St. Louis Shutout in Pittsburgh

In the Rams final game on the road this season, they couldn’t score a point.  Despite Ben Roethlisberger sitting this one out and Charlie Batch starting in his place, the final score was 27-0.  Batch was effective for the most part, completing most of his passes while only turning it over once. Despite struggling for much of the season, Mendenhall broke out against the Rams porous run defense, going for 116 yards and adding 35 in the air.  All three of the Steelers touchdowns came on the ground, one by Mendenhall, Clay, and Redman.

Clemens struggled mightily against the Steelers secondary, completing just nine passes for under a 100 yards.  Jackson went over 100 yards on the ground, which led to his 7th straight 1000 yard season.  Quite an accomplishment for the Rams franchise player.  A good note for the Rams were that they did not turn the ball over once.  Fairly surprising considering they couldn’t score a point.

Wit this loss, the Rams have now lost 6 straight games and stand at 2-13 on the season.  Next week they face San Francisco at home to finish off the year.  The Niners have obviously had a much different season than the Rams, and stand at 12-3 as the NFC West champions.  They shut out St. Louis just a few weeks ago, so this will be a tough fight.  Clemons is likely to make his third straight start, and it is questionable how many starters will be playing big roles for the 49ers.  San Fran still has something to play for however, as they need this win to secure a first round bye next week.

Of course, with the Colts winning ways, the Rams still have a shot at the first overall pick in April.  Both teams stand at 2-13, but the Colts will hold the tiebreaker if they finish with the same record.  Indy is in Jacksonville Sunday, another team that has struggled thus far in the season and has already fired long time head coach Jack Del Rio.  It doesn’t make too much sense to speculate what will happen just yet, but almost everyone expects Andrew Luck to be the pick regardless of the who the team is.  Obviously the Colts still have Peyton Manning and the Rams still have Sam Bradford, both former #1 overall picks.

This should lead up to a very interesting off season in St. Louis.  First of all, the Rams will almost certainly be holding one of the first two picks in the next NFL draft.  They had a very disappointing season and a major overhaul could be in the works.  The first issue will likely be changes in the coaching staff.  Steve Spagnuolo has been underwhelming after a strong season last year, and his career record stands at 10-37 after three years with the Rams.  Rumors have already been spreading that Spags is out in St. Louis, and even that he will take over as new DC in Philly.  There are plenty of high profile options out there, with a few already being mentioned for the job.  OC Josh McDaniels is one possibility, but with the struggles of Bradford this year, that would be a little puzzling to promote him.  Jon Gruden was mentioned as well, but it is also reported that he will remain with ESPN next season.  Other names to consider as of now are Brian Billick, Bill Cowher, and Tony Dungy, who could all be looking to return to the coaching ranks next season.

There will likely be a lot of transactions this off season to improve the team in nearly every place.  A first priority may be resigning Brandon Lloyd who stepped up as the Rams top receiver since he was acquired from Denver.  Look for an exciting off season Rams fans.

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