At the beginning of the season, today’s matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers seemed like it could have been an offensive shootout. But after injuries and uncharacteristically sloppy play have plagued these teams for much of the season thus far, it was a must-win game for both this afternoon at Heinz Field.
Penalties, missed opportunities, and turnovers dominated the storyline of this afternoon’s game, but the Steelers outlasted the Rams for a 17-12 victory in front of their home crowd.
The Rams took an early 7-0 lead on Dante Fowler’s 25 yard return of Mason Rudolph’s fumbled snap. The Steelers responded when Rudolph connected with James Washington from 3 yards out to tie the game.
A 43 yard fumble return by Minkah Fitzpatrick gave the Steelers a 14-7 lead, and thanks to a Rams’ missed field goal as time expired, Pittsburgh held a touchdown lead at halftime.
The second half was even sloppier than the first half. The Rams cut the lead to 14-10 with a 30 yard field goal, the only scoring of the third quarter. They got within two points on a safety when Rudolph was sacked by Aaron Donald and Clay Matthews.
But that was as close as the Rams would get. The Steelers ate up 8 minutes of time with a 14 play drive, capped off by a 33 yard field goal by Chris Boswell to make it 17-12. The Rams had two opportunities to win the game on offense, but the Pittsburgh defense came up huge on both drives, and Fitzpatrick sealed the victory with an interception to end the Rams’ last drive.
The Steelers could not have had a worse start to the season and were left for dead at 1-4. But since that time, they have won four straight games, mainly led by their defense. If they are going to continue to win games, their defense will need to play like this and Rudolph will need to continue to improve.
They are now 5-4 on the season, but don’t have any time to celebrate. After only a few days off, the Steelers will face off against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night.