Breaking down the tape: It was a slugfest

A look back at the Steelers' 12-6 victory over the Rams via the magic of the DVR:

WHAT WORKED: That wasn't the "Packer Sweep" the Steelers popped a couple of times on the Rams. But when the visitors got it right in the running game you could almost hear Vince Lombardi at the chalk board, explaining that the point of the exercise was to "get a seal here and a seal here and try to run this play in the alley."

When it worked it was a thing of beauty.

First-and-10, Steelers 8-yard line, first quarter: LT Kelvin Beachum walled off DE Robert Quinn, LG Ramon Foster turned DT Aaron Donald, C Cody Wallace pulled around Foster and kicked out LB Alec Ogletree and RG David DeCastro fired out and occupied LB James Laurinaitis. Bell cut inside Beachum's block, followed Wallace through the hole, and then darted between DeCastro and Foster on the way to the second level. Quinn may have gotten a hand on Bell, who wasn't seriously impeded until he reached the 24. Gain of 19, first down.

First-and-10, Steelers 25, fourth quarter: Foster turned Quinn, Beachum dealt with blitzing S Mark Barron and DeCastro found Laurinaitis and pushed him off his feet. Bell cut between DeCastro and Foster, who had gotten Quinn on the ground, and Bell wasn't touched this time until he was almost 20 yards upfield. Gain of 23, first down.

When the running game is executed that way, you wonder why they don't just run the ball on every play.

The Rams reminded us why they don't by re-establishing the line of scrimmage a few yards back from where it had initially been while stuffing their share of runs.

Bell ran in from the 1 for a touchdown on one occasion and lost a yard from the 2 on another.

It was a slugfest in the trenches, as anticipated, but the Steelers did their share of slugging against a group Bell called "a great front".

"We understood coming into the game it would be tough sledding," Bell continued. "We just kind of chipped away at 'em. We ran the ball efficiently when we needed to, broke a couple of big runs when we needed to. That's all we really wanted to do."

Added Foster: "They showed their pedigree and we showed ours, too."

TACKLE THE CATCH: The Rams went just 2-for-10 on third downs, in part because on four occasions they completed passes only to come up short of the chains.

Third-and-6, Rams 49, second quarter: S Will Allen got a great break on the ball and made an open-field tackle on lightning-quick WR Tavon Austin after a 3-yard catch in the flat.

Check out the highlight photos from the Steelers vs Rams game.

Third-and-18, Rams 46, third quarter: A screen to RB Benny Cunningham probably wasn't going anywhere significant to begin with, but DE Stephon Tuitt made sure of it. He initially rushed QB Nick Foles and then hustled back upfield and hunted down Cunningham from behind after Cunningham had juked LB Lawrence Timmons and CB William Gay.

Third-and-10, St. Louis 41, third quarter: LB Sean Spence wrapped up TE Jared Cook after a 7-yard reception.

Third-and-7, Rams 15, fourth quarter: Allen and CB Ross Cockrell responded quickly to a flanker-screen to Cunningham, who was lined up wide-right. Cockrell had to fight through WR Kenny Britt, Cunningham's escort, to help Allen, who lost his helmet on a dive at Cunningham's legs. The two DBs got Cunningham on the ground 1 yard shy of the first down.

WHAT THEY'D BEEN MISSING: RB DeAngelo Williams caught five passes for 20 yards in the two games Bell missed due to suspension.

Bell caught seven passes for 70 yards upon his return.

The mismatches the Steelers can exploit with Bell in the passing game materialized when he beat Laurinaitis for a 20-yard gain in the first quarter and Ogletree for 20 more yards in the fourth.

Bell was targeted eight times. The only misconnection occurred when QB Ben Roethlisberger's shotgun pass on second-and-goal from the St. Louis 2 was battled down by Quinn.

Bel had lined up in the left slot behind Miller, who moved laterally on the snap and blocked Ogletree. Had the ball gotten there Bell, who had moved laterally behind Miller, would have been 1-on-1 with closing linebacker Akeem Ayers (assuming Bell caught the pass) about 5 yards from the end zone.

SNAP DECISIONS: For the first time in three games LB Jarvis Jones played more snaps (27) than LB James Harrison (25) and LB Arthur Moats played more snaps (29) than LB Bud Dupree (23).

Spence played 41 snaps and LB Vince Williams 10 in place of injured LB Ryan Shazier.

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