After further review: Perspective necessary amid frustration

Ben Roethlisberger had warned one and all this might be coming.

Recalling as much might ease the sting of Raiders 26, Steelers17, especially on Roethlisberger's part.

"It may not be pretty early," the Steelers' quarterback had cautioned prior to the regular-season opener against the Bills.

It wasn't in Buffalo, but it was good enough to win.

And it wasn't quite that good against the Raiders, which had Roethlisberger acknowledging what's lacking on offense at present, among other things, is a quick fix.

"We need everything," he lamented.

That would include time.

Roethlisberger held himself personally responsible for Sunday afternoon's loss, and for the offense's inability to establish much of an identity through the first two games.

"The best way to figure out an identity is for the quarterback to play better," he maintained. "There's not one thing, it just starts with the quarterback and me, I have to be better."

So, too, do the rookies the Steelers are starting at center (Kendrick Green), left offensive tackle (Dan Moore Jr.), tight end (Pat Freiermuth) and running back (Najee Harris).

So does the offense, collectively.

Particularly on days when the defense loses two starters before the game (cornerback Joe Haden and inside linebacker Devin Bush) and two more during the game (nose tackle Tyson Alualu and outside linebacker T.J. Watt), and is less capable of doing more of the heavy lifting.

The Steelers have periodically pulled off splash plays in their first two games, including a 52-yard connection from Roethlisberger to wide receiver Chase Claypool that set up the touchdown that brought them back to within two of the Raiders, at 16-14, early in the fourth quarter.

That touchdown, a 25-yard piece of catch-and-run magic from Harris, was also spectacular.

But what's been more representative is how hard the Steelers have had to scratch and claw on offense.

Harris took a handoff on first-and-10 from the Steelers' 20-yard line at the outset of the possession that produced their fourth-quarter TD and had to execute a move behind the line of scrimmage to get past defensive end Carl Nassib.

Then Harris had to lower his shoulder while taking on cornerback Damon Arnette.

Then Harris had to keep his legs churning while Nassib, defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson and eventually safety Johnathan Abram contributed to what quickly became a group effort by the Raiders' defense.

Safety Tre'von Moehrig finally arrived as the whistle was blowing.

The Raiders never got Harris on the ground, but he had to work awfully hard for 3 yards.

Another snapshot that resonated was the Steelers' second third down of the game.

Roethlisberger accepted a shotgun snap on third-and-9 from the Steelers' 46 and executed a pump-fake while in the process of eluding defensive tackle Darius Philon.

Next, Roethlisberger stepped up and past defensive end Yannick Ngakoue.

Finally, Roethlisberger threw on the run just before getting knocked to the ground from behind by defensive end Maxx Crosby, the first of 10 hits Roethlisberger would absorb on the afternoon.

Tight end Eric Ebron was unable to finish an attempt at a diving reception on the other end and the Steelers punted.

It was typical of the seven third downs the Steelers couldn't convert.

The average distance required on those was 8.7 yards per attempt, another indication not much is coming easily for the Steelers in the early going.

"It's frustrating because I put a lot of stinkin' time in, more than I probably ever have," Roethlisberger said.

More is apparently required, in preparation, in practice and in action.

The good news is there are still 15 regular-season games to play.

At 1-1, the Steelers still have time on their side.

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