Rams let opportunities get away

That turnover “was just a killer,” said McVay. On the day Stafford completed 14 of 29 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown, that was the lone interception. But he didn’t complete a pass in five attempts in the fourth quarter. 

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Luka Nacus tries to fend off Steelers cornerback Joey Porter Jr. in Sunday’s game in SoFi Stadium. (Photo: AP)

 

By Earl Heath 

Contributing Sports Writer

 

“You can’t always get what you want,” are lyrics from a Rolling Stones song. That may be true but the Los Angeles Rams sure had a chance to get a back-to-back wins at home against a tough Pittsburg team and get what they want a win.  

Instead they fell to the Steelers 24-17 in front of 73,471 fans at So-Fi stadium that included several hoisting Terrible Towels. The team was hoping to build on a solid 26-9 win over Arizona the previous week. 

In the second quarter Mathew Stafford hit Tutu Atwell on a 31-yard strike. That completed an 8 play 88 yard-drive. The key play was Stafford connecting with rookie Puca Nacua for 36 yards on a third and three. Brett Maher missed the PAT and the RAMS led 9-3 at the half.  

The miss was the beginning of the end for Maher. He would later miss a field goal from 53 yards and later hit the left upright on a 51-yard miss. A couple of days later he was released by the team. 

“The NFL is very challenging to get wins on a consistent basis,” said coach Sean McVay. “We’ve got to figure it out on a more consistent clip, I think we can and will.” 

The RAMS (3-4) looked for a bright second half but on the first play of the third quarter, Watt stepped in front of a Stafford pass intended for Kupp. The 2021 NFL defensive player of the year returned the interception 24 yards to the Rams’ seven-yard line. Steeler QB Kenny Pickett’s took it in on a third-down sneak from the one that put the Steelers up. 

That turnover “was just a killer,” said McVay. On the day Stafford completed 14 of 29 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown, that was the lone interception. But he didn’t complete a pass in five attempts in the fourth quarter. 

Highlights for the Rams Royce Freeman first carry was for nine yards the third quarter. He finished the day with 66 yards on 12 carries. They were his first carries in the league in more than a year. He and veteran xx Henderson (610 combined for 127 rushing yards trying to fill the void of the inactive Kyren Williams. 

Rookie Puca Nacua made several big plays to set up Henderson’s one-yard touchdown run, and Stafford’s two-point conversion pass to Kupp gave the Rams a 17-10 lead. Puca finished the day with 8 catches for 158 yards. 

In the fourth quarter, Steelers running back Jaylen Warren scored to tie the game, 17-17. 

Pickett connected with receivers George Pickens and Diontae Johnson several times during an 80-play drive that featured the too-many-men-on-the-field penalty against the Rams and ended with Najee Harris’ short touchdown run for a 24-17 lead. Harris a Nor Cal native from Antioch had 53 yards on 14 carries. Pickett finished the day completing 17 of 25 for 230 yards and no interceptions. 

The Rams (3-4) had more total yards on 350 to 300.Led in time of possession by 4:00-Out rushed the Steelers 145 to 68. And only had five penalties for 40 yards. 

Next up for the Rams is a trip to Dallas this week to take on the Cowboys. 

ADD RAMS: After releasing veteran kicker Brett Maher early this week the Rams have signed a replacement, Lucas Havrisik, off the Cleveland Browns practice squad. Havrisik, the second-year placekicker out of Arizona, has yet to kick in a regular season after spending last season on the Indianapolis Colts practice squad before a brief stint with the Browns.. 

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