Monday, December 17, 2007

Look at it this way ...

With a game Thursday evening in St. Louis, it's a short week for Steelers fans. There's less time to stew over the way the Steelers lost their last two games.

Also, by playing in St. Louis, the Steelers get one last "home" game -- with a decent chance to out-draw the Rams in their own stadium. Green Bay Packers fans did just that yesterday, prompting this report in the Associated Press:

ST. LOUIS (AP) — It took the Green Bay Packers to sell out a St. Louis Rams game.

Much of the capacity crowd at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday clearly rooted for the visiting team. Cheeseheads were everywhere and perhaps half of the stadium was clad in Packers’ green and yellow, helping the visitors feel right at home in a 33-14 victory.

“It’s a joke,” running back Steven Jackson said. “The whole first level is Green Bay Packers’ fans. It’s a joke. We were at Lambeau Field.”

It likely felt that way to the Rams, who have had four games blacked out on local television because they did not sell out. St. Louis is 1-6 at home and 3-11 overall with two games to go.

“You’re a little surprised to see more people in your house for the opposing team than for your team but you know it doesn’t make you real happy or real excited,” Rams linebacker Will Witherspoon said.

Surely Steelers fans can outnumber St. Louis fans in St. Louis, can't they? This should be a cinch. And it's a good thing, too, because the Steelers haven't played well on the road all season. The Rams haven't played well at home. The Steelers haven't played well on the road. Something's got to give.

Other tidbits about the Rams:
  • Yesterday, at home in their own stadium (filled with Packers fans), the Rams committed 13 penalties for 93 yards.
  • In 17 career starts against AFC teams, Marc Bulger (the best quarterback nobody talks about) has completed 371 of 572 passes for 4,651 yards, 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions (95.5 passer rating). When Bulger has a 95 or better passer rating, the Rams are 19-11. Bulger, a Pittsburgh native, was a standout QB at Central Catholic High School and West Virginia University.
  • When running back Steven Jackson carries the ball 24 times or more, the Rams are 8-1. In his past seven games against the AFC, Jackson has 987 yards from scrimmage (141 per game) and seven touchdowns. He looks to continue a streak of rushing touchdowns against AFC teams. A touchdown will extend that streak to five games.
  • Wide receiver Torry Holt is one of the best in football. Holt has 12 100-yard games against AFC teams in his career. His counterpart Isaac Bruce is still productive and also has had a long and extremely distinguished career.
  • Former running back Marshall Faulk will have his number (28) retired before the game Thursday evening.
  • Kickoff Thursday night is 8:15 p.m. (ET).

Again, Bah, Humbug!

Yeah, yeah, we know. This is the wrong kind of momentum to have approaching the playoffs. The Steelers can't take any opponent for granted, especially going on the road. Blah, blah. That sixth seed we mentioned as a possibility last week? It's a bigger possibility this week.

The loss to Jacksonville was not at all entirely unexpected. From their inception as an NFL franchise, the Jags were built to beat the Steelers. Jacksonville has always been a tough matchup, and yesterday was no exception as the Jags out-Steelered the Steelers.

Well, Thursday evening's tussle with the 3-11 St. Louis Rams is fast-approaching. This one at least looks like a good matchup, even if it is on the road. Right? Right?! Uh, yeah, except that's what everyone said about the earlier matchups (losses) vs. the Cardinals and Jets.