The Steelers and the Rams had one of the lowest-scoring games of the week. The Steelers came out on top with a score of 12-6 in a battle that was very different from the previous week's blowout against the San Francisco 49ers. A win is a win, but let's evaluate the Steelers by position.
It's hard to evaluate this position without thinking of the devastating injury to Ben Roethlisberger. Even without that injury, this game was not Big Ben's strongest performance. While he had some characteristically excellent plays, he also made an uncharacteristically bad pass that resulted in an interception. He was not on his "A" game today. He hit 13 of 16 passes for 160 yards before he was hurt.
Backup Michael Vick was in briefly after Roethlisberger was carted off. He had several missteps that could have been costly. He threw a near-interception and fumbled the ball. Both times he lucked out with the Rams defender dropping the ball and a teammate recovering the fumble. Still, he did not lose the game for the Steelers.
Receivers and Tight Ends: A-
Again, this wasn't the Steelers team of last week. Nonetheless, Antonio Brown continued to demonstrate why he is the best receiver in the NFL. Brown finished the game with 108 yards, a statistic that would have been higher had Ben Roethlisberger remained healthy and able to play. Markus Wheaton had one memorable catch during which he was blown up by a defender and managed to hang on to the ball. Heath Miller did not have a lot of plays, but they were important. One set up a field goal, and during another he drew a pass interference call that set Le'Veon Bell up for the lone touchdown of the game.
Running Backs: B-
The best running back performance of the season was DeAngelo Williams in Week 1. It is just Week 3, though, and this was Le'Veon Bell's first game of the year. His return to the field was delayed due to a league-imposed suspension. Bell had a few excellent runs, but did not hit the field as the Le'Veon "Juice" Bell, the Man, the Legend, he had hoped to be and was, to a large extent, last season.
Against the Rams he ran for 62 yards on 19 carries. He had two impressive plays. The rest were very short-yardage runs.
I'd like to give Bell bonus points for that uncannily acrobatic leap he did near the end zone, but there are no points for style here.
Offensive Line: C-
The offensive line was one of the weakest links during Sunday's game. The run blocking continued to be poor. It also couldn't hold up as well under pressure from the Rams front seven. Ben was under pressure throughout the game, and the offensive line appeared virtually ineffectual going into the sack that caused his injury. The offensive line also lose points for avoidable penalties.
Defensive Line: B+
Overall, the defense did well during the game. They seem to be improving every week. That trend needs to continue since they will be carrying more of the weight in Big Ben's absence. Tackling was more effective, but there were a few times plays could have been stopped earlier and were allowed to continue. DE Stephon Tuitt had a particularly good game, consistently putting pressure on Foles.
Sean Spence and Lawrence Timmons both had big games. Ryan Shazier was on the sidelines, arm in a sling. Though his speed and energy were missed, Spence and Timmons filled in for their injured teammate more than adequately. As a unit, the linebackers helped hold the Rams running backs, including Tre Mason and Todd Gurley, to well under 100 yards.
The Steelers secondary played aggressively and effectively against the Rams. The secondary that showed up against the Rams is a unit that has evolved from a near-disaster into a true asset. Will Allen's late-game interception was critical to the outcome of the game, especially with Big Ben injured. Both the cornerbacks and safeties tackled effectively and, more importantly, were on the same page. Part of their success is because of the men up front, but it is clear the Steelers secondary has been putting in work and is committed to improving throughout the season.
Special Teams: B
Half of the Steelers points came from Josh Scobee who made two field goals with ease. Scobee did a decent job on kickoffs, while punter Jordan Berry showed why he deserved the starting spot over Brad Wing. There wasn't much in the way of returns, but coverage looked a lot better this week. The longest punt return was 20 yards. Not ideal, but also not terrible.