Saturday, December 24, 2011
Wrap-up: Steelers 27, Rams 0
By Jamison Hensley
Thoughts on the Steelers' 27-0 win over the Rams:
What it means: By routing the Rams (2-13), the Steelers (11-4) kept their hopes of an AFC North title alive and secured no worse than the No. 5 seed in the playoffs. Pittsburgh still needs the Ravens to lose in next weekend's regular-season finale to have any shot at the division title and a top-two seed. It was the Steelers' fifth win in six games.
No Roethlisberger, no sweat: The Steelers kept injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (ankle) active in case of an emergency, but there was nothing to worry about in this one. Charlie Batch was 15-of-22 for 208 yards in a workmanlike fill-in performance. His 46-yard pass to Mike Wallace in the fourth quarter set up a touchdown to increase the lead to 20-0 and essentially sealed the win.
Pound and ground: As expected, the Steelers hammered the NFL's worst run defense by gaining 169 yards on the ground on 28 attempts. Rashard Mendenhall recorded his second 100-yard game of the season with 116 yards and one touchdown. He almost had 100 yards by halftime. Mendenhall's longest run was 52 yards.
Dominating defense: The Steelers delivered their second shutout of the season and both times came against an NFC West team at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh limited the NFL's lowest scoring team to 232 yards. This was the second time in December that the Rams got shut out. The defense sacked Kellen Clemens three times.
Quiet yet impressive: Antonio Brown was a non-factor in the game with three catches for 34 yards. But Brown set a new franchise record with 2,048 all-purpose yards on the season. The second-year wide receiver broke the record of Barry Foster, who had 2,034 yards in 1992.
What's next: The Steelers wrap up the regular season at the Cleveland Browns. Pittsburgh beat the Browns, 14-3, earlier this month.