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Pittsburgh Steelers at LA Rams Game Day Preview

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Steeler Nation is a world-wide army that follows the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers. The Six-Time Super Bowl Champions are a franchise whose tradition dictates a standard of excellence, and their fans expect nothing less year in and year out. Those very same ideals translate to the ultimate Pittsburgh Steelers Game Day Preview, a guide that all Steelers fans read weekly to learn everything they need to know about their team and weekly opponent!

Mike Drakulich, the man behind Pittsburgh SportsNation (@PghSportsNation), who covers both Pitt football and the Steelers for NGSC Sports, brings you inside the huddle for both teams providing all NFL fans with The PSN Game Scoop, Score Prediction, Broadcast Information, and a complete breakdown of each team.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) at Los Angeles Rams (3-3)

 

NFL Week 7

Vegas line: LA Rams -3.5

Game-time: Sunday, October 22nd, 4:05 PM

Venue: SoFi Stadium, Santa Clara, CA.

  • Field: MatrixTurf

Weather at kickoff: Indoor Stadium

 

The Pittsburgh SportsNation Game Scoop

The NFL season is seven weeks old, and despite having one of the most anemic offenses in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers somehow sit at 3-2 as they head to the West Coast to face the Los Angeles Rams (3-3) at SoFi Stadium this Sunday at 4:05 PM.

The Steelers are coming off their bye, and in the two weeks they have had to prepare for the Rams, many in Steeler Nation are hoping the issues plaguing this team were addressed by head coach Mike Tomlin.

Don’t hold your breath.

Matt Canada is still the offensive coordinator. Despite just about every expert seeing how futile Canada’s offense is, Tomlin just ignores the elephant in the room and spews his normal round of bull when he meets after games or during his Tuesday press conferences.

Right now, the Steelers are the only winning team with a point differential in the negative, that being at -31, as they have been outscored 110 to 79.

That stat is unsustainable if this team hopes to keep winning.

Overall, the offense is ranked 31st in total yards, averaging 289.4 yards per game.

Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, by comparison, averages 312.7 yards per game himself through the air.

The Pittsburgh passing game is ranked 25th, while the rushing attack is ranked 28th.

To boot, the Steelers have yet to record a rushing touchdown.

Zero.

That’s unbelievable to even comprehend, especially with the Steelers history of playing physical football, and pounding the ball down your throats with the likes of Franco Harris, Rocky Bleier, Merril Hoge, Jerome Bettis, and LeVeon Bell, to name a few.

Canada’s offense is no doubt predictable, but there is plenty of blame to go around, including the offensive line, thought to be upgraded in the offseason, but not playing close to the level of talent they possess.

It would certainly help if Broderick Jones, the highly touted rookie the team moved up in the draft to acquire, was starting at left tackle, as he did the previous game against Baltimore–and played well might we add, but will reportedly return to backup status behind Dan Moore.

The Steelers drafted a mountain of a tight end in Darnell Washington, but even with Pat Freiermuth sidelines, has yet to be utilized in the passing game.

Kenny Pickett has been magical in making some great 4th quarter comebacks during his tenure as starting quarterback, but has looked lost in the pocket most games, playing below average, and not completing passes to his receivers when they are open.

Maybe Pickett is surprised to see open receivers when he does look downfield, as most of the time Pickett’s passes are outside the numbers and considered a combat catch with a small window to complete the pass.

When is the last time you’ve seen a Steelers receiver catch a pass, in stride, across the middle of the field?

“We can get better in all areas. And those are our intentions,” Tomlin said about his beleaguered offense. “Whether it’s strategy or schematics, whether it’s how we divide the labor up or technique relative to our positions, that’s been our agenda. We realize that we’ve absorbed some negativity based on performance. We’re man enough to absorb that negativity and stay singularly focused on what’s required to change it.”

Don’t talk about it… do it! It’s like what Tuco said in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, “If you’re gonna shoot, shoot. Don’t talk!”

Defensively, why the hell is Joey Porter, Jr. not starting?

Why are the Steelers so reluctant to play their rookies?

Have they not noticed Rams 5th round pick Puca Nacua? All he’s done is catch 50 passes for 598 yards and two touchdowns. If he were with Pittsburgh, he’d be lucky to have three receptions.

The word on the street is the coaches don’t think Porter, Jr. is up to speed when it comes to tackling. Last I checked, it was Porter’s job to keep opposing receivers from getting the ball, which he has pretty solid at during his short career. In the previous game vs the Ravens, Porter, Jr. saved this team with a huge interception in the endzone covering Odell Beckham. If the Ravens scored a touchdown there, the Steelers would be sitting at 2-3.

Since the coaches haven’t done much to improve the offense, it’s taken players like Najee Harris and center Mason Cole to do their own homework to get this offense rolling.

“I wanted to bring a lineman in to talk about what I’m seeing, what those guys are seeing,” Harris said, “what it is exactly we all can work on to help the team and the offense and our identity.”

One way the passing game could open up would be Harris, and fellow RB Jaylon Warren actually establishing a competent running game.

“It wasn’t like we changed concepts,” Cole said. “It was more like looking at different details, whether it’s splits, alignments, aiming points, landmarks. I think we found some tweaks, some things we can work on, some things we can change.

“Hopefully, it will make us better.”

Harris and Cole believe Canada will implement their ideas.

“He was really receptive,” Harris said about Canada. “It’s going to be in his game plan. Stuff we talked about is happening now.”

Time will tell.

The Rams come into this game after pasting Arizona 26-9 last week.

Matt Stafford has passed for 1,667 yards, but has only six touchdown passes, and has thrown five interceptions. He has been sacked 16 times, so the Pittsburgh pass rush behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith should be licking their chops.

Stafford has a trio of talented receivers, none better than Cooper Kupp, who missed the first four games, but has amassed 15 receptions for 266 yards and a touchdowns in two games. Rookie Puca Nacua, as mentioned, leads the team and the league with 50 catches. Speedy Tutu Atwell is a deep threat and has caught 25 passes for 309 yards. Don’t sleep on tight end Tyler Higbee whi has 20 receptions for 294 yards.

The Rams are hurting at running back, as rookie Zach Evans gets the start with starter Kyren Williams out, as is his backup in Ron Rivers.

The Rams also signed Royce Freeman and Darrell Henderson to spell Evans.

Defensively, the Rams are anchored by Penn Hills and Pitt legend Aaron Donald. The future Hall of Famer has only 2.5 sacks this year, but remains a force to be reckoned with.

Crazy as it may sound, Pickett and the Steelers offense should look much better with Diontae Johnson returning from injury. With Johnson back, that should enable either him or George Pickens to get some one on one opportunities. It will be up to Pickett to elevate his game.

We shall see if the extra brainstorming by Harris and Cole will pump some life into the rushing attack. The Rams defense allows 122.1 yards per game on the ground, which is 22nd in the NFL, so LA can be ran on if the Steelers commit to the run game.

The Rams have totaled only 10 sacks on the year, so the offensive line should be able to provide time in the pocket for Pickett.

With SoFi Stadium set to be taken over by Steeler Nation, this will be a semi home-road game. If the Steelers can get out to an early lead, and even find a way to extend a lead to double digits, the defense can pin their ears back and do what they do best in attacking the quarterback.

The best plan on defense would be to keep the Rams run game contained, focus on limiting Nacua, and keep Kupp in front of the defense by bending, but not breaking them for any splash plays.

Expect a typical Steelers slugfest type of game that comes down to execution in the 4th quarter, with the Steelers holding off the Rams for a hard fought victory.

This game is huge, and is there for the taking. With a win, Pittsburgh would improve to 4-2 with three straight home games upcoming against the Jaguars, Titans, and Packers.

Prediction: Steelers 24 Rams 20

 

 

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TV: Fox (Local: WPGH-TV channel 803 on Xfinity)

  • Announcers: Adam Amin (play-by-play) Daryl Johnston (analyst) | Pam Oliver (field reporter)

Local Radio: Pittsburgh- 102.5 WDVE-FM & 970 WBGG-AM

  • Announcers: Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play) Craig Wolfley (analyst) | Max Starks (sideline) Missi Matthews (sideline)

National Radio: N/A

  • Announcers:

Internet broadcast: Steelers Nation Radio (SNR) on Steelers.com

NFL Links

 

Scouting the Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Overall record: 3-2 (2nd in AFC North)

Last Game: Steelers 17 Ravens 10

Head Coach: Mike Tomlin

  • 17th Season with Steelers
  • Overall regular-season record: 166-95-2
  • Playoff record: 8-9 (Qualified for playoffs 10 times)

Team Links

 

STEELERS OFFENSE

Offensive Stats

  • Points per game: 15.8 (30th)
  • Total yards per game: 289.4 (31st)
  • Passing yards per game: 209 (25th)
  • Rushing yards per game: 80.4 (28th)

 

QUARTERBACK

Kenny Pickett | #8

Pickett added another 4th quarter comeback to his total with a 17-10 victory over the Ravens. Pickett will have a full compliment of weapons available this week with Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth returning. Matt Canada’s horrible offense aside, Pickett needs to improve his pocket awareness and hit his open receivers.

Passing Yards: 1,027 | TD Passes: 5 | INT’s: 4 | Sacked: 14

Rushing Yards: 12 | Rushing TD’s: 0

 

Back-up: Mitch Trubisky | #10

Passing Yards: 18 | TD Passes: 0| INT’s: 0 | Sacked: 0

Rushing Yards: 0 | Rushing TD’s: 0

 

RUNNING BACKS

Najee Harris | #22

Harris is getting better each week, showing signs of why the Steelers made him a first round selection. Will play even better if the line improves their run blocking as well.

Rushing Yards: 247 | Rushing TD’s: 0

Receptions: 5 | Receiving Yards: 37 | Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Jaylon Warren | #30

Warren has been getting more carries, and with good cause, as he always finds a way to get positive yardage. Warren has become a weapon catching passes out of the backfield.

Rushing Yards: 124 | Rushing TD’s: 0

Receptions: 21 | Receiving Yards: 166 | Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Anthony McFarland | #26

Rushing Yards: 0 | Rushing TD’s: 0

Receptions: 2 | Receiving Yards: 11 | Receiving TD’s: 0

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Diontae Johnson | #18

Johnson back after missing the last four games, and should make an immediate impact.

Receptions: 3 | Receiving Yards: 48 | Receiving TD’s: 0

 

George Pickens | #14

Pickens leads the team with 22 receptions for 393 yards. 

Receptions: 22 | Receiving Yards: 393 | Receiving TD’s: 2

 

Allen Robinson II | #11

Receptions: 17 | Receiving Yards: 137 | Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Calvin Austin III | #19

The shifty receiver could be utilized in a variety of ways in a competent offense, but…

Receptions: 12 | Receiving Yards: 143 | Receiving TD’s: 1

 

TIGHT ENDS

Pat Freiermuth* | #88

To say Freiermuth has been under utilized is… well, the understatement of the season. Unfortunately, Freiermuth reinjured his hamstring in practice, and may be out longer than expected.

Receptions: 8 | Receiving Yards: 53 | Receiving TD’s: 1

 

Conner Heyward | #83

Receptions: 5 | Receiving Yards: 42 | Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Darnell Washington | #80

The world awaits “Mount” Washington to be utilized in the Steelers passing attack. 

Receptions: 1 | Receiving Yards: 10 | Receiving TD’s: 0

*Injured/Out

 

STEELERS DEFENSE (Base 3-4)

Defensive Stats

  • Points per game allowed: 22 (20th)
  • Total offense yards per game allowed: 389.4 (30th)
  • Passing yards allowed: 245.6 (25th)
  • Rushing yards allowed: 143.8 (29th)
  • Sacks: 17 (12th)
  • Interceptions: 5 (10th)

 

DEFENSIVE LINE

DT: Keeanu Benton | #95

Tackles: 13 | Sacks: 1

NT: Montravius Adams | #57

Tackles: 13 | Sacks: 0

DE: Larry Ogunjobi | #99

Tackles: 12 | Sacks: 1

 

LINEBACKERS

OLB: T.J. Watt | #90

Tackles: 15 | Sacks: 8 | TD: 1

ILB: Cole Holcomb | #41 or Kwon Alexander | #54

Tackles: 34 | Sacks: 0              Tackles: 34 | Sacks: 1

ILB: Elandon Roberts | #50

Tackles: 31 | Sacks: 0

OLB: Alex Highsmith | #56

Tackles: 19 | Sacks: 2 | INT: 1 | TD: 1

 

SECONDARY

CB: Levi Wallace | #29             

Tackles: 21 | Sacks: 0 | INT: 2

FS: Minkah Fitzpatrick | #39

Tackles: 41 | Sacks: 0 | INT: 0

SS: Keanu Neal | #31

Tackles: 24 | Sacks: 0 | INT: 0

CB: Patrick Peterson | #20

Tackles: 15 | Sacks: 0 | INT: 1

NICKLE: Damontae Kazee | #23

Tackles: 18 | Sacks: 0 | INT: 0

 

STEELERS SPECIAL TEAMS

PLACEKICKER

Chris Boswell | #9 

Extra Points: 5-5

Field Goals: 10-10

  • 1-19 yards: 0-0
  • 20-29 yards: 2-2
  • 30-39 yards: 1-1
  • 40-49 yards: 4-4
  • 50+ yards: 3-3

 

KICKOFF RETURNER

Anthony McFarland, Jr. | #26

Average: 30.3 | TD Returns: 0

 

PUNT RETURNER

Calvin Austin III | #19

Average: 5.0 | TD Returns: 0

 

Scouting the Los Angeles Rams

 

Overall record: 3-3 (3rd in NFC West)

Last game: Rams 26 Cardinals 9

Head Coach: Sean McVay

  • 7th Season with Rams
  • Overall regular-season record: 62-41 | 62-41 with Rams
  • Playoff Record: 7-3

Team Links

 

RAMS OFFENSE

Offensive Stats

  • Points per game: 23 (12th)
  • Total Offense per game: 387.7 (5th)
  • Passing yards per game: 297.5 (3rd)
  • Rushing yards per game: 108.2 (17th)

 

QUARTERBACK

Matt Stafford | #9

Stafford has thrown for plenty of yards this season, but has only six touchdowns to his credit. With Cooper Kupp back, it’s only a matter of time before he starts adding to that total. The Steelers defense will look to delay that for another week.

Passing Yards: 1,667 | TD Passes: 6 | INT’s: 5 | Sacked: 16

Rushing Yards: 51 | Rushing TD’s: 0

 

Back-up: Brett Rypien | #11

Passing Yards: 0 | TD Passes: 0 | INT’s: 0 | Sacked: 0

Rushing Yards: 0 | Rushing TD’s: 0

 

RUNNING BACKS

Kyren Willams* | #23

Williams is the lead back, but is out this week.

Rushing Yards: 456 | Rushing TD’s: 6

Receptions: 13 | Receiving Yards: 105 | Receiving TD’s: 1

 

Ron Rivers* | #20

Rushing Yards: 57 | Rushing TD’s: 0

Receptions: 4 | Receiving Yards: 18 | Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Zach Evans | #21

Evans will get the start with both Williams and Rivers out.

Rushing Yards: 10 | Rushing TD’s: 0

Receptions: 0 | Receiving Yards: 0 | Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Royce Freeman | #24

Rushing Yards: 0 | Rushing TD’s: 0

Receptions: 0 | Receiving Yards: 0 | Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Darrell Henderson, Jr. | #27

Rushing Yards: 0 | Rushing TD’s: 0

Receptions: 0 | Receiving Yards: 0 | Receiving TD’s: 0

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Cooper Kupp | #10

Kupp is one of the best receivers in the game, grabbing 15 catches for 266 yards in his first two games of the season. What will the Steelers defense do to keep him under wraps? Perhaps the guy they drafted at #32 could help. 

Receptions: 15 | Receiving Yards: 266 | Receiving TD’s: 1

 

Puca Nacua | #17

Pacua has exploded onto the scene as a rookie in sunny Los Angeles, leading the team with 50 receptions for 598 yards and a pair of scores.

Receptions: 50 | Receiving Yards: 598 | Receiving TD’s: 2

 

Tutu Atwell | #5

Atwell has game breaking speed and is a deep threat in the Rams passing game. His numbers have come down since Kupp returned.

Receptions: 25 | Receiving Yards: 309 | Receiving TD’s: 2

 

Demarcus Robinson | #15

Receptions: 0 | Receiving Yards: 0 | Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Brian Skowronek | #18

Receptions: 2 | Receiving Yards: 13 | Receiving TD’s: 0

 

TIGHT ENDS

Tyler Higbee | #89

Higbee doesn’t get much fanfare as one of the better tight ends, but he keeps putting up better than average numbers when the ball is thrown his way.

Receptions: 20 | Receiving Yards: 234 | Receiving TD’s: 0  

 

Brycen Hopkins | #88

Receptions: 2 | Receiving Yards: 26 | Receiving TD’s: 0

*Injured/out

 

RAMS DEFENSE (Base 4-3) 

Defensive Stats

  • Points per game allowed: 19.5 (11th)
  • Total offense yards per game allowed: 330.3 (13th)
  • Passing yards allowed: 208.1 (13th)
  • Rushing yards allowed: 122.1 (22nd)
  • Sacks: 10 (28th)
  • Interceptions: 3 (21st)

 

DEFENSIVE LINE 

DE: Jonah Williams | #92

Tackles: 21 | Sacks: 1

DT: Kobie Turner | #91

Tackles: 18 | Sacks: 1

DE: Aaron Donald | #99 

Tackles: 25 | Sacks: 2.5

 

LINEBACKERS

OLB: Byron Young | #0

Tackles: 24 | Sacks: 3

ILB: Ernest Jones | #53

Tackles: 63 | Sacks: 1

ILB: Christian Rozeboom | #56

Tackles: 29 | Sacks: 0 | INT: 1

OLB: Michael Hoecht | #97

Tackles: 27 | Sacks: 0.5

 

SECONDARY

CB: Derion Kendrick | #1

Tackles: 25 | Sacks: 0 | INT: 0

SS: Jordan Fuller | #4

Tackles: 39 | Sacks: 0 | INT: 0

FS: Russ Yeast | #2

Tackles: 27 | Sacks: 0 | INT: 0

CB: Cobie Durant | #14

Tackles: 24 | Sacks: 0 | INT: 0

 

RAMS SPECIAL TEAMS

PLACEKICKER

Brett Maher | #8

Extra Points: 12-12

Field Goals: 16-20

  • 1-19 yards: 0-0
  • 20-29 yards: 3-3
  • 30-39 yards: 4-4
  • 40-49 yards: 6-8
  • 50+ yards: 3-5

 

KICKOFF RETURNER

Austin Trammell | #81

Average: 20.0 | TD Returns: 0

 

PUNT RETURNER

Austin Trammell | #81

Average: 6.4 | TD Returns: 0

 

 

STEELERS vs RAMS HISTORY

Series History: Began in 1938

Overall Record: 10-17-2

  • Home: 7-6-1
  • Away: 2-11-1
  • Postseason: 1-0

Streak: Steelers won the last four games.

Last regular-season meeting: Steelers Win, 17-12 (Nov. 10, 2019)

Last postseason meeting:  Super Bowl XIV- Steelers Win, 31-19 (Jan. 20, 1980)

 

INJURY REPORT (10/20/23)

Pittsburgh Steelers

IR: DE Cam Heyward

Out: No. 88 TE Pat Freiermuth (Hamstring)

Doubtful: None

Questionable: None

 

LA Rams

Out: DT Larrell Murchison (Knee), RB Kyren Williams (Ankle)

Doubtful: None

Questionable: LB Ernest Jones (Knee), WR Ben Skowronek (Achilles), DB Derion Kendrick (NIR – Personal)

 

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About Post Author

Mike Drakulich

From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team. There's nowhere on earth that is more dedicated to its sports teams like Western Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh. The passion and pride of Pittsburgh's fan base is second to no one. From the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA football and basketball, to W.P.I.A.L. high school sports, "The City of Champions" has it all! As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides top notch opinions and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers football & basketball, Robert Morris Colonials basketball, and Duquesne Dukes basketball, as well as all sports teams that represent Western Pennsylvania, including WPIAL High School Football. For a refreshing view of sports, mixed with humor and uncensored opinions, check out Pittsburgh SportsNation today on Facebook, Twitter @PghSportsNation and videos with over 1,000,000 views on YouTube!
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Mike DrakulichYour source for Pittsburgh sports!
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.

There's nowhere on earth that is more dedicated to its sports teams like Western Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh. The passion and pride of Pittsburgh's fan base is second to no one. From the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA football and basketball, to W.P.I.A.L. high school sports, "The City of Champions" has it all!

As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides top notch opinions and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers football & basketball, Robert Morris Colonials basketball, and Duquesne Dukes basketball, as well as all sports teams that represent Western Pennsylvania, including WPIAL High School Football.

For a refreshing view of sports, mixed with humor and uncensored opinions, check out Pittsburgh SportsNation today on Facebook, Twitter @PghSportsNation and videos with over 1,000,000 views on YouTube!
author

Mike Drakulich

From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team. There's nowhere on earth that is more dedicated to its sports teams like Western Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh. The passion and pride of Pittsburgh's fan base is second to no one. From the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA football and basketball, to W.P.I.A.L. high school sports, "The City of Champions" has it all! As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides top notch opinions and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers football & basketball, Robert Morris Colonials basketball, and Duquesne Dukes basketball, as well as all sports teams that represent Western Pennsylvania, including WPIAL High School Football. For a refreshing view of sports, mixed with humor and uncensored opinions, check out Pittsburgh SportsNation today on Facebook, Twitter @PghSportsNation and videos with over 1,000,000 views on YouTube!

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