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Steelers Pull Out Miracle Win at the Buzzer; Top Chargers 24-20 in San Diego

at Qualcomm Stadium on October 12, 2015 in San Diego, California.

Call it risky. Call it guts. Whatever you call it – Mike Tomlin’s decision to go for it from the one-foot line with :05 seconds left down three worked Monday night, and because of it the Steelers are 3-2 instead of 2-3.

Le’Veon Bell
went over from a half yard out with the game-winning touchdown and the Steelers pulled out an Improbable 24-20 win in a game it appeared they had no business winning.

The Steelers trailed it 20-17 after Josh Lambo kicked a 54-yard field goal with 2:59 left, but Michael Vick, who was rather awful most of the night, led the team downfield to set up Bell’s chance to win the game.

It looked like Bell was stopped out of the wildcat, but he fought his way to the end zone and reached the ball over the goal line for the winning score as time expired.

The replay was ruled correctly, that the call stood, and the Steelers escaped with a hard fought win.

“I was confident I got it in,” Bell said.

Bell ended with 111 yards on 21 carries with the game winning score.

Vick finished the night going 13-for-26 for 203 yards with a touchdown, and his 24-yard run set the Steelers up inside the Chargers 20 in the final seconds.

The QB then hit Heath Miller to the one-yard line, and a personal foul was called on San Diego for hitting Miller high, which put the ball at the half yard line with five seconds left.

Tomlin said he felt that he would be able to run a play and call a timeout, he was wrong, but luckly he didn’t need it.

“We have to run the football, we have Le’Veon Bell, we had a chance to win the game, we’re in a hostile environment, we had to go for the win,” Tomlin said.

The Steelers defense played a great game considering they gave up a touchdown on the Chargers opening drive, and held them in check till a wild fourth quarter in which 27 total points were scored, 14 for the Steelers and 13 for San Diego.

San Diego held the ball for 33 plus minutes, and at one point in the second half they ran 44 offensive plays, and at that point the Steelers had run 44 plays total.

In the end, it was a gutsy effort from all sides.

The Steelers defense came up with a huge play on third down on San Diego’s final drive, as Lawrence Timmons knocked a Philip Rivers pass down to force a field goal.

From there Vick, who the drive before hit Markus Wheaton with a 72-yard score to tie the game up at 17, went to work, and after two handoffs to Bell to get a first down was able to drive the team downfield for the wild finish.

Rookie kicker Chris Boswell also gets a game ball, as he hit three extra points, and a 47-yard field goal, all while Steelers fans everywhere were holding their breath.

Speaking of which, Steeler Nation took over Qualcomm Stadium, and throughout the night they dominated the crowd, outcheering Chargers fans most of the game.

“I would like to thank Steeler Nation, we get that type of support about every time we go on the road, but it never gets old,” Tomlin said.

The Steelers have another short week, as they will come home Sunday for the

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. DaveB.

    October 13, 2015 at 5:51 am

    It wasnt pretty , but its a win , and at the end of the day thats all that matters . The Steelers need to run the legs off Bell and use Deangelo Hall to spell him when needed . Only use Vick when needed . That formula worked against the Chargers and the Steelers need to continue that strategy until Ben and Martavis return .

  2. DrGeorge

    October 13, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Yes, it was a miracle win and a gutsy call. And any win for Pittsburgh on the West Coast is a cause for celebration. But it was a very ugly game. The Chargers and Steelers both have plenty of defensive problems and inept O-lines. Together, the Chargers and Steelers played a sorry brand of football for three and a half quarters. Still, for the Steelers, being 3-2 is a whole lot better than 2-3, with the Cardinals, Chiefs, and Bengals dead ahead. But having acknowledged all that, it wasn’t a game that inspires much confidence for the future.

    Before that 4th quarter TD toss to Wheaton, Vick’s passing was so inaccurate Gruden suggested on the air that Tomlin consider sending it Landry Jones. Now that’s desperation, even for Chuckie. Over three quarters, Vick threw several ill-advised passes that a good defense would have intercepted. His lack of playing time with the first unit showed, and the fault for that is Tomlin’s. The offensive line wasn’t moving bodies for Bell and Williams either. Bell finished with 111 yards and Williams with 22, but almost all of those yard came off the edge, on pure individual effort. Pittsburgh was down 7-3 at half time, and the red zone looked as far away as Siberia. The 3rd quarter closed with Pittsburgh ahead 10-7, only because of a spectacular interception and TD run by Antwon Blake. Without that TD, the Steelers would have lost the game. Without Vick’s 4th quarter scramble for 24 yards on that last drive, Bell would never have had the chance to score the winning TD. It all makes a nice story for the newspapers, but heroic plays are not a viable long-term offensive strategy.

    Nor should we ignore the defensive realities. In spite of Blake’s interception, Rivers shredded the Pittsburgh secondary for 365 yards, many of those passes going to Antonio Gates for two TDs, a man everyone knew was River’s favorite target and who no one in black and gold seemed able to cover. Butler never put a defender on Gates one-on-one, and the zone defense simply could not deal with him. Worse, passes were consistently completed underneath the dropping linebackers for easy 5-9 yard pick ups. Conceding those short passes kept the D on the field far too long.

    The front seven of the defense deserve praise for both their resilience and their endurance on a very hot and muggy night. Without their constant pressure on Rivers, the secondary would have given up many more points. Butler cannot reasonably expect our defensive front to give that kind of effort consistently to compensate for a weak secondary . He must find a way to cover star receivers man on man and to deny those short crossing routes. There is more wrong with our secondary than a lack of talent.

    My colleagues may find my tone “negative” and my attitude “alarmist.” I am neither. Win or lose, we must see things as they are. The Cardinals, Chiefs, and Bengals will soon reveal whether my observations are too pessimistic – or merely realistic.

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