By Ron Johnson
Steelers 24 — Rams 17
I am a football fan. I love when games are back and forth. While I was happy about the Rams leading in the game against Pittsburgh, it was the end to it that lit a fire under me enough to tell the NFL to suck it.
If you saw the same replay that everyone in the country saw, you would know.
Despite giving up the lead late in the game, the Rams still had a chance to get it done late in the fourth quarter. But despite Steelers QB Kenny Pickett clearly being a yard short of the first down on 4th and 1, the refs decided to give the Steelers the first down and allow them to run out the clock to defeat the Los Angeles Rams 24-17.
The Steelers relied on touchdowns from Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris in the fourth quarter to help them get the job done. But Pickett was no slouch himself as he passed for 230 yards and ran for a touchdown of his own.
As for the Rams, it was slacking as usual as Matthew Stafford threw a pick to TJ Watt early in the game. Despite this, Stafford finished the day with 231 yards on 14/29 yards passing. The ground game for the Rams was medium at best but not the same without Kyren Williams in the lineup. Royce Freeman finished with 66 yards on 12 carries, while returning Ram Darrell Henderson, Jr. finished with 61 yards on 18 carries.
The aerial assault of the Rams only saw one major impact as rookie Puka Nacua continued to do what he does and finished up with 154 yards on eight catches, Tutu Atwell was only targeted twice in this game but was able to get 31 yards on his one catch as well as a touchdown. Cooper Kupp felt the pressure of the Steelers as he only caught two passes for 29 yards while being targeted seven times in this game.
The defense is trying to come together as Michael Hoecht led the way with seven tackles and a pair of sacks. The sack party was absent as the Rams could only garner the two sacks from Hoecht. Brett Maher had an off day as well as he missed two of his three field goals on top of missing an extra point in this game.
Both offenses were having issues in the first half of the game, but the second half was where the fireworks started up.
On the plus side for the Rams, Nacua continues to make a name for himself. Including this game, Nacua has 58 catches in his first seven games and is now tied with the Giants’ Saquon Barkley. If that wasn’t enough, his 752 yards only placed him two yards behind the Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase for most receiving yards in their first seven NFL games.
While one can get on Stafford for the turnover and the offense’s lack of execution until the second half, this game will always come down to the fact that the officials clearly need glasses. Yes, I’m aware that the NFL has a reputation for fining those who choose to berate the officials, but personally, I could care less. The NFL needs to know that their officials have been costing teams win in the regular season and the playoffs. They have cost teams playoff spots, division crowns, even Super Bowls. Eventually, it has to end. If these officials cannot clearly see something, even with a little Microsoft Surface in their hands, then either get some glasses or get off the field.
There is zero excuse for what happened at the end of the game. There’s a giant screen in the middle of the field that is showing the exact spot of the ball. Despite this, the refs chose to give the first down. So if the Rams do not make the playoffs this year, they don’t have to blame Stafford. They don’t have to blame the mundane offense. They don’t even have to blame the injuries of key players or the mediocrity surrounding both sides of the ball.
All they will have to do is look at the refs, give them the finger, tell them they suck and be on their way.
The Rams next challenge will be next Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.