The Pittsburgh Steelers will need Ben Roethlisberger healthy in January to make another run to the Super Bowl. But they didn’t need him today to roll over the St. Louis Rams.
With Charlie Batch starting at quarterback, the Steelers beat the Rams with a ground-based attack and a stiff defense that forced quarterback Kellen Clemens into a miserable day, as the Steelers dominated, winning 27-0.
John Clay, Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman all scored rushing touchdowns for the Steelers. Rams running back Steven Jackson ran hard all day and went over 100 yards, but it was a lost cause: The rest of the Rams’ offense was awful.
For the Rams, the loss means they remain alive for the first overall pick in the draft: If they lose next week and the Colts win, St. Louis will pick first, which opens up all kinds of fascinating possibilities regarding what they would do, just two years after drafting Sam Bradford first overall. Trading the first pick to a team that covets Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck could get the Rams a bounty of draft picks.
For the Steelers, the win means they remain alive for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, although they’re going to need to win next week and get some help. And whether they get that win and that help or not, they’re going to need Roethlisberger’s ankle to heal — in the playoffs, they’ll be playing teams a whole lot better than the Rams.