The Pittsburgh Steelers had a nice winning streak going when they entered Week 12, but the Denver Broncos snapped that streak, and putting a small dent in the Steelers’ hopes of clinching the AFC North division early. With the Los Angeles Chargers in town for a Week 13 showdown on Sunday Night Football, that small dent could become a big dent if the home team didn’t get back into the ‘W’ column quick.
With this game carrying some serious AFC Playoff significance, it was the visiting Chargers who started with the football after the Steelers elected to defer their possession to the second half.
Philip Rivers and company were able to move the ball with ease to Keenan Allen, but when they entered enemy territory they were forced to attempt a 52-yard field goal, which sailed wide left.
The missed kick gave Pittsburgh tremendous field position, and Ben Roethlisberger took little time hitting Antonio Brown on back-to-back plays, the second being a 46 yard bomb to the one-yard line.
What happened next was a James Conner one-yard plunge to give the home team an early 7-0 lead after Chris Boswell nailed the point-after.
A Chargers three-and-out gave the ball back to Pittsburgh inside Los Angeles territory, and Roethlisberger did Roethlisberger things on the ensuing drive to get the Steelers to the one-yard line. With the pocket collapsing, keeping his head down the field, Roethlisberger targeted Ryan Switzer in the endzone, but he was interfered with giving the Steelers the ball at the one-yard line. James Conner did the rest, scoring his second touchdown of the game. However, Chris Boswell missed the extra point, making the score 13-0 with 4:41 left in the opening quarter.
In need of an answer, the Chargers found that in a deep shot to Travis Benjamin. What was shocking to the home team, and their fans, was the blatant false start which wasn’t called on that same play. Regardless, it wasn’t called and the Steelers’ lead was cut to 13-7.
That score would stand heading into the 2nd quarter.