Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Steelers vs. Rams

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Steelers vs. Rams

Article excerpt

WHEN THE STEELERS HAVE THE BALL

Key performers: DT Aaron Donald, DE Robert Quinn, DE Chris Long, LB Alec Ogeltree, LB James Laurinaitis, CB Janoris Jenkins

Who's hot: The defensive line features five No. 1 draft picks -- Donald, Quinn, Long, Michael Brockers and Nick Fairley -- and they are most effective when they get opponents in typical pass-rush situations. Since the start of the 2012 season, they have 145 sacks, second most in the league behind Buffalo (147).

What's been working: Ogletree had 18 tackles against the Redskins, the most by a Rams player since London Fletcher had 21 versus the 49ers in 2001, and leads the team with 29. He has developed into a productive outside linebacker who ranks second in the league in forced fumbles since 2013 (10). Quinn, his teammate, is first with 13.

Game plan: The Rams will try to pressure Ben Roethlisberger, who wasn't sacked by the 49ers and did a good job getting rid of the ball quick. He will need to do more of that against the pressure supplied by the Rams' defensive front. Because of their upfield pursuit, the Rams will leave themselves open to long runs by Le'Veon Bell.

Keep an eye on: Right OLB Akeem Ayers has been slowed by injury and appeared for just nine plays against the Seahawks. So the Rams will use former Tampa Bay safety Mark Barron off the bench and employ him like a linebacker in their nickel defense.

WHEN THE RAMS HAVE THE BALL

Key performers: QB Nick Foles, RB Todd Gurley, WR Tavon Austin, WR Kenny Britt, TE Jared Cook, RT Greg Robinson

Who's hot: Nick Foles completed eight passes of 20 yards or longer in his debut against the Seattle defense, the most by a Rams quarterback since Marc Bulger had 11 against the Steelers in 2003. However, it was just the opposite in the loss to Redskins when the Rams had just 213 yards offense and only one play longer than 16 yards.

What's been working: The Rams have tried to get their running game working by drafting five running backs in the past four years, including Todd Gurley of Georgia with the 10th overall pick this year. But Gurley has been hurt and yet to play for the Rams. Tavon Austin has 57 yards on eight plays.

Game plan: Jeff Fisher-coached teams ideally like to be power running teams, but the Rams are very young on the offensive line. …

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