Defense rises up in 12-6 victory



Steelers' record: 2-1
One year ago: 2-1
Series record (including playoffs): Rams lead, 17-9-2
Series history: The Rams franchise has called three different cities its home: Cleveland, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. The Steelers were 0-4-1 vs. the Cleveland Rams, 5-12-1 vs. the Los Angeles Rams; and they are 4-1 vs. the St. Louis Rams.

This was how Coach Mike Tomlin assessed this matchup some 48 hours before kickoff: "On offense we have to make them stop us. We've stopped ourselves in some drives this year with penalties and so forth. We have to make sure we're not beating ourselves. We have to make them stop us. And defensively we just have to continue to grow. It's not about the opponent. We have to continue to develop the detail that will allow us to win in situational football, whether it's red zone or third down or short yardage. You win in those areas with detail, and we're continuing to grow in that area."

Through the first half, the defense gave Tomlin exactly what he wanted. The Rams' longest gain on offense was a 15-yard pass, and with only 21 yards rushing on nine attempts (2.3 average) the defense rendered the St. Louis offense largely one-dimensional. Also, the Rams converted just 1-of-4 on third down.

Through the same first half, the offense started off more on fire than the artificial turf after the Rams' pregame introductions, but then penalties and turnovers sabotaged the final two possessions. Kelvin Beachum was flagged for two penalties worth 19 yards, and Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted off a miscommunication with Markus Wheaton. The half ended with the Steelers gaining 187 total net yards but with only nine points.

Game action from the Pittsburgh Steelers' Week 3 matchup against the St. Louis Rams.

In the second half, everything changed for the offense following the left knee injury sustained by Roethlisberger some 10 minutes into the third quarter. After that, it became more a matter of survival, and the unit managed that. There were no turnovers and just enough movement of the ball to prevent the Rams from establishing control of the field position.

Things also changed for the Steelers on defense, because just holding their own wasn't going to be enough since the lead was only six points at the time of the injury. The defense forced one field goal after the Rams gained a first-and-goal at the Pittsburgh 9-yard line, and then there was the interception by Will Allen that set up the field goal by Josh Scobee that iced the outcome.

There was Roethlisberger's injury that turned the style of game the Steelers had to play in order to win, and then the interception by Will Allen that allowed the Steelers to win.

This is an example of how punitive interceptions are when it comes to determining a quarterback's passer rating. For the half, Ben Roethlisberger completed 16-of-19 for 160 yards, and his command of the offense and accurate passing were the driving forces moving the Steelers up and down the field.

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