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Black & Gold Time Capsule: Steelers-Rams matchup history and more ahead of Week 7

A Super Bowl and some super players…

Super Bowl XIV Darryl Norenberg-USA TODAY Sports

After a restful bye week, the Steelers head west to Sofi Stadium to face the Los Angeles Rams at 4:05 on Sunday. The last time the Steelers took the field, they temporarily took over first place in the AFC North with a win over the Baltimore Ravens. Before they try to build on a 3-2 start to the season, let’s take a look at some history against the Rams.

Steelers vs. Rams matchup history

Being in different conferences, the Steelers don’t see the Rams very often. They have met 27 times over the past 85 years, with only 14 meetings in the last 50. The Rams built a 12-1-2 series edge before facing the Steelers in the Super Bowl in January of 1980. Since then the Steelers hold a 9-3 record against them, including wins in the last four games.

They last met in 2019 with the Steelers winning a low-scoring defensive affair 17-12. The game would feature a fumble returned for a touchdown by each team and a Mason Rudolph to James Washington touchdown pass. Other not-so-famous Steelers to score in the more recent Rams games include kicker Josh Scobee, wide receiver Nate Washington, and running backs John Clay (?) and Najeh Davenport.

The biggest game between these two franchises was obviously Super Bowl XIV. In the fourth quarter, Terry Bradshaw hit a 73-yarder to John Stallworth for his second touchdown pass and Franco Harris added his second rushing touchdown as the Steelers overcame a 17-19 deficit, winning it 31-19. Bradshaw duplicated his 300-yard MVP performance from the previous Super Bowl, joining Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr as the only players ever to win back-to-back Super Bowl MVP awards.

Rams changes for 2023

The Rams assembled a Super Bowl championship roster for the 2021 season by signing high-priced free agents and trading away premium draft picks. The bill for that Lombardi Trophy has come due. For 2023 they have $74 million of salary cap space used on players no longer with the team. With so little cap remaining available, they were almost completely inactive during the free agency signing period. They still have a quality veteran trio in quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Cooper Kupp, and defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Those three big names are surrounded by plenty of youth and inexperience. The Rams were without a first-round pick in this year’s draft, but they did wheel and deal their way to 15 total picks. 14 of those 15 draft picks made the roster along with three undrafted free agents. Left guard Steve Avila, wide receiver Puka Nacua, and edge rusher Byron Young have been rookie starters since Week 1. Nacua was a fifth-round pick and is currently tied for the NFL receptions lead with 50.

Family Ties: Steelers-Rams connections

  • Steeler wide receiver Allen Robinson was acquired via a trade with the Rams just before this year’s draft. He is a part of their $74 million dead cap hit.
  • Kevin Dotson was traded from the Steelers to the Rams after the preseason. Dotson has started the past three games at right guard.
  • Former Steeler cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon signed with the Rams in June and has started every game.
  • Linebacker Kevin Greene played eight seasons with the Rams before his three seasons in Pittsburgh which would include two Pro Bowls and one All-Pro honor.
  • Running back Jerome Bettis played three seasons with the Rams before his 10 for the Steelers which would include four Pro Bowls and one All-Pro honor.
  • Offensive tackle Wayne Gandy played four years with the Steelers after five seasons for the Rams.