PITTSBURGH – Despite a valiant effort by their defense, the Rams (5-4) were unable to complete a late comeback, falling to the Steelers 17-12 before a crowd of 63,627 at Heinz Field.
LB Dante Fowler accounted for Los Angeles' lone touchdown, off a 26-yard fumble return. Back after missing the Rams' previous three games with a broken jaw, LB Clay Matthews recorded one and a half sacks to bring his season total to 7.5. DT Aaron Donald notched half of a sack in his first regular season game played in his hometown.
Offensively, RB Todd Gurley led Los Angeles with 12 carries for 73 yards. QB Jared Goff completed 22 of 41 pass attempts for 243 yards with two interceptions. WR Robert Woods added seven receptions for a game-high 95 yards.
The Rams got on the scoreboard early thanks to a miscue by the Steelers (5-4). The snap from Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey sailed over the head of QB Mason Rudolph, and Fowler was there to scoop up the fumble and return it 25 yards for the touchdown for a 7-0 L.A. lead.
Teams traded possessions that ended in punts before the Steelers answered with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Rudolph to WR James Washington for a 7-7 tie with 34 seconds left in the first quarter. The Rams offense would manage just 48 total yards by the end of the period.
Austin Blythe started at left guard and David Edwards at right guard for the Rams, but when starting center Brian Allen got knocked out of the game with a knee injury early in the second quarter after a third down sack of Goff, they elected to shift Blythe over to center. Austin Corbett, active for the first time as a Ram, replaced Blythe at left guard.
CB Darious Williams exited the game late in the second quarter with an ankle injury and did not return.
The Rams defense came up with its second takeaway just outside of the two minute warning. However, their offense was unable to capitalize. Steelers NT Javon Hargrave's sack fumble on Goff was scooped up by safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who returned it 43 yards for the touchdown to give Pittsburgh a 14-7 lead over Los Angeles with 1:56 left in the first half.
On the ensuing drive, the Rams' offense positioned kicker Greg Zuerlein for a 56-yard field goal try with three seconds left in the half, but his attempt went wide left.
The Los Angeles Rams face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers for Week 10 at Heinz Field.
L.A.'s offense went 0 for 8 on third down and managed just six first downs in the first half.
It finally got its first third-down conversion on the first series of the second half; however, Goff would get picked off by Steelers CB Joe Haden on that same drive. The interception came when Goff tried to connect with TE Tyler Higbee down the right sideline near the Steelers 26 yard line.
Facing a 4th and 1 from their own 29, the Rams elected to go for the conversion. However, it was unsuccessful after punter Johnny Hekker's pass on the fake was intercepted at L.A.'s own 31 yard line.
The Rams defense responded with a key stop, aided by a holding penalty against the Steelers and a sack by Matthews which resulted in a five yard loss.
Though Goff took a hit to the lower body on his pass attempt on second down and was replaced by Blake Bortles on third down on the Rams' prior offensive series, he would return for their next one. Anchored by tough running from Gurley, including a 22-yard carry, Los Angeles reached the Pittsburgh 12 and settled for a 30-yard field goal by Zuerlein which reduced its deficit to 14-10 with 11 seconds left in the third quarter.
While the Rams' defense would get another stop early, the ensuing drive saw their offense go 3-and-out. The ensuing punt by Hekker pinned the Steelers at their own 5 and set up a safety via Matthews and Aaron Donald combining for the sack, trimming Los Angeles' deficit to 14-12 with 12:46 left.
Getting the ball on the ensuing free kick, L.A.'s offensive drive stalled at its own 38, forcing it to punt again. However, the Rams defense was able to hold the Steelers to a 33-yard field goal by kicker Chris Boswell, keeping it a one-possession game at 17-12 Pittsburgh with 2:46 left.
Keyed by a 30-yard kickoff return by JoJo Natson, the Rams marched all the way down to the Steelers 30 but were forced to go for it on 4th and 10. The conversion was unsuccessful after Goff's pass intended for WR Josh Reynolds fell incomplete.
L.A.'s defense would come up clutch, though, getting another key stop while armed with all three timeouts. It would use all three, but still forced Pittsburgh to punt.
Given one more chance to mount a comeback, Goff's pass intended for Woods was tipped and intercepted by Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, ending the Rams' shot a rally.