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Steelers snag road win over Rams, improve to 4-2 after McVay unable to challenge play that iced the game

Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams scrambles away from T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the third quarter at SoFi Stadium on October 22, 2023 in Inglewood, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers traveled out to face the LA Rams in Week 7, but you would have never guessed they were on the road by the noise of the crowd. Terrible towels were waving in full force, as the Steelers managed a 24-17 victory on the road in Week 7 to improve to 4-2 on the season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers elected to receive the opening kickoff, but despite a strong eight-yard gain from Najee Harris on a pass from QB Kenny Pickett, the team went three and out. To their good fortune, however, the defense held the Rams’ on their opening offensive drive, forcing a punt despite starting out with a 16-yard run from RB Darrell Henderson. Henderson, having played the first four seasons of his career with the Rams before being released last October, was re-signed to the practice squad and elevated, starting Week 7 for LA. Two incomplete passes, a six-yard run, and a six-yard sack from DT Larry Ogunjobi forced the Rams to punt.

On the Steelers’ second offensive drive, they were able to achieve some ball movement, totaling 32 yards on six plays before eventually punting, held on a third-and-9 at the Rams’ 47. A deep pass to Pickens went incomplete, and punter Pressley Harvin III stepped up once again, pinning the Rams inside at their own six-yard line.

Then came the first of two missed field goals for the LA Rams. Though they continued to move the ball well with WRs Cooper Kupp and Puca Nacua, it was a missed 53-yarder that set the Steelers up for the first score of the day — a 53-yard field goal from Steelers kicker Chris Boswell. There wasn’t much offensive gas left in the tank for Pittsburgh to close out that first half, however, punting twice following the field goal while giving up nine points to the Rams, including a 41-yard field goal from kicker Brett Maher and an 88-yard touchdown drive punctuated with a 31-yard touchdown from Stafford to WR TuTu Atwell. The extra point was no good, and the Steelers took a knee to close out the half with 0:17 left on the clock.

The Rams received the ball to open up the second half after the Steelers elected to receive the opening kickoff, but it wasn’t long before it made its way back to them. As Rams QB Matthew Stafford dropped back, T.J. Watt swooped in to secure his seventh career interception. After a 24-yard return on the interception, the Steelers offense found themselves inside the Rams 10-yard line, scoring a touchdown to take the lead, 10-9.

The Rams responded quickly, executing a 75-yard drive of their own, capped off with a one-yard rushing touchdown from Darrell Henderson and a successful two-point conversion to Kupp.

With 7:30 left to go in the fourth quarter, Najee Harris ran for his first rushing touchdown of the season to cap off a 10-play, 80-yard drive with the score before getting the ball right back thanks to a three and out from Pickett & Co. The following drive, Maher missed his second field goal of the game from 51, turning over the ball to set up the Steelers third touchdown of the day. They took a 24-17 lead, and the Rams struggled to get anything else going, punting before a 43-yard drive for the Steelers ended with a successful fourth-down conversion to put the game on ice.

Whether or not that fourth-down conversion really should have put the game on ice for the Steelers could be a debate in and of itself. After all, Pickett sure did look short on the replay. However, the Rams did not have any remaining timeouts, which left McVay unable to challenge the play. The Steelers took three knees to close out the game, with McVay unable to challenge the spot of the ball without a remaining timeout. Boom. A road win, even if it did feel like a gift on technicality.