INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris rushed for touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and the Pittsburgh Steelers awoke from a quiet offensive day just in time for a 24-17 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
Kenny Pickett passed for 230 yards and another score for the Steelers (4-2), who had just 110 yards in the first three quarters at SoFi Stadium.
Pittsburgh’s only early touchdown came after TJ Watt intercepted Matthew Stafford’s first pass of the second half and returned it inside the Los Angeles 10, setting up Pickett’s TD sneak.
Much-maligned coordinator Matt Canada’s offense finally found some holes in the Los Angeles (3-4) defense in the fourth quarter, recording three long drives that culminated in two touchdowns and a chance to run out the clock. George Pickens caught four of his five balls for 107 yards in the second half.
Pickett had a generous advantage after the two-minute warning and converted a four-and-1, securing Pittsburgh’s first franchise victory over the Rams in Los Angeles.
Coach Sean McVay was unable to challenge the questionable pitch because the Rams were out of timeouts and the play occurred just outside the 2-minute window that would have resulted in a locker room review.
Stafford passed for 231 yards and hit Tutu Atwell for a 31-yard touchdown just before halftime for Los Angeles, which fell to 1-3 at home.
Rookie sensation Puka Nacua had eight catches for 154 yards, but the Rams struggled with consistent drives after halftime, scoring no points on their final three drives and managing just 20 yards in the fourth quarter. Brett Maher also missed two long field goal attempts and an extra point.
Darrell Henderson rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown in his season debut for Los Angeles, while Royce Freeman rushed for 66 yards. Henderson was released last November after three-and-a-half seasons with the Rams, and the Super Bowl winner was out of the league this fall until LA re-signed him last week when its top two running backs were sidelined with injuries late in the win over Arizona.
Both offensive players battled for consistent possession in the first half until Los Angeles launched an 88-yard drive just before halftime, capped by Atwell’s long TD catch, which appeared to have fumbled in front of a pass intended for Cooper Kupp the advised Stafford had cut off.
Pittsburgh managed just 91 yards of offense in the first half and failed to convert a third down.
Watt had no tackles in the first half, but the star pass rusher slipped into coverage to open the second half and intercepted a pass intended for Kupp for the seventh time in his career, giving him a career-high 24 yards receiving. Pickett scored three plays later.
Los Angeles responded smartly with a 75-yard drive, including an exceptional 32-yard toe-tap catch by Nacua and a 1-yard TD run by Henderson.
Pittsburgh tied the score at 13:49 when Diontae Johnson’s 39-yard catch set up Warren’s 13-yard scoring run.
The Rams play in Dallas next Sunday.