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Steelers grind out road win with 24-17 win over the Rams

In Week 7 the Pittsburgh Steelers traveled out west to play the Rams in Los Angeles. West coast trips haven’t been the Steelers’ friend in the Mike Tomlin era, but coming out of their bye week had fans believing things could change in 2023. Standing in the way of the Steelers winning back-to-back games was Matthew Stafford and the Rams offense. Los Angeles was 3-3 coming into the game, but had been playing vastly improved football leading up to the game.

The Steelers won the opening coin toss and elected to take the football. Kenny Pickett and the much-maligned offenses took the field first, and despite gaining 8 yards on first down, the offense couldn’t muster a new set of downs and had a three-and-out.

Thanks to some rare Cooper Kupp drops and a Larry Ogunjobi sack, the Steelers defense did their job and got the ball back to the offense without surrendering any points. While the offense didn’t put points on the scoreboard, they were able to at least flip the field on their next drive. While the drive stalled nearing field goal range, Pressley Harvin III pinned the Rams at their own 5-yard line to start their second possession.

The Rams utilized their running game to get the ball into field goal range, and when Minkah Fitzpatrick had a tackle for loss on 3rd down, it was Brett Maher who was called on to kick a 52-yarder. The kick hit the left upright and stayed out, giving the Steelers offense tremendous field position.

A great mix of Najee Harris runs and timely passes moved the ball into field goal range. On what looked like a great catch and run by Diontae Johnson to set up the offense in a first-and-goal situation, George Pickens was called for a crack back block which negated the big play. The drive resulted in a Chris Boswell 53-yard field goal, making the score 3-0.

Los Angeles’ offense was unable to move the ball on the Pittsburgh defense, but it was the Rams who were able to strike next. Following failed drives by both teams, Stafford converted on huge 3rd downs to get into Maher’s field goal range. The 41-yard field goal was good, making the score 3-3 with 5:56 left in the first half.

It was the Rams who had the football with just over 3 minutes remaining in the half and a chance to add to their point total. In the waning seconds of the half, Matthew Stafford threw a pass to Tutu Atwell for the touchdown. However, the extra point was no good, making the score 9-3 heading into halftime.

Los Angeles got the football to start the second half, but their possession was short-lived with Stafford’s pass was intercepted by T.J. Watt and returned inside the 10-yard line.

Two Najee Harris touches later, it was Kenny Pickett plunging into the end-zone for the touchdown. Chris Boswell’s extra point was good, making the score 10-9 in the early stages of the third quarter.

It looked like the Steelers defense got the ball right back to the offense, but a neutral zone infraction on T.J. Watt on 3rd and 4 gave the Rams new life. A huge completion to Puka Nacua moved the ball into field goal range, and a 3rd and 7 conversion to Nacua put the Rams in the red-zone. Two plays later and it was a Rams touchdown, and a two-point conversion to make the score 17-10.

Another Steelers three-and-out gave the ball right back to Stafford and company, and as they moved the ball with ease down the field, another Maher missed field goal kept the score 17-10 with just over a minute left in the third quarter.

Facing a 3rd and 9, Pickett hit Diontae Johnson for a catch and run of 39 yards, setting up the offense in the red-zone. On 3rd down, Jaylen Warren ran the ball with ease into the end-zone tying the game 17-17 after Boswell’s extra point.

With 13:49 left in regulation, the Rams had their first three-and-out of the game, giving the ball right back to the Steelers offense. The Pittsburgh offense put together their best drive of the game. A drive filled with third down passes to George Pickens and Diontae Johnson, and tough runs by Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren. When the drive reached the red-zone, a Connor Heyward catch and run set up a first and goal situation. The next play saw Najee Harris run in for the first touchdown of the season.

Chris Boswell’s extra point made the score 24-17 with 7:20 remaining,

The Rams were unable to make enough plays to add to their point total, and the offense got the ball back with just over 5 minutes remaining with a chance to ice away the game. Big third down conversions, plus the Rams using their timeouts, put the game in a critical 4th and 1 situation. The Steelers tried a quarterback sneak, and it looked like they came up short. However, a generous spot equated in a first down.

While many thought McVay could challenge the spot, without a timeout he was unable to challenge since the play happened outside the two-minute warning. The Steelers were then able to ice out the clock.

The win moved the Steelers record to 4-2 on the season, as they now prepare for the Jacksonville Jaguars at home in Week 8. Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers.


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