The Pittsburgh Steelers notched their second shutout of the season on Saturday at Heinz Field with their 27-0 win over the St. Louis Rams. The win moves the Steelers to 11-4 on the season and they remain in second place in the AFC North after the Baltimore Ravens held off a late charge by the Cleveland Browns today.
Veteran quarterback Charlie Batch, who started in place of the ailing Ben Roethlisberger, was 15 of 22 passing on the day for 208 yards in the game. He had just one interception on the day on a ball intended for wide receiver Antonio Brown. Both Batch and Brown had slips on that play that resulted in an easy pick by Rams defensive back Josh Gordy.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall had a great day running the football as he gained 116 yards on 18 carries and also added a 4th quarter touchdown in the win. The Steelers rushed for 169 total yards on the day as Isaac Redman chipped in 35 yards and undrafted rookie running back John Clay, who was promoted from the practice squad on Friday, scored his first NFL touchdown on his first carry from 10 yards out.
Mike Wallace led all Steelers receivers with 82 yards receiving on 4 catches and his big catch in the 4th quarter for 46 yards set up the Mendenhall touchdown 1 yard run. Veteran Hines Ward recorded 4 more catches on Saturday and now sits just 5 catches short of 1000 for his career. Brown chipped in 3 catches for 34 yards and passed two milestones on Saturday, as he went over 1,000 receiving yards on the season and he also surpassed the Barry Foster franchise record for all-purpose yards in a season (2,048). Brown also had a big stop on a Rams fake punt as he can all the way up to tackle Rams punter Donnie Jones just short of the first down marker.
The Steelers defense was in bend, but dont break mode as they allowed Rams running back Steven Jackson to rush for 103 yards for 24 carries. It was the first time the defense allowed a 100 yard rusher since week 4 against the Houston Texans. The Rams rushed for 164 yards on the day, but their offense was just 6 of 16 on 3rd down as quarterback Kellen Clemens completed just 9 of his 24 passes for 91 yards.
The Steelers offensive line was put in a bind early as center Doug Legursky, who was making his second straight start in place of the injured Maurkice Pouncey, went down with a shoulder strain early in the game. Starting left guard Trai Essex had to play the rest of the game at center and Chris Kemoeatu entered the game at left guard to replace Essex. The Steelers also started Jonathan Scott at right tackle in place of rookie Marcus Gilbert. Gilbert was benched by head coach Mike Tomlin for his poor preparation and professionalism this past week. It is rumored that Gilbert was late for a meeting this week. Despite being short handed the offensive line played well. They did allow a few pressures on the day, but Batch did well to duck several would be sacks to keep plays alive. Right guard Ramon Foster had yet another good game in the win.
The only downside in the win was that the defense failed to record a turnover and the offense was a putrid 1 of 7 on 3rd downs.
The Steelers go to Cleveland next week to take on the Browns and should they win and the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Ravens, they would win the division and would have no worse than the #2 seed in the AFC.