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The Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4) kept up the pressure on the Baltimore Ravens at the top of the AFC North with a 27-0 victory over the struggling St. Louis Rams (2-13). The victory was even more impressive considering quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was still inactive as the Steelers seek to ensure ‘Big Ben’ is fully healthy for the rapidly approaching playoffs.
The Steelers quickly moved into the lead, scoring a field goal in the first quarter, and extending their lead to 10 points in the second quarter when rookie running back, John Clay, ran in a 10-yard touchdown. With just a solitary field goal in the third quarter, Pittsburgh entered the fourth quarter with a 13-point lead, and their defense on top of the Rams underpowered offense.
Although struggling in the passing game, the Rams had some success on the ground with running back, Steven Jackson, finishing with 103 yards on 24 carries. This was not enough to claw the game back for St. Louis, however, and they soon fell further behind in the final quarter with rushing touchdowns for both Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman.
Steelers Head Coach, Mike Tomlin, will be pleased with the performance of Mendenhall in the absence of Roethlisberger, as the tailback finished the game with 116 yards on just 18 carries, and was one of the key components in a comfortable victory for Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh offensive line did well to protect quarterback Charlie Batch too, despite Batch lacking the ability of Roethlisberger to keep plays alive, and allowed no sacks on the back-up quarterback. Despite throwing an interception, Batch was also fairly accurate passing the ball, completing 15 of his 22 attempts, for a total of 208 yards. Should Roethlisberger still not be totally healthy for the Steelers last game of the regular season, Batch’s accuracy may make Tomlin’s decision to rest his star quarterback for the playoffs much easier.
The famed Pittsburgh defense was also on form, with Lawrence Timmons, Ziggy Hood, and James Harrison all registering sacks on Kellen Clemens, whilst the Steelers secondary and pass rushers kept the St. Louis quarterback to just 91-yards passing, as well as causing him to connect on just 9 of his 24 attempts.