RAIDERS 34, STEELERS 31
Steelers’ record: 1-2
One year ago: 2-1
Series record (including playoffs): Raiders lead, 14-12
The last time these teams played at this venue, it was 2006, the Steelers were the defending Super Bowl champions and the Raiders were a one-win outfit. But four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns, helped the Raiders post a 20-13 victory that was a low point in the Steelers finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs. This game seemed to carry the same theme – that to win, the Raiders would need help from the Steelers.
Since Coach Mike Tomlin was the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings in 2006, he could plead ignorance to what happened the last time, but his perspective on the game sounded like it could have applied to the Steelers’ last trip here.
“The issues start with us, first and foremost,” said Tomlin. “It starts with our game readiness and preparation, and the myriad of things that go along with that. The challenge is facing the Raiders who are thirsty for a win, and they are ready to do so in front of their home fans, which always creates an extremely hostile environment for visitors, particularly us, given the history there.”
With 4:26 left in the first half, the Raiders had 75 yards of net offense – 64 of that came on Darren McFadden’s run – and were 0-for-4 on third downs. That’s when
STAT THAT STANDS OUT
By the end of the first half,
WHAT WENT RIGHT
On the first offensive play of the game, QB Carson Palmer tried to go down the seam to WR Denarius Moore, but Moore fell down on the infield dirt when he tried to plant to stop for the ball. The ball sailed past Moore, and
Three plays after Clark’s interception, the Steelers faced a fourth-and-1, and Ben Roethlisberger quickly lined up the unit over the ball. In the past, Roethlisberger has simply tried to draw the defense offside, but this time he called a play at the line – and he got the ball to a slanting
On the Raiders’ second series, on a third-and-long,
A third-and-5 turned into a punting situation for the Raiders when an attempt to get Darren McFadden outside first was strung out by OLB
WHAT WENT WRONG
Three plays after the Steelers took that 7-0 lead, a defensive breakdown led to the second-longest touchdown run of Darren McFadden’s career. The Raiders got McFadden past the line of scrimmage and between the Steelers inside linebackers, and then he made a move to get past
The Steelers’ third offensive possession was ruined by penalties.
A third-and-4 became a third-and-9 after a delay of game penalty, and then on third-and-9, a 22-yard catch by Heath Miller was overturned on a replay challenge.
The Raiders were going to need some help to stay in this game, and the Steelers provided a bunch late in the first half. First, it was Jonathan Dwyer losing a fumble that CB Joselio Hanson recovered at the Pittsburgh 30-yard line. Then on a fourth-and-2 from the 6-yard line,
After the Steelers scored on a Roethlisberger pass to Mike Wallace to open the second half and extend their lead to 24-14, Mike Goodson returned the ensuing kickoff 51 yards to jump-start an Oakland possession that ended in a short touchdown pass to Richard Gordon and a 24-21 score.
The Steelers defense was unable to do anything to stop the Raiders from the start of the second half through the middle of the fourth quarter. Oakland had three offensive possessions during that span and the offense put up two touchdowns and a field goal to forge a 31-31 tie.
On the first offensive play following the Oakland field goal that tied the game, Willie Colon was flagged for holding to set up a first-and-20.
The Steelers helped the Raiders by committing 10 penalties and being minus-1 in turnover ratio for the game.
EARLY BYE WEEK: GOOD OR BAD?
The NFL first went to the concept of a regular season bye week in 1990. For the 1993 season, each team had two bye weeks, and then there also was the era of 31 teams (1999-01) where somebody was off every weekend. In 2000, the Steelers played an opener and then had a bye, and then in both 2001 and 2002 their byes were scheduled before the end of September.
The Steelers’ bye this season comes on Sept. 30, following three games, two of which were on the road. Typically, players will admit to preferring the off week fall somewhere around the middle of the season, but there usually is good to be found in it whenever it hits the schedule.
This Steelers’ bye possibly helps them get some injured players back onto the field.
Mendenhall continues to be a full participant in practice and has had no setbacks, and Sylvester got himself back onto the field last week for the first time since having the arthroscopic procedure on his knee back when the team was still in Latrobe.