There were seemingly a number of remarkable things to happen in last night’s game. Donte Moncrief made a difficult catch. The Pittsburgh Steelers continued to produce takeaways, and finally put one into the end zone. Devlin Hodges, making his first career start, won his first career game as well.
But perhaps the most remarkable affect of the entire game was nothing to do with what happened on the field, but rather what was going on in the stadium. Even though the Steelers dragged a 1-4 record with them out west, starting their fourth-string quarterback in the process, the Los Angeles Chargers’ stadium was filled, predominantly, with Steelers fans, and it was quite obvious and pronounced throughout the game.
All you really had to do was listen to the constant duck calls that were heard throughout the game, not unlike the vuvuzela of a certain World Cup event several years ago, though inarguably a bit more endearing. Traveling to see your number four quarterback…that’s something.
And that quarterback, Hodges, told reporters after the game that the crowd was so good for them that they never even had to use a silent count throughout the contest. They certainly had situations in the game where the home team would want the crowd to make some noise to support them. But it never really happened.
“Just pre-game warmups, you could tell that this was gonna be kind of like a home game”, he told reporters. Not that that is necessarily out of the ordinary for the Steelers when they are on the road, but this was above and beyond the typical.
It helps that the Chargers are not off to a great start this year, and in fact after this game, they like the Steelers are also 2-4 on the year. A lot of circumstances conspired to produce the very favorable crowd, and I certainly think that that had its impact on the game in some respect.
There were cheers when Philip Rivers and company were in third and long situations, urging the defense on to make a stop. Cameron Sutton closed the game with an interception to stave off a late threat, and it was met with a celebration in the crowd.
“Probably the fans” were the most unexpected element of the game for Hodges in his first start, he said. “Making it like a home environment. We never had to go to a silent count. We did our cadence all the time. That was probably the most surprising thing of the day”.
And fortunately, the Steelers were able to deliver something for the ‘home’ crowd to cheer about. It’s just their second win of the season, but they’ve now kept themselves alive. They are entering their bye week, and the Baltimore Ravens have the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots on deck, while Pittsburgh hosts the Miami Dolphins after the break.