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3 Steelers takeaways after gut-wrenching Week 11 loss to Chargers

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

It was a difficult loss for the Pittsburgh Steelers in their Week 11 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. They had a comeback effort in the fourth quarter, but it fell short after a clutch drive by the LA franchise.

Pittsburgh succumbed 41-37 despite scoring 27 points in the fourth quarter. The defense was unable to stop the Justin Herbert-led Los Angeles offense. Ben Roethlisberger had a strong performance even though it was a loss, and they will need to build on that moving forward.

That being said, here are three Steelers’ takeaways after their gut-wrenching Week 11 loss to the Chargers.

Pittsburgh Steelers Week 11 Takeaways

3. The Steelers should still make the playoffs

Although Pittsburgh lost this game to Los Angeles, their fourth-quarter performance showed they could make the playoffs. The Chargers are another team fighting for a playoff spot, so this loss is not too bad.

While the defense didn’t have a good performance, Mike Tomlin should be able to get them back on track. The offense also has enough talent to win some games behind the strong defense, which should be enough to get them to the postseason.

2. The rushing game needs to improve

One of the biggest weaknesses of the Steelers last season was their run game. Against the Chargers, Najee Harris had 12 carries for 39 yards and one touchdown. In the playoffs, the game usually slows down, and having a reliable run game is vital.

Pittsburgh doesn’t need to become a top-rushing attack but needs to improve moving forward. On the season, Harris has 188 carries for 685 yards and five touchdowns. He was drafted by the Steelers in the first round and has been a welcomed addition to the backfield. While the run game hasn’t been consistent, the addition of Harris has improved the talent level.

If Tomlin can get the rushing game on track, Pittsburgh could make a postseason run.

1. The defense needs to play better

A strength of the Steelers over the past few seasons has been their defense. However, they were unable to stop the Chargers’ elite offense, allowing 41 points. Herbert torched Pittsburgh’s pass defense as he threw for 382 yards and three touchdowns. They were able to force one turnover after Cameron Sutton picked off Herbert, but that’s it.

That turnover was not enough to stop Los Angeles’ offense as their rushing attack was also elite. As a team, the Chargers rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns. The lack of a pass rush was another integral factor in the outcome of the game.

It will take a better defensive effort moving forward to make a playoff run. Pittsburgh possesses talented players at all three levels, including a great defensive line and pass rush. While it wasn’t shown against the Chargers, the Steelers’ pass rush should have a bounce-back performance this week.

They take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12 in a pivotal divisional matchup. The Bengals have a half a game lead over the Steelers and are also in a tight playoff race in the AFC. Pittsburgh is currently the 8th seed, which puts them one spot out of the playoffs and two spots behind Cincinnati. Pittsburgh will have to improve their rushing attack and defensive play going forward.

This could very well be Roethlisberger’s final season, and it would be disappointing for fans and the team if they missed the playoffs.