The Pittsburgh Steelers were in trouble heading into Thursday’s game at St.Louis. Despite a win that puts them ever so close to the 2007 playoffs, the team may have even more trouble following their 41-24 win. The win for the Steelers was bittersweet, as the team lost the NFL leading rusher, Willie Parker to a fractured ankle. The injury to Parker took place on his first carry, as it appeared he twisted the ankle. X-rays showed the fracture, ending the season for the big Steelers offensive weapon.
All that aside, the Steelers did do pretty much whatever they wanted on offense, as backup running back Najeh Davenport filled in and rushed for 123 yards and a score, and QB Ben Roethlisberger threw for 265 yards and three scores as thet team put up 425 yards of offense in the much needed win. They also held the ball for 36:16, pounding the Rams with the running game that put up 166 yards. Nate Washington caught two TD’s from Roethlisberger, who now has 32 TD throws and 11 picks.
The Rams hung in there, like they normally do, for the first half. They actually led 14-10 in the second quarter after Issac Bruce, who may have played his final home game as a Ram, caught a TD from Marc Bulger from 12 yards out. The Steelers would not quit though on offense, as they quickly moved down the field, and Roethlisberger hit Washington from 33 yards out for a score to make it 17-14. The Steelers QB hit Davenport out of the backfield for another score with 1:57 left in the half to make it 24-14. The Rams did get a field goal on the next drive from Jeff Wilkins from 52 yards out to make it 24-17.
The teams traded scores in the third quarter, as each drove down the field getting in the end zone to make it 31-24 at the end of three. The fourth quarter though belonged to the Steelers, as they allowed the Rams just 39 yards in the quarter, as Pittsburgh kicked a field goal and then got a pick from Ike Taylor returned for a score to wrap up the scoring to make it 41-24. Bulger ended the night for the Rams 18-for-35 for 208 yards with three TD’s and two interceptions.
This is not to say things were all fine and dandy for the Steelers, as they will for sure miss Parker, who was the spark plug for the running game. Plus their offensive line once again was beaten for four sacks, while the defense had just one. The Steelers defense allowed the Rams 316 yards, and 7-of-14 on third down conversions. While it was a win on the scoreboard to get them back on track, the loss of Parker cannot be understated.
Next week the Steelers (10-5) will look to wrap up the regular season with a win in Baltimore vs the Ravens. The Rams (3-12) will be on the road for their final game of the season in Arizona.