Bulger passed for 375 yards and a touchdown in his Pittsburgh
homecoming and third-string running back Arlen Harris ran for three
touchdowns in his first NFL start, leading the Rams past the
slumping Steelers 33-21 Sunday.
Question on the Rams: With Faulk out, are you surprised that Martz has stayed committed to the run?
I'm not surprised at all. Martz has a quarterback who's thrived in balanced offensive situations. Why should he deviate from what's working so well? Martz has the best of both worlds right now: a great quarterback and an effective running game. This team will be difficult to deal with for opposing teams.
Question on the Steelers: Did you expect a better performance with them coming off the bye?
Yes. This team has been extremely disappointing this season. Most people believed they would be in the upper echelon of NFL teams and instead they've been plagued by an unsteady running game and poor play by QB Tommy Maddox.
Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.
The Rams (5-2) won their fourth in a row to tie Seattle for the
NFC West lead and, just as significantly, won on the road for only
the second time in 11 games. And they did it in a city where they
were 0-4 since 1971.
"It's not about where I'm from, it's about our team winning on
the road. We beat a good team in a tough environment," said
Bulger, a former Pittsburgh high school star. "It's a relief,
because we know how hard it is to win on the road. If you can win
in a tough place like Pittsburgh, you know you can win on the
The Steelers (2-5) wasted two big plays by Antwaan Randle El,
including an 84-yard punt return touchdown, to drop their fourth
straight and third in a row at home.
The Steelers' start is their worst since they were 1-6 in 1988,
en route to a 5-11 finish. They fell two games behind AFC North
leader Baltimore and dropped into last place in the division.
"We have a lot of talent on this team and we're not getting it
done," linebacker Joey Porter said.
Bulger, who played at the same high school that produced Dan
Marino, shook off a steady, chilly rain and the hoopla surrounding
the 1,000th game in Steelers history. He set the tone early in the
first quarter, hitting NFL receiving leader Torry Holt in stride
for 48 yards.
"We could probably run our routes with our eyes closed, the way
we're clicking," said Holt, who made seven catches for 174 yards.
Holt caught a 36-yard touchdown pass three plays later, and the
Rams were up 7-0 almost before the former Steelers stars recognized
before the game had left the sideline.
"We talked about taking the same enthusiasm, commitment and
excitement we have at home and try to make it a home game," said
coach Mike Martz, whose team won on the road last season only at
The Steelers rallied to lead briefly at 21-20 after Tommy Maddox
threw two touchdown passes to Hines Ward. But Harris, an undrafted
rookie free agent, scored from the 9 to put the Rams up 27-21 late
in the third quarter. The 70-yard drive was highlighted by Bulger's
completions of 30 yards to Brandon Manumaleuna and 21 yards to
Harris, another former Pennsylvania high school star who is
filling in for injured Marshall Faulk and Lamar Gordon, averaged
only 2.4 yards while gaining 81 yards. But he has 166 yards in his
last two games.
"It's all happened so fast, to have an opportunity to be here
and play on a team like this," said Harris, who didn't play last
season after transferring from Virginia to Hofstra.
"That's brave of them, to take points off the board," Porter
said. "That shows a lot of confidence, but they got it done and
got more points."
Despite St. Louis' huge advantages in almost every statistic --
including 2-to-1 in time of possession and Bulger outpassing Maddox
375-159 -- the Rams twice settled for field goals after driving to
first downs inside the Pittsburgh 5.
The Steelers' problem was a familiar one as they again failed to
sustain drives, going 1-for-10 on third down conversions and having
five series last less than a minute. Jerome Bettis made his first
start of the season to try to get the NFL's 28th-ranked rushing
game going, but was held to 42 yards on 12 carries. Pittsburgh was
Maddox (12-of-18) threw two touchdown passes after going 15
quarters without one, but also was intercepted three times, giving
him 11 in seven games.
Asked about the Steelers' confidence, Ward didn't exactly give a
reassuring answer, saying, "I don't know. There's a lot of
question marks. It's hard to say. It's frustrating."
^Notes:@ Bulger, 11-2 as the Rams' starter, played in Pittsburgh for
the first time since throwing for a school-record six touchdowns
and 409 yards in West Virginia's 52-14 victory over Pitt in 1998.
... The Steelers have allowed 96 points in their last three home
games. ... Pittsburgh is the seventh NFL team and the first from
the AFC to play 1,000 games. ... Randle El's 32-yard run on a
direct snap led to Ward's second touchdown catch, a 22-yarder that
gave the Steelers their only lead.
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