In the 2007 Edward Jones Dome finale of what can charitably be described as a disappointing 2007 season for the St. Louis Rams, the team remembered the glory days that followed the franchise’s move from Los Angeles to St. Louis. At halftime of the Rams-Pittsburgh Steelers tilt Thursday night, future Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk was honored as the team retired his number 28. It was Faulk’s first return to the Dome since his retirement. He is now part of the NFL Network’s broadcast crew.
Like the Rams-Green Bay Packers game under the Dome the pervious Sunday, it appeared and sounded at times as though there were more fans of the visiting team in the stands than there were supporters of the Rams. Many of the 65,705 in attendance even brought their "terrible towels!" And, as was the case the previous Sunday, the visiting team came out on top. Final score: Pittsburgh 41, St. Louis 24.
Pittsburgh struck first on the opening drive as Ben Roethlisberger connected with Nate Washington on a 17 yard pass to complete a 4 play, 96 yard scoring drive. Jeff Reed’s extra point made it Pittsburgh 7, St. Louis 0.
St. Louis came right back as Marc Bulger tossed a 12 yard touchdown pass to Steven Jackson to cap a 6 play, 59 yard drive. Jeff Wilkins’ PAT made tied the score at 7.
The 1st quarter ended with the score tied at a touchdown apiece, but the Steelers scored on the first play of the 2nd quarter as Reed nailed a 21 yard field goal to end a 13 play, 69 yard drive, making the score Pittsburgh 10, St. Louis 7.
The Rams came storming back, putting together a 4 play, 50 yard touchdown drive that ended with Bulger firing a 12 yard TD pass to Isaac Bruce. Wilkins’ PAT put the Rams on top 14-10.
Time for the Steelers to bounce back, and they did, scoring a major on Nate Washington’s second touchdown reception of the night as he snagged a 33 yard pass from Roethlisberger to cap a 5 play, 65 yard drive. Reed’s conversion made it Steelers 17, Rams 14.
And, the Steelers scored again on their next possession, a 12 yard pass from Roethlisberger to Najeh Davenport to cap a 10 play, 78 yard drive. Reed’s extra point made it Pittsburgh 24, St. Louis 10.
The Rams would manage another score before the end of the 1st half. Wilkins sliced the uprights from 52 yards out to put the finishing touches on a 6 play, 46 yard drive, making the score Pittsburgh 24, St. Louis 17 at the half.
Halftime saw the unfurling of Marshall Faulk’s now retired Number 28 from the rafters of the Dome. The moment was the climax to a brief ceremony, hosted by Bob Costas, that featured video clips of Faulk’s former teammates and opponents who sent congratulatory messages. Members of the Rams front office and Commissioner Roger Goodell stood alongside Faulk during the ceremony. Faulk thanked his former teammates and the fans of St. Louis for the honor. Then it was time to get back to the game.
On Pittsburgh’s first possession of the 2nd half, the Steelers went 69 yards on 10 plays, with Davenport scoring on a 1 yard run for his second touchdown of the night. Reed’s PAT made it Steelers 31, Rams 17.
The Rams weren’t about to throw in the towel – terrible or otherwise. They responded with an 11 play, 81 yard scoring drive that ended with a 23 yard TD pass from Bulger to Drew Bennett. The Wilkins extra point attempt was good and the Steelers lead was cut to 31-24.
Pittsburgh gave itself some breathing room as Reed booted a 29 yard field goal to put points on the end of a 13 play, 69 yard drive, making the score Steelers 34, Rams 24.
The Steelers put it away on the next series of St. Louis downs. Ike Taylor picked off a Bulger 4th down pass and returned it 51 yards to the endzone. Reed’s point after made it Pittsburgh 41, St. Louis 24. That’s how it ended.
On a positive note, Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce caught 7 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown, moving into third place on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards list. Bruce now has 14,070 – moving ahead of James Lofton with 14,004.
The Rams (3-12) wrap up the season Sunday, December 30th, against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Arizona.