INGLEWOOD, Calif. — — Justin Herbert threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams with 2:17 remaining and the Los Angeles Chargers held off the Pittsburgh Steelers 41-37 on Sunday night.
Los Angeles (6-4) had a 27-10 lead going into the fourth quarter before the Steelers (5-4-1) rallied to take a 37-34 lead on Chris Boswell’s 45-yard field goal with 3:24 left. Los Angeles took over at the 25 and scored four plays later when Williams was wide open and went untouched up the left sideline.
“We originally called an out route to Keenan, but the cornerback was covering the flat really hard. Justin told me to be ready. I was open and ran straight to the end zone,” Williams said.
Herbert was 30 of 41 for 382 yards and three touchdowns. He had 90 yards rushing, which is the most by a Chargers quarterback in a game. Keenan Allen had nine receptions for 112 yards, and Williams had 97 yards on five catches.
“We did a great job moving the ball and answering back when we needed to,” Herbert said. “It got a little too close for sure. We had our opportunities to put it away. The defense did a great job coming up with stops and then we put points up on what was a huge day for us.”
Austin Ekeler had a career-high four touchdowns. Ekeler, who had 115 scrimmage yards (65 receiving, 50 rushing), is the ninth player in the Super Bowl era with at least two rushing and two receiving scores in a game.
The Chargers generated 533 yards of offense, their fourth most since 2000. It is also tied for the eighth most that the Steelers have allowed in a game in franchise history.
“I thought we had them,” said Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson, who had seven catches for 101 yards. “But it’s football. Stuff is going to happen, and we didn’t respond like we were supposed to.”
Ben Roethlisberger passed for 273 yards and three touchdowns for Pittsburgh after missing last week’s game against Detroit after testing positive for COVID-19. Najee Harris was held to 39 yards and a TD
Two of Pittsburgh’s scores during its rally came off Chargers’ mistakes. Harris scored on a 1-yard run to get the Steelers to 27-20, four plays after Miles Killebrew blocked Ty Long’s punt and it rolled out of bounds at the LA 3.
Ekeler put the Chargers back up by two scores with his fourth score of the game before the Steelers scored 17 straight points to take the lead. Roethlisberger connected with Eric Ebron for a 5-yard TD to draw them ton 34-27. On the ensuing drive, Cameron Sutton picked off Herbert’s pass intended for Allen and returned it to the 10. Pat Freiermuth tied it three plays later on a 5-yard TD run.
After Williams’ go-ahead score, Pittsburgh took over at the 25. Roethlisberger was sacked twice and the Steelers eventually turned it over on downs at the 3, where the Chargers ran out the final 1:15.
After Pittsburgh took the opening kickoff and scored on Chris Boswell’s 36-yard field goal, Ekeler put Los Angeles on top 7-3 with a 6-yard carry off left tackle.
Ekeler extended the lead to 14-3 with 3:42 remaining in the second quarter with a 10-yard reception on a check-down from Herbert. His best play of the night though came on his third TD, when he took a screen from Herbert, juked Steelers’ cornerback James Pierre, broke a tackle by Terrell Edmunds and then dragged Taco Charlton the last 3 yards into the end zone to make it 24-10 three minutes into the third quarter.
The Steelers were on the verge of taking the lead on their second drive. They had first-and-goal at the 5 and got to the 2 but could not score. Roethlisberger completed a pass to Friermuth on fourth-and-goal but was stopped by Derwin James and Joe Gaziano for no gain.
Steelers: G JC Hassenauer suffered a shoulder injury during the first half and did not return. … CB Maulet was evaluated for a concussion during the fourth quarter.
Chargers: CB Asante Samuel Jr. suffered a concussion during the fourth quarter. … Assistant offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett missed the game due to a non-COVID illness.
Steelers: At Cincinnati on Sunday.
Chargers: At Denver on Sunday.