Numbers tell tale of dominance

The numbers told the story, from the 3-for-3 efficiency in the red zone to the 7-for-14 performance on third downs to the season-high 431 total net yards amassed.

But perhaps more telling was this:

All new kicker Shaun Suisham had to do was handle kickoffs and points-after-touchdowns.

And perhaps even more revealing was this assessment from Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly regarding the Steelers' offense:
"They came out trying to enforce their toughness on us."

The Steelers did all of the above in a 35-3 whipping of Oakland last Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.

Their quarterback maintained they could have done even more.

"It's a good job of bouncing back and playing well, but we left a lot out there," Ben Roethlisberger said. "It wasn't our best performance by any means. I don't know how many yards were negated because of penalties, but it had to be a lot.

"That's just not us. We killed ourselves today. We were good enough in all phases to still win."

Coming off a performance in which they had managed three points through three quarters in a Nov. 14 loss to New England, the Steelers shook things up offensively.
They benched right guard Trai Essex in favor of Ramon Foster. And they dressed rookie receivers Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders in the same game for the first time and deployed them in a five-wide receivers, empty set a couple of times.

They also unveiled a throwback from wide receiver Antwaan Randle El to Roethlisberger that was followed by a pass down the field to wide receiver Hines Ward (it fell incomplete) and several other subtle adjustments, which included, according to Randle El, altered blocking schemes.
"We wanted to come out and be aggressive," Randle El said. "We had some packages."

The aggressiveness started up front, where center Maurkice Pouncey and guard Chris Kemoeatu opposed Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour for two quarters prior to Seymour getting thrown out of the game for slugging Roethlisberger. Seymour finished with two tackles, a statistic that suggested Pouncey and Kemoeatu more than held their own.

"We prepared for him really hard," Pouncey said. "We know what kind of ability he has to mess everything up inside. We knew we had to play good football."

Added Kemoeatu: "(Pouncey) feeds off me and I feed off him. It's all about playing to the whistle."

Another encouraging development was the 52-yard catch-and-run touchdown produced by wide receiver Mike Wallace, who scored a Santonio Holmes-like TD (catching a short pass, putting his foot in the ground to shake one defender and then using his speed to take it the distance) for the first time among Wallace's eight receiving touchdowns.

"My coaches are always talking about that," Wallace said. "I just tell 'em, 'Give me the ball. I'll gain a lot of yards if I don't score."
Roethlisberger wound up finding nine different receivers on his 18 completions, including a 16-yard hookup with running back Isaac Redman that produced Redman's first career touchdown.

Ward's return from being knocked from the New England game with a concussion was also a welcomed development.

"The little things that he did getting guys in and out of the huddle, getting the formations, blocking everything that he did shows where we are going," Roethlisberger said. "Just because he didn't have big stats (three catches, 28 yards), he still put on a heck of a performance.

"That's what we need from guys who have been here before."

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