Home > Steeler Articles > Week 16 Steelers-Rams Recap

Week 16 Steelers-Rams Recap

Steelers cruise to an easy win over the hapless Rams on Christmas Eve, 27-0.

Offensive Thoughts

– Charlie Batch played a solid game for a backup. Fans will be wondering why he didn’t play last week. Let’s not get crazy. Batch, while solid, still had a few errant throws (including his interception) and most of his throws downfield were underthrown (like the deep ball to Wallace). And this was against maybe the worst team in the NFL right now. Still, Batch did make a number of nice throws and actually escaped from looked like sure sacks on a couple plays to make some BIG plays. Well done, Batch. Maybe he’ll still be around to be the #3 QB next year. But only if Leftwich and Dixon are gone and the Steelers get a better backup.

– I thought the O-line played pretty decently, especially considering the injuries (even Legursky went out with an injury). The run blocking was good most of the game. The pass protection is still suspect at times.

– Mendenhall had one of his best games of the year. He made a number of nice runs.

– Redman looked real good as well. Rookie John Clay (from Wisconsin) rumbled for a nice 10 yard TD run. Just signed off the practice squad this week. Interesting prospect. He was great at Wisconsin.

– Mike Wallace continues to show that he is a great deep threat AND still an incomplete WR. On one play in the 2nd half he burns the Rams secondary and shows nice concentration on a deep catch at the Rams GL. Earlier, though, on a 3rd and goal play, he tries to catch a pass with his body, instead of using his hands and the Rams defender is able to knock it out.

– Antonio Brown had another solid game. 3 snags and a nifty 8 yard run on an end around pass play.

Bruce Arians – The offense got off to a slow start. The offense today can be summed up like this

– Rams defense is horrible.

– Steelers O-line opened up some nice holes in the run game against that horrible defense (worst run defense in the NFL, statistically).

– Batch made a couple decent passes downfield combined with some nice short stuff and some nice elusive moves in the pocket.

I’m not sure what Arians did to actually help out the offense today. I think with the way the Rams defense played today, it wouldn’t have mattered what the playcalls were for the most part. The actual playcalls were fairly predictable, it’s just that the Rams defense is so bad it didn’t really matter. And give credit to the O-line and RB’s in the run game. They had it going on but let’s keep it in perspective. This WAS the Rams. Best-case scenario, this gives the run game (O-line and RB’s) a little more confidence going forward. Worst case, the coaches actually think they can continue to run the ball like this in the playoffs.

Defensive Thoughts

– I’d be a lot more concerned with the run defense this year if teams actually, y’know, still ran the ball in the NFL. But luckily most teams don’t have dominant run games anymore, still, it is a concern. Today the Rams had a hundred yard rusher (Stephen Jackson, 103 yards) and another RB that ran for 42 yards. Both averaged over 4 yards a carry. The Steelers will need to continue to address the front 7 of the defense in the offseason. Aaron Smith will in all likelihood retire, Hampton is getting older, Ziggy Hood continues to show that he isn’t the best run stopper in the world (although he did have 5 tackles today). MLB is also a concern as Foote and Farrior, while playing decently this year against the run, are slowing down considerably.

– Timmons actually had a sack today as he was unblocked on the play and finished with a team high 7 tackles. It’s hard to evaluate how well Timmons has played this year. He doesn’t make very many “splash plays” but usually has a decent number of tackles. Has he already reached his potential? Let’s hope not. It’s strange, Timmons is a very fast LB but yet his pass coverage this year has been somewhat disappointing. You’d think he would have more passes defended and maybe 2 or 3 INT’s but nope.

– Clark made a couple nice hits and wasn’t exposed in pass coverage. That’s always nice.

– Troy was once again active all over the field and came so close to picking off a pass on a couple of occasions. He’s getting there, let’s save those INT’s for the playoffs, though!

– Willie Gay continued his solid season today as he made some real nice tackles and had solid coverage (the fall down on the deep sideline route, notwithstanding, luckily the pass was incomplete).

Dick Lebeau – Lebeau seemed to have a pretty vanilla gameplan in store for the Rams. Maybe a smart move considering it gives less gamefilm for opposing teams in the playoffs. Still, the run defense is a little bit of a concern going forward. What if the Steelers end up playing the Ravens or Broncos in the playoffs? Both teams do rely on the run game a good bit. Hell, same goes for the Bengals and Jets.

In the first half, there was hardly any pressure on Rams QB Kellen Clemons, but that changed in the 2nd half. Clemons finished with awful stats, credit the pressure in the second half and a solid performance by the secondary for that.

Special Teams – Kapinos had a really solid day punting. The Sepulveda days might be over in Pittsburgh. Antonio Brown made another clutch play. This time as a tackler on special teams as the Rams attempted a fake punt but Brown stopped the punter a yard short of the 1st down with a great heads up tackle.

Tomlin – Solid day. Still a lot of stupid mistakes and penalties, though. It is what it is at this point. Not much will probably change between now and the end of the 2011 season for the Steelers (whenever that may end up being).

Overall, great win. Not too much to glean from but a win nonetheless. If the Steelers can beat the Browns and Ravens lose to the Bengals next Sunday the Steelers WILL have a bye, which would be HUGE considering how bad the Steelers have played on the road vs. at home this year. Let’s make it happen and Merry Christmas everyone!

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