Steelers aging defense no match for young (and happy) feet

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On Sunday, the host Oakland Raiders renewed their rivalry with the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers. The Raiders jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and never really looked back as they won, 21-18, in an ugly game.

Third year quarterback Terrelle Pryor ran 93 yards (on an option read where he faked a handoff to running back Darren McFadden) to score a touchdown, a new NFL record for longest TD run by a QB. Second year wide receiver Rod Streater helped when he had a big block against safety strong safety Troy Polamalu, giving Pryor a huge hole to run through and he did easily with his amazing speed.

Pryor finished with 106 yards on 9 carries, it was his second 100 yard rushing game this season.Terrelle Pryor

Oakland (improved to 3-4) was coming off a bye and had 2 weeks to prepare for the Steelers (dropped to 2-5) while Pittsburgh was trying to extend their winning streak to three games after beating the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens in back to back games. It was the first win for the Raiders following a bye since 2002.

The offensive line (that has been injury plagued all season) did a better job of protecting him than they did against the Kansas City Chiefs when he was sacked 9 times. The Steelers managed just 2 sacks.

Oakland ran for 197 yards on 38 carries (5.2 yards per carry), running back Darren McFadden was a workhorse as he ran for 73 yards on 24 carries and a pair of TD’s. Pittsburgh’s always vaunted run defense has slipped this season after losing free agent linebacker James Harrison to the Cincinnati Bengals, among many others they lost to free agency. The Steelers came into the game ranked 19th against the run in yards allowed.

Pryor completed 10 of 19 passes for 87 yards, no TD’s and 2 interceptions. He continues to learn from his mistakes as he gains valuable experience in his first full season as a starting quarterback. And playing against the 4th best pass defense (allowing just 197 yards per game) definitely was a huge test for Pryor, which showed he needs to continue to progress and improve.

The Raiders led, 21-3 at halftime and never really were threatened until the Steelers scored a pair of TD’s in the final quarter and attempted an onside kick, which Oakland recovered.Big Ben

Oakland’s defense got to Roethlisberger often as they ended up with 5 sacks, rookie linebacker Sio Moore had 2 and defensive Lemarr Houston recorded 1 sack (2 tackles for a loss). Defensive tackles Vance Walker and Darryl Muir also sacked Roethlisberger.

Pittsburgh was unable to get any sort of running game going against the much improved Raiders run defense. They managed just 35 yards on 19 carries, forcing Big Ben to throw the ball too much. He completed 29 of 45 passes for 275 yards (6.1 yards per attempt), 1 TD and the 2 INT’s. The Raiders defense was able to get to and rattle Roethlisberger without a running game to take some pressure off him.

The one concern the Oakland coaching staff should have is the team getting off to a hot start and seemingly fading on offense as the game continues past the first half. Oakland has outscored their opponents, 83-64, but been outscored 86-43 in the second half. This is an area they need to address and try and turn around.


Game notes

-Oakland improved to 7-3 against Pittsburgh in Oakland (9-5 overall at home) and 12-9 overall in the all time series among the two teams.

-Cornerback Mike Jenkins intercepted Roethlisberger and also forced a fumble, cornerback Tracey Porter recovered it.

-Pryor’s 93 yard TD run broke the team record of longest run ever, set by RB Bo Jackson in 1987. It also broke Kordell Stewart’s 80 yard TD run that was the previous NFL record.

– Steeler kicker Shaun Suisham missed two field goals, killing any momentum Pittsburgh may have had going.

-The game was very physical and Pittsburgh lost 3 more offensive linemen, left guard Ramon Foster (concussion) and right guard David DeCastro (ankle injury), plus backup left guard Guy Whimper (knee injury) during the course of the game.

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Big time sports fan of the Lakers, Raiders, Angels and Dodgers. From 1990-1995, I worked at the Glendale News-Press and I had a blast. I covered mainly high school sporting events and Glendale Community College athletic events, but also attended Dodgers, Raiders, and Rams games. I also write for Joel Huerto (former co-writer and editor at the GNP) at I watch a lot of sports on TV (basketball, football, usually just postseason MLB) and UFC.

1 Comment

  1. Was not a classic Steeler / Raider black and blue game but entertaining just the same. Wish the Steelers could have pulled one out…

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