The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the St. Louis Rams 27-0 Saturday at Heinz Field and improved their record to 11-4 on the season. I have made it back through the game again twice and here are my further observations from the game not included in the regular game recap.
The opening stop of Rams running back Steven Jackson by Troy Polamalu, as he blew by the attempted block of wide receiver Danario Alexander, set the tone for the type of day he would have. Polamalu finished the game with 6 total tackles, second most on the team. he was all over the field Saturday.
Ike Taylor would have had the interception of the year for the Steelers had he caught the deep pass intended for Rams receiver Brandon Lloyd. Both Taylor and Polamalu were step for step with Lloyd.
The day got off to a rough start for Jason Worilds and Keenan Lewis. Worilds was doubled and pancaked while Lewis was caught too far inside. This left an easy edge for Jackson to run for a first down. Lawrence Timmons also got caught up in the Worilds wash out. Worilds was manhandled on the next play as well by the tight end.
Great early challenge by Mike Tomlin on the ruled catch by Lloyd. It was also pretty good coverage by Taylor on the play.
I wonder how close Polamalu came to blocking that first punt.
I am not sure how Charlie Batch avoided that first sack. He was like Gumby and hit Rashard Mendenhall for a huge play. Doug Legursky was hurt on this play hauling ass down the field to block for Mendenhall on the big pass play. Great effort. Let\'s hope that shoulder strain heals up fast.
Loved the early use of the counter lead to the left with Ramon Foster and David Johnson leading the way. If that counter lead starts being used more to the left, we will be ambidextrous and deadly with the run game bread and butter.
We did not see the bubble screen at all last week, but it was used twice on the opening drive. Perhaps it was not used last week to keep Ben Roethlisberger from having to do the extra foot work.
The 3rd and 2 slant to Mike Wallace was the right call and Wallace has to do a better job at shielding off the defender with his body. It was a good defensive play by Roderick Hood.
I thought both Ziggy Hood and Brett Keisel had a good first quarter on defense. Timmons and Worilds did not.
The Rams were brutal on themselves with the early false start penalties. The line however did do a good job early picking up the Fire X blitz.
Everyone was slipping and sliding on the Heinz Field grass today. Not sure what the deal was, but everyone seemed to have the wrong shoes on.
Great pass breakup on the pass to Alexander by Lewis. On the fake punt, Antonio Brown had to come nearly 40 yards to stop punter Donnie Jones from getting the first down. It was great tackle too.
Hines Ward can still find the soft part of the zone as good as anyone. Brown once again showed his athleticism on the broken end around pass play. On the lone Batch interception, both he and Brown slipped on the play. Tough break.
They called Timmons for the defensive holding penalty, but it should have been on Taylor as they got the numbers screwed up. Good thing it was matching penalties.
That big run by Mendenhall was once again counter lead with Foster, Heath Miller and Max Starks all with great blocks.
The John Clay TD run that followed that was a counter the other way with good blocks by Miller, Jerricho Cotchery and Wallace.
That would have been a hell of an interception by Polamalu as he leaped and almost one handed it. He read that all the way and once again was everywhere in the first half. It looked like Keisel got those long arms up as well on that play and may have made Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens change his aim on that pass.
James Harrison almost got a sack at the 5:30 mark of the second quarter by using left tackle Adam Goldberg as a weapon. I wonder if Goldberg had to pay for the ride. Also Harrison abused the tight end for his sack a few plays later.
Welcome to Heinz Field, Josh Brown. Ain\'t it a bitch.
Batch escaped another sack early in the second half as he ducked way down. He extended the play and found Wallace for a first down. Big play.
Clemens missed Jackson for an easy long explosive play with 7:55 left in the 3rd quarter. Harrison and Taylor were both rubbed together by Lloyd. Only Polamalu would have had a shot at him had it been completed.
Hood got the sack in the second half as he came pretty free, the speed rush off the edge by Worilds caused Clemens to step easily up into it. Harrison also abused the tight end on the other side on the sack.
Lewis missed an open field tackle on Jackson on the 3rd and 14 conversion. Once again he got caught heading inside. It was counter play and James Farrior was blocked out by the pulling left guard. Worilds also got caught up inside.
Guess who exploded by the tight end on 3rd and 4 and stop the drive deep? Yep, Polamalu. That was a big play and Brown missed a chipped shot field goal to preserve the shutout. Heinz Field 2 Brown 0
Cortez Allen seems ready to pick up special teams slack with Curtis Brown now lost for the year.
Loved the dagger to the heart call to Wallace. Batch under threw it, but Wallace adjusted. Not sure what the safety for the Rams was doing on the deep ball as there was no play-action and only 3 out in routes. Wallace liked to have dropped it. He really needs to try to high point it better.
Credit Marcus Gilbert with a nice block on the Mendenhall score that followed the big play to Wallace as he was quick off the snap and turned his man easily inside. Mendenhall did a good job running behind his pads to take on the linebacker and get in.
Isaac Redman runs like a bowling ball with legs. He is so hard to bring down and always keeps his legs churning. His yards after first contact are incredible.
I loved them trying to get Hines Ward some catches after the game was in hand. I am curious if James Laurinaitis will get fined for hitting Ward helmet to helmet after one of those catches while Ward was in a defenseless position. I bet he isn\'t.
The wheel route to Miller has worked the last few weeks. I hope to see more of it going forward as it is tough to defend.
Jonathan Scott lined up as fullback on the Redman touchdown and helped Johnson clear the way for the easy score. Gilbert was also back in at right tackle for that play.
Wrapping up the loose ends. Polamalu and Ryan Clark both had great games as did the entire secondary. Worilds, Timmons and Farrior had a rough day against the run and filling the gaps. The defensive line I thought played well.
On offense, the offensive line should grade out well. Trai Essex did a great job at center after Legursky went down. Scott, Foster, Starks and Chris Kemoeatu played above the line as well. No penalties on Kemoeatu I loved the attempt to run the counter several times to the left and Foster did well on the move. Batch did what he does best and that is manage the game. No big mistakes and he made plays. All of the running backs played hard and Brown continues to be the most exciting player on offense. It was a great win.