The Oakland Raiders began the game explosively offense with Terrelle Pryor’s galloping 93 yard touchdown run from scrimmage and the defense seemed to respond in kind. Once the Pittsburgh Steelers got the ball back, Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offense when absolutely nowhere. In the first half, they were 0-7 on third downs and tallied only eight yards on the ground. Frankly, the Steelers looked pathetic on offense the first half and it was all because of an outstanding defensive front.
Along with stuffing Le’Veon Bell, the Raiders constantly harassed Roethlisberger rushing him out of the pocket and most importantly, throwing him to the ground. Lamarr Houston, who has been the team’s best pass rusher, was active as ever and got a sack on Big Ben in the second quarter. He also managed to throw Bell back for an important loss of yards. Along with Houston, rookie linebacker Sio Moore had ferocious game, sacking Roethlisberger three times and looking like a grave threat throughout. Considering that the Raiders had two clumsy interception turnovers in the first half, the defensive front seven was resolute and tenacious in denying the Steelers turning those mistakes into anything significant.
In the second half the Steelers began with a well-worked drive that lasted 16 plays, 9 minutes, and ended in absolutely nothing thanks to a short shank from place kicker, Shaun Suisham. Prior to Suisham’s second miss of the day, the Raiders did not contain Bell and the Steelers running game quite as well as they did in the previous period. However, Roethlisberger was again under duress at times by Sio Moore as the linebacker made his third sack of the game. Following the miss field goal and a quick three and out for the Raiders, Pittsburgh’s second shot at six points in the third quarter ended rapidly. After a few meager plays, Nick Roach stepped up big on third down, swatting away a pass form Roethlisberger and forcing the Steelers to punt.
When the Steelers got the ball back, Roethlisbeger was rushed by Daniel Muir who powered through the line and forced the Steelers quarterback to throw an ill timed bomb downfield to Emmanuel Sanders. The pass was picked of by Mike Jenkins. Jenkins contribution was immense as the cornerback was also able to force a fumble late in the game.
After that, you would think the Raiders would hold on to win the game convincingly. Not the case. The Raiders offense continued to do nothing, putting the defense in another horrid situation with little room to breath. The defensive line rushed Roesthlisberger but failed to tackle Big Ben in their own territory, he made a spin move on Houston and dunked it off to Emmanuel Sanders for a touchdown. When the Steelers got the ball back, the Raiders had some encouraging plays such as Vance Walker and Daniel Muir sacking Roethlisberger. Jason Hunter got hit right in the chest for a potential game ending interception, but failed to hold on.
Bell ran in a touchdown late when the Raiders showed pass on the goal line and Pittsburgh converted miraculously on the ensuing two-point conversion. But it was not enough to deny the Raiders their third win of the season.
The Raiders defense played great today and did a fantastic job to make life uncomfortable for Roesthlisberger. However, if the Raiders’ offense had some semblance of a second half, this game could have been won without a nervous ending. Other factors like Suisham’s missed kicks come into play, but if the Raiders defense had been off the mark too, the Raiders would be looking at another loss after the bye.
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