Steelers vs Chargers: Pittsburgh’s keys to victory this week

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to get back to their winning ways on Sunday night against the Los Angeles Chargers. The team is decimated with injuries and even on Saturday aren’t sure if starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be able to make the trip.

Nevertheless, this is still a winnable game and here are our keys.

Run the ball

(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

We don’t just mean feed the football to Najee Harris 35 times. The Chargers are dead last in run defense but I’m sure they have planned all week to see a heavy dose of Harris. This is the week for offensive coordinator Matt Canada to break out some tricks and get more players involved in the run game including the wide receivers.

Protect the quarterback

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Whether or not it’s Mason Rudolph or Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh has to keep them upright and out of trouble. It sounds like edge rusher Joey Bosa could be cleared to play which just doubles the worry about this inexperienced offensive line.

No more dumb mistakes

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Two fumbles in overtime last week doomed the Steelers to a tie. This cannot happen against a much better football team. When a team is shorthanded, unforced errors like turnovers and penalties are just nails in the coffin.

Work with what you have on defense

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If Keith Butler wants to prove he’s a quality defensive coordinator, this is the week. Being minus two of the defense’s best players will not only test Butler’s skills but stretch this defense as thin as possible. Will guys like Tre Norwood and Alex Highsmith step up or will Butler find ways to get players like Devin Bush and Joe Schobert more involved?

How about tackling better?

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The Chargers are going to come out knowing they can run it and throw it. Pittsburgh cannot focus on one particular area in terms of the scheme which puts an even greater individual emphasis on tackling. This will be of particular importance in containing running back Austin Ekeler but tackling the route on pass plays will be key on possession downs.

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