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HometownGal
12-20-2007, 08:00 AM
Good read, but the 2007 Marc Bulger is a different QB than the Marc Bulger of 2003. He's a game past recovering from a concussion, but I've always viewed him as quite fragile. The Steelers D needs to get in his face and rattle him. Steven Jackson is the only Ram who concerns me going into tonight's game.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07354/843165-66.stm

Unpleasant memory, forget the Steelers' nightmarish performances on defense the past two weeks.

Thursday, December 20, 2007
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Deshea Townsend won't long forget a very long day on a football field. The cornerback saw his once-proud defense shredded as the opposition moved through the Steelers at will.

Last Sunday against Jacksonville? The previous week in New England?

No, those require only a short memory by Townsend and the Steelers' somehow-still No. 1 defense. The spanking he has not forgotten is the one Marc Bulger and the St. Louis Rams put on his defense four years ago in Heinz Field.

Bulger, who grew up in Greenfield and played at Central Catholic High School and West Virginia, took the Steelers' defense to school that day in 2003. He completed 22 of 37 for 375 yards in a 33-21 St. Louis victory, and his pinpoint passing is what Townsend remembers most about it.

"He had a great game. Those guys put up some big numbers."

Torry Holt, who caught seven of Bulger's passes for 174 yards that day, still leads the Rams today with 83 receptions for 1,055 yards. His partner, Isaac Bruce, has Hall of Fame-type numbers -- 933 receptions, or more than 10 current receivers whose busts reside in Canton.

Bruce and Holt have combined for 10 touchdowns and, while the Rams are no longer the Greatest Show on Turf, along with brutish back Steven Jackson (6 feet 2, 231 pounds), they can give the Steelers' beleaguered defense every bit as much trouble tonight as did the Jaguars and Patriots the past two weeks. Only the Rams can do it either through the air or behind Jackson, their first-round pick in 2004.

Jackson has 862 yards rushing, even though he missed four games with a groin injury and three quarters of another with back spasms. He had his best game of the season Sunday, rushing for 143 yards and a 6.0 average against Green Bay.

The Steelers, as always, will try to stop the run first, something they could not do at all Sunday against Jacksonville. Yet, playing the run won't be good enough against a team that can throw Bulger, Holt and Bruce at you as well.

"Those guys are really on the same page when they're out there running their routes," Townsend said. "You can tell in the way they run them. A lot of times before they even come out of their cut, the ball is in the air."

Bulger, picked ahead of Tom Brady in the same sixth round of the 2000 draft by New Orleans, is not having the kind of season that made him into a Pro Bowl quarterback, winning that game's MVP in 2004. His passer rating was above 90 in four of his previous five years as the Rams' starter. Last season, he threw for 4,301 yards with 24 touchdowns and only eight interceptions.

His line devastated by injuries, Bulger has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns for the first time in his NFL career, 11-7. And his passer rating stands at 71.1. He missed two games with a concussion before he returned to play Sunday against Green Bay.

Two of the game's best offensive linemen, tackle Orlando Pace and Todd Steussie disappeared early. Pace was placed on injured reserve and Steussie was released after foot surgery. He re-signed last month and will make his fifth start at right guard tonight.

"It's been a rough year, just because we lost Orlando and Steussie," Bulger said. "We lost four and five guys that played a lot of time for us on the line. I think three of our guys that lined up last week on our line were in the Arizona Cardinals' training camp and didn't make it through. It's been tough."

The injuries in their line, the injury to Jackson, and banged up receivers helped ruin the season for St. Louis, which lost its first eight games.

"It has been tough to get continuity," said Bulger, who has been sacked 33 times. "When you don't have a running game, they are obviously going to focus on the pass and pass rush, so it's been not only tough on me but tough on the line too because they are put in a tough situation."

But the Rams have won three of the past six and are as healthy as they have been all season as they try to help ruin one for the Steelers tonight.

Even the Steelers' offensive game plan will take into account the Rams' high-scoring potential on offense.

"Oh, yeah, there's no doubt," Steelers coordinator Bruce Arians said. "When you play an explosive offensive football team, you play to score more points. You might take a few more chances here or there rather than [playing] a team you think your defense might really shut down."

Rhee Rhee
12-20-2007, 10:34 AM
this rams team is no where near as intimidating as the 2003 team... although because stephen jackson is there im beggining to worry

RoethlisBURGHer
12-20-2007, 10:43 AM
I say whenever that man-beast Jackson gets the ball, someone needs to hit him in the back HARD. Get it tightening up and spasming...I like our chances better if he is not playing.

Steeldude
12-20-2007, 10:49 AM
if the rams use a 3-step QB drop and short passing routes the steelers are in for a long game.

fansince'76
12-20-2007, 11:14 AM
And our secondary was about 10X worse then than it is now. Anybody remember Charred Scott and DeWayne (Burnt) Washington? Not to mention that was the final year of "Timmah" Lewis and his delightful "Bend AND Break" defensive scheme.

Atlanta Dan
12-20-2007, 11:55 AM
And our secondary was about 10X worse then than it is now. Anybody remember Charred Scott and DeWayne (Burnt) Washington? Not to mention that was the final year of "Timmah" Lewis and his delightful "Bend AND Break" defensive scheme.

Unfortunately, "Bend and Break" reappeared last weekend during the 20 play drive (the game involving New England and our former starter at safety was more like "Crash & Burn") .

Lots of pre-game stories focus on the Rams only having 3 wins, but Jackson was out for a big chunk of the season - the Rams were torched by Green Bay last weekend, but they are 3-3 in their last 6 games and blew a goal line situation in one of those 3 losses to Seattle.

Any team that is 2-3 in its last 5 games & 2-4 on the road has no business being a touchdown favorite in tonight's game.