the Steelers up at the Chargers’ 48-yard line. A six-play drive ended the same way their first did: a one-yard touchdown rush by Conner. A missed extra point made the score 13-0 Pittsburgh after one quarter.
Browse through the top game action photos from Sunday Night Football as the Bolts take on the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field for Week 13.
Needing points in a hurry, Rivers went deep and found wide receiver Travis Benjamin, who raced down the right sideline for a 46-yard touchdown reception. For Benjamin, it was his first touchdown since Week 17 of last season. Pittsburgh led 13-7 after one quarter.
With Pittsburgh threatening to score on its third straight possession, Chargers rookie safety Derwin James picked off Ben Roethlisberger at Los Angeles’ eight-yard line. It was James’ third interception of the season, and second in as many games. His 36-yard return was negated by an illegal block penalty, though, and Los Angeles was eventually forced to punt.
Pittsburgh scored the only ten points of the second quarter, including a 28-yard touchdown reception by Brown to make the score 23-7 at halftime. It was just the second time this season that Los Angeles was outscored in the second quarter.
The Chargers used a 13-play, 88-yard drive in the third quarter to cut into Pittsburgh’s lead. In what in real time looked to be a Rivers interception in the end zone by Steelers cornerback Joe Haden turned into Haden colliding with teammate safety Sean Davis. The ball bounced off Haden and into the arms of Allen for a nine-yard touchdown. Rivers found Gates for the two-point conversion, which made the score 23-15.
A holding penalty coupled with a Joey Bosa sack of Roethlisberger forced Pittsburgh to punt on its next possession, which led to King's game-tying punt return touchdown.
Los Angeles forced the Steelers into another three-and-out on their next possession. With an opportunity to take the lead, the Bolts leaned on their rookie ball carrier. Jackson had an 18-yard rush, a 19-yard reception and a go-ahead 18-yard rushing touchdown that made the score 30-23 Los Angeles.
The Steelers answered to tie the game with a 10-yard touchdown reception from Roethlisberger to running back Jaylen Samuels, but it was Badgley's field goal that ultimately won it.
The Chargers are back home in Week 14 to face the Cincinnati Bengals. Kickoff from ROKiT Field at StubHub Center is on Sunday, December 9th at 1:05 p.m. (CBS).