Los Angeles Chargers 33, Pittsburgh Steelers 30

チャージャーズ33 - スティーラーズ30

On their first prime-time stage of the season, the Chargers announced themselves to the nation with a season-defining comeback against the AFC stalwart Steelers. Los Angeles entered the second half down 16 points after it couldn't contain Antonio Brown on defense or sustain a ground game on offense in the first half.



But in the second half the Chargers leaned on Keenan Allen (14 rec, 148 yards), rookie running back Justin Jackson (63 yards, TD) and clutch -- yes, clutch -- special teams play to pull even and then seal the victory.



After a 13-play half-opening TD drive, Desmond King returned Pittsburgh's ensuing punt for a score, helping L.A. tie the game in the span of four minutes near the top of the fourth. The Bolts and Steelers then traded touchdowns to stay tied at 30. With just over four minutes to go, Philip Rivers led an 11-play drive with help from Jackson and Austin Ekeler to get the Chargers within field-goal range.





Rookie kicker Michael Badgley, the latest in a laundry list of fated Chargers kickers, saw two attempts miss the target, but both were called back for Steelers offsides. Exorcising the ghosts of kickers past, Badgley knocked in the third despite a third offsides penalty, booting the Bolts to 9-3. L.A. remains two games ahead of the sixth seed in the wild-card race and just one game behind the Chiefs in the AFC West. Thursday night, Week 15 can't come soon enough.







The loss is disappointing and costly for Pittsburgh in a number of ways. Before Sunday's loss, the Steelers had not blown a 16-point lead since 1981 and had never blown a 16-point lead at home in franchise history. Even worse, they surrendered the lead to a team that had just three second-half drives.



With an opportunity to keep some distance from the streaking Ravens (7-5) in the AFC North, Pittsburgh lost two in a row, fell back to the pack and is now, at 7-4-1, just one-half game ahead of Baltimore.



Going forward, though, the most impactful loss could be that of James Conner. The breakout dual-threat running back exited Pittsburgh's loss late in the fourth quarter with what coach Mike Tomlin termed a lower-leg contusion. Conner was the answer at RB with Le'Veon Bell skipping this season. If the back is out for any extended period of time, rushing responsibilities fall to Jaylen Samuels, Stevan Ridley and Ryan Switzer, who is in concussion protocol. That's no way to enter January.






New England Patriots 24, Minnesota Vikings 10
ペイトリオッツ24 - バイキングス10

Remember when the Patriots started off the season at 1-2, prompting some to wonder what was wrong in New England? Seems like a long time ago, as the team has gone 8-1 since and sit on a 9-3 record with four games remaining. Sunday's matchup proved impressive for the Patriots in the way they went about securing the victory.



There was no finesse involved against a physical Vikings defense. Instead, the Patriots went with the trusted formula that has worked throughout the season with a balanced attack. Rookie running back Sony Michel anchored a running attack with 17 carries for 63 yards, and six other Patriots players combined with Michel to produce 160 yards on 39 carries as a team.




Sure, the Patriots have quarterback Tom Brady, but this team is even tougher to beat when the ground game is firing on all cylinders to help open up the aerial attack.



Speaking of Brady, the future Hall of Famer added his name to the record books and it had nothing to do with his golden right arm. Brady totaled 5 yards rushing on the game to put him over 1,000 yards on the ground for his career. The 41-year-old Brady became the oldest player to reach 1,000-plus yards on his career since 1970, and he used all of his 19 seasons to get there given it took Brady 265 games to reach the milestone.




For some comparisons, Carolina Panthers signal-caller Cam Newton reached 1,000-plus career yards rushing in 23 games, while Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson did it in 31 games. Brady won't ever be known as a dual-threat quarterback like Newton or Wilson, but the accomplishment is still neat to see given his decorated career.