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Steelers stymie Rams' offense to take 17-12 victory in Pittsburgh

Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Football

PITTSBURGH -- The Terrible Towels were waving and a Heinz Field crowd was on its feet, imploring its defense to come up with another big play against the Los Angeles Rams.

Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick came through, intercepting a Jared Goff pass that once again put the Rams' season on the verge of possible collapse.

The 17-12 defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday ended the Rams' modest two-game winning streak and dropped their record to 5-4, ruining a homecoming for star defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

On a day when Goff had two passes intercepted and lost a fumble, the Rams put themselves in a tough spot in the NFC West and the race for a wild-card playoff spot.

Goff completed 22 of 41 passes for 243 yards and was sacked four times as the offense failed to score a touchdown. He was briefly knocked out of the game after sustaining a hit.

Fitzpatrick scored on a fumble return and sealed the Steelers' fourth consecutive victory, improving their record to 5-4.

The Rams were behind 14-7 at halftime. They began the third quarter with a couple of Goff completions to receiver Robert Woods, but the positive vibe once again changed when cornerback Joe Haden intercepted a Goff pass.

Once the Rams got the ball back, it was more of the same struggle. On second down, Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton hit Goff, forcing him to the sideline. Blake Bortles came on and was stopped short of a first down on a keeper. On fourth down, punter Johnny Hekker attempted a pass that was intercepted by Trey Edmunds.

The Rams finally appeared to get into an offensive rhythm later in the quarter. Todd Gurley ran strong and Goff completed passes to Woods, and tight ends Gerald Everett and Johnny Mundt as the Rams drove to the Steelers' eight-yard line.

But Gurley was stopped for a loss and Fitzpatrick broke up a third-down pass, forcing the Rams to settle for Greg Zuerlein's 30-yard field goal.

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