Steelers: Rams defense will need to pick their poison


The Rams have one of, if not the best, front sevens in the NFL. Their front office has worked diligently over the years to rebuild their defense. The Rams have drafted 6 out of their front 7 defensive starters in either the first or second round.

This emerging defense includes DE Chris Long (2008 first round pick), DT Aaron Donald (2014 first round pick), DT Michael Brockers (2012 first round pick), DE Robert Quinn (2011 first round pick), OLB Akeem Ayers (signed as a free agent in 2015), MLB James Laurinaitis (2009 second round pick), and OLB Alec Ogletree (2013 first round pick). As good as these players are, they must face this truth, on Sunday they will have to pick their poison.

Poison #1: Le’Veon Bell. I have him as the most dangerous poison this Sunday. Here’s why: He’s coming off a two-game suspension, so I think he’ll play with a chip on his shoulder, a BIG chip. Mix his anger in with what he’s capable of, it would give any defense nightmares the night before.

In 2014, he rushed for 1,361 yards and had 8 rushing touchdowns. Bell is also a huge threat in the passing game. He had 854 receiving yards and 3 receiving touchdowns last season. Not only can he run your usual RB pass routes, he can also run every route a receiver can.

You might think that Bell would be eased back into his starting role, but that’s not the case according to Mike Tomlin,

"“I am going to play Le’Veon Bell, if 26 is available to use we are going to use him.”  Uh-oh."

Poison #2: Antonio Brown. I mean, do I need to say anything else? Alright, I’ll continue. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Now he’s the best receiver in the league. In 2014, he had 129 receptions (career high), 1,698 receiving yards (career high), and 13 touchdowns (career high).

He can also throw the ball. He completed 2 of 2 passes and threw for one touchdown. Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB Alterraun Verner had this to say about Brown,

"“Some guys might be possession guys. Some people might just be a deep threat, but him you gotta worry about everything. He’ll go deep on you, he’ll catch the short routes, he’ll go intermediate. He’s one of the toughest guys I know, and he catches almost everything. He’s one of the hardest I ever had to guard.”"

Heads up, secondary.

Poison #3: Ben Roethlisberger. The one who has the tallest neck on this Three Headed Monster. In 2014, Big Ben threw for 4,952 yards (career high), which tied the league lead, tossed 32 touchdowns, and had only 9 interceptions. Ben is also one of the hardest quarterbacks to bring down. He’s one of the best at eluding defenders, extending plays, and keeping his eyes downfield. Ravens HC John Harbaugh had this to say about Big Ben,

"“I think he changes the dynamic of the game, no doubt about it. He is deadly accurate on the move.”"

I think the Rams defense will want to keep their heads on a swivel come game time.

I’m not a huge fan of guaranteeing wins before a game is played, but I’ll do it for the sake of fun.

I think the Steelers win this game, but it won’t be easy. The offensive line will have their hands full with that front four. I think the O-line must set the tone early by punching that D-line in the mouth and not letting up until the final whistle.

Since Pouncey is out, I expect Aaron Donald to test center Cody Wallace at the first snap. Wallace must make this the best game of his career.

The Steelers will leave St. Louis with a 2-1 start and the final score being:

Steelers 34, Rams 14

Here we go, Steelers! Here we go!

Next: Steelers great offseason pickups

More from Still Curtain