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(Saturday, December 24th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 27, St. Louis 0
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - The Steelers didn't need Big Ben to beat the Rams. Rashard Mendenhall and a lock-down defense was more than enough.
Mendenhall rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown and Charlie Batch played well in place of Ben Roethlisberger, leading Pittsburgh to a 27-0 victory over St. Louis on Saturday.
The playoff-bound Steelers (11-4) also got rushing touchdowns from John Clay and Isaac Redman, bouncing back from a loss to San Francisco on Monday to win for the fifth time in six games.
Despite playing without Roethlisberger, who was finally sidelined by a high ankle sprain he suffered two weeks ago, Pittsburgh locked up a 7-1 home record for the season.
Batch had thrown just two passes this season before Saturday, but was 15-of-22 for 208 yards with an interception, hitting seven receivers in the win.
"Charlie's a veteran guy. We've won games with him in the past," said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. "If need be, we'll win games with Charlie in the future. We're comfortable with our depth at quarterback."
Sam Bradford missed his fifth game of the season for the Rams (2-13) because of a high ankle sprain and Kellen Clemens got his second straight start, passing for just 91 yards on 9-of-24 completions.
St. Louis has lost six games in a row since its last win November 13 over Cleveland.
The Steelers remained tied for first place in the AFC North with the Ravens, who beat Cleveland. Baltimore, with two wins over Pittsburgh this season, could have clinched the division with a victory and a Steelers loss.
The lone bright spot for St. Louis was Steven Jackson, who surpassed 1,000 yards rushing for the seventh consecutive season, a team record. He ran 24 times for 103 yards. Josh Brown missed two field goals in the loss.
"It's special," Jackson said of his latest 1,000-yard season. "My guys fought hard for me. They really dug in to help me achieve this and I'm really grateful for that."
Shaun Suisham kicked a 21-yard field goal on Pittsburgh's first possession for the only points the Steelers would need. The 76-yard drive was sparked by Mendenhall's 35-yard catch-and-run after Batch floated him a pass on the left sideline.
The first two possession of the second quarter ended in a Rams fake punt that came up a yard short and Batch's interception to Josh Gordy.
But the half's biggest play was Mendenhall's 52-yard run down to the 10-yard line to set up Clay's touchdown on the next snap for a 10-0 Steelers lead with 6:50 remaining.
Clay, a rookie promoted from the practice squad, scored on his first career NFL carry.
Brown missed a 52-yard field at the end of the half for St. Louis and the Steelers extended their lead to 13-0 on Suisham's 49-yard field goal at the end of a 42-yard drive to start the third quarter.
Later, the Rams had a 14-play drive that bled into the fourth quarter, but Brown missed a 33-yard field goal attempt wide right.
Mike Wallace's 46-yard catch with Gordy all over him set up Mendenhall's one- yard touchdown to make it 20-0. Wallace's catch was originally ruled a TD, but overturned after replay showed he was down before the goal line.
Redman added a two-yard touchdown run for the final margin.
"This is a game we expected to win. I think people expected us to win it," said Steelers safety Ryan Clark. "We didn't do anything Earth-shattering. We didn't do anything that's going to win us the Super Bowl, but we got the win."
Pittsburgh ends its season at Cleveland next week. The Rams are at home against the 49ers...Steelers offensive lineman Doug Legursky was hurt on Pittsburgh's first drive while running downfield to block. Legursky was starting at center for Maurkice Pouncey (ankle), who missed his second straight game...Batch made just his seventh start in nine seasons with the Steelers.
12/24 17:43:32 ET
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