"No disrespect to him, he's not Antonio Brown," Ramsey said before Sunday's game. "I matched up with Antonio there for two years, and that was a good battle, and I held my own in those battles, and yeah, now I'm going up against a different person, different body type, different receiver a little bit. He can make plays."
The Steelers young wideout has had gone through growing pains this season, in part due to struggling QB play and in part because he's getting far more attention from defenses than when Brown was in town.
On Sunday, the Rams threw Ramsey at JuJu at times, and at others doubled him with bracket coverage. The third-year pro was held to three catches and 44 yards on six targets. It was the fourth time in nine games Smith-Schuster has posted fewer than 50 yards, including back-to-back weeks.
"He talks a lot," Smith-Schuster said of Ramsey. "He talks so much. He said so many cuss words I've never heard of, and I'm 22 years old. He's a good player, man.
"It's a lot different than him being in Jacksonville, where he's able to do whatever he wants. Over here, he has to pretty much do what he's told. He has to listen to [Eric] Weddle. It's different. It's a great experience. I wish we had more balls thrown at us, but it's hard when you're double-teamed."
"He knows that he's going to attract that attention, flies, going into the game," quarterback Mason Rudolph said. "We understand that someone else is going to step up. Diontae's been doing it all year for us. James has been coming along the last couple games and making some big-time conversion catches. I think it just allows us to have more threats at the receiver position and maybe not allow them to double JuJu going forward."
With the Steelers hopping into playoff position, the play of the offense will be placed further under the microscope as the intensity picks up in the last half of the season. Pittsburgh will need its No. 1 wideout to be more than a decoy down the stretch if the Steelers are to cling to that postseason bid.