Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Saturday, December 24, 2011
Wrap-up: Steelers 27, Rams 0

By Mike Sando


Thoughts on the St. Louis Rams following their 27-0 defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 16:

What it means: The Rams fell to 2-13, improving their once-long shot chances to secure the No. 1 overall choice in the 2012 draft. They entered Saturday tied with Indianapolis and Minnesota for fewest victories. A Minnesota victory would leave the Rams and Colts tied for the NFL's worst record heading into Week 17. A Colts victory over Jacksonville and a Rams defeat to San Francisco would give St. Louis the No. 1 overall choice for the second time in three seasons. But if Indianapolis loses to the Jaguars, the Colts emerge with the No. 1 overall pick no matter what else happens. That is because their strength of schedule was easier than the Rams' strength of schedule.

What I liked: Steven Jackson topped 100 yards rushing with another inspirational performance. Does another player in the NFL consistently demonstrate more heart and professionalism in the face of team failure? That would seem to be impossible. Jackson makes an otherwise unwatchable team watchable. He carried 24 times for 103 yards against the Steelers. The Rams trailed only 13-0 after three quarters, an indication they're playing hard, but also severely limited. The Rams held the Steelers to one third-down conversion in seven chances.

What I didn't like: Kicker Josh Brown missed from 52 and 33 yards. The 33-yard miss in the fourth quarter was particularly deflating. The Rams have little going for them throughout their roster. It's tough when they cannot count on their veteran kicker, either. The Rams allowed Steelers backup quarterback Charlie Batch to average 9.5 yards per attempt. Jackson's 17-yard reception was the longest by a Rams player.

What's next: The Rams close out their season at home against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17.