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Steelers rally around Devlin Hodges for impressive 24-17 road win over Chargers on SNF

It was all hands on deck, as the Steelers rallied around rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges for an impressive win over the Chargers on Sunday Night Football.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

“It takes a village.”

That phrase is often associated with what it takes to raise a child. As for the Steelers, I’m not sure if any of them know what it means (I had to Wikipedia it, myself), but they certainly embodied it as a team, Sunday night, with an impressive and much needed 24-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson City, California.

Down to Devlin Hodges, their backup quarterback—fourth-string, really, when you consider he was initially cut in the summer in favor of Joshua Dobbs before Dobbs was traded and then all the quarterback injuries started happening—the Steelers arrived in L.A. a beaten, battered and very desperate football team.

They were 1-4 and, to use a trite cliche, their backs were against the wall.

How would Hodges, playing away from home, fare going up against a future Hall of Fame passer in Philip Rivers?

Who said Hodges was away from home? Speaking of a village, the village that is Steeler Nation showed up in droves to the quaint little 30,000-seat soccer stadium the Chargers call home, and they made it their home. They made it so that Hodges didn’t have to use a silent count. The Hall of Fame quarterback had to.

And how about a defense that is quickly becoming the strength of this football team? Thanks to some quick thinking and reacting by rookie inside linebacker Devin Bush, who pounced on a Rivers’ lateral and took it in for a score, Keith Butler’s unit spotted the Duck Dynasty a 7-0 lead before he even picked up his first first down.

Moments later, there was Bush again, who was in perfect position to intercept a pass that was tipped right to him by veteran defensive end Tyson Alualu, and, just like that, Duck and the offense had the ball on the Chargers 40.

But that drive was all James Conner, who caught passes out of the backfield and ran hard out of the backfield and tallied all 40 yards, including the last 12 on an impressive looking touchdown run off the left side to give Pittsburgh a 14-0 lead.

By halftime, it was 21-0, thanks to a 26-yard touchdown catch and run by Conner on a little swing pass out of the backfield.

It was arguably the best game of Conner’s career, as he tallied 119 total yards from scrimmage—including 41 on the ground and 78 through the air—and two touchdowns.

That was certainly the case for Benny Snell Jr., who finally showed us what Benny Snell Football actually looks like by rushing for 75 yards on 17 carries.

By posting 124 yards on 36 carries, the Steelers ground attack looked as good as it has all season.

It had to.

The defense also had to limit the Chargers rushing attack, which it did to the tune of just 32 yards.

Hodges mostly dinked and dunked his way to a stat-line that read: 15 of 20 for 132 yards, one touchdown and one interception. But, so what? The Hall of Fame quarterback passed for 320 yards, but it wasn’t enough.

The Steelers saw to that.

Bush saw to that with his difference-making ability that has been becoming more and more apparent with each passing week.

Heck, Cameron Sutton saw to it with the fourth quarter of his life in-which he recorded multiple passes defensed, a recovery of an onside kick and the game-sealing interception in the waning moments.

There probably wouldn’t have been a need for all of Sutton’s end-of-game heroics if not for an ill-advised interception thrown by Hodges early in the fourth quarter, with the Steelers ahead by three touchdowns, and the Chargers looking for a soft place to land.

But, again, so what? To reiterate, Hodges wasn’t even on the 53-man roster at the beginning of the year. To expect him to look like Superman was expecting a little too much.

Thankfully, the Steelers had many other players more than willing to pitch in—Jordan Berry, Artie Burns, Anthony Chickillo and even Big Daniel McCullers were other notable participants—and help pull the rope along the way to victory.

The Steelers are now 2-4 and looking more and more like a team that doesn't have to depend on one person to succeed.