Willie Parker entered the game tops in the league in carries but it only took him one against the Rams to sideline him for the season.
Parker's fractured fibula marred what was otherwise a stellar game for the offense, in which Ben Roethlisberger put up his NFL record-tying third perfect passer rating of his career and Najeh Davenport put up 123 yards on a career-high 24 carries. Davenport and Carey Davis will likely be joined by Gary Russell as the only backs remaining on the roster going forward. Najeh ground it out well today, even doing what Willie had struggled to do: score touchdowns.
Santonio Holmes was a huge catalyst for Ben's big day, hauling in four catches for 133 yards, including an 83-yard catch on the Steelers' first offensive play. Nate Washington somehow put together his second multiple TD game of the season, scoring his second and third TDs in the last two games.
The defense still looked overmatched against the running game, giving up 85 yards on 12 carries to Steven Jackson. Meanwhile, Marc Bulger was only sacked once and under little pressure under the Steelers had amassed a two-score lead late in the game, all against a patchwork Rams' line. Deshea Washington, though getting beat for the Rams' last touchdown, played well down the stretch, applying a critical pressure on Bulger and breaking up several passes before Ike Taylor took a pick to the house.
Pittsburgh's blockers gave up another four sacks, having Ben be one of the many Steelers looking banged up by the end of the game. At one point, he, Najeh and Silverback were being attended to on the sideline. The durability issues have to be a concern for Davenport, with 24 carries being a career high and already seemingly wearing him down.
With the defense still reeling from the loss of Aaron Smith, now the offense must retool its own approach with Willie going down. The Steelers are now only a win over the Ravens away from taking the division, but find themselves with critical gaps on both sides of the ball.