Monday, October 28, 2013
Terrelle Pryor's 93-yard touchdown run on the game's first play from scrimmage was a tone setter for the Raiders.
It put Pittsburgh's defense on its heels for the remainder of a first half which saw Oakland build a 21-3 lead.
Oakland had 244 total yards in the first half and finished with 279. I'm no math whiz, but that looks like 35 yards in the final two quarters.
But the damage, thanks to that Pryor run and Zoltan Mesko not fielding the snap cleanly, which led to a little pressure by Rashad Jennings on David Paulson turning into a partially blocked punt that gave the Raiders the ball at the Pittsburgh 26.
It appeared that had Robert Golden not immediately fielded the punt - he appeared to think it was a live ball - it might have traveled another 10 to 15 yards.
But hey, once again, the Steelers defense could have stopped an opponent on a short field, but did not.
Those failures to come up with stops on quick changes have been killers this season.
@ Pittsburgh won the turnover battle and lost for the first time since Oct., 2010 against Baltimore. For a team that doesn't get many turnovers, that's a true killer.
@ Pryor completed 10 of 19 passes for 88 yards and two interceptions, a passer rating of 25.7. And won.
He won because he broke Kordell Stewart's record for a touchdown run by a quarterback of 80 yards.
In fact, I feel like I had seen Pryor's performance 100 times before because I saw every start Stewart made for the Steelers in person.
Everything about Pryor's game Sunday looked like Stewart, from the great runs to the overthrown passes that turned into interceptions.
Pryor was 6 of 11 passing for 43 yards when the Steelers kept him in the pocket. Problem was, they didn't do it nearly enough in the first half, thanks to that 93-yard run.
@ Down 11, Ben Roethlisberger wasted a timeout on second-and-three at the Oakland 12 because he was too busy arguing for what he thought was a horse collar tackle on Le'Veon Bell.
That timeout sure would have come in handy even if the Steelers had been forced to kick a field goal in that situation. They scored a touchdown, instead, to cut the lead to 21-18 after also getting a two-point conversion.
Pittsburgh used both of its remaining timeouts and Oakland ran its third-down play with 1:10 remaining. By the time the Raiders punted, because the Steelers were out of timeouts, they got the ball back with 18 seconds remaining.
Roethlisberger said that he and Mike Tomlin will talk Monday about whether it's more important to take a delay penalty in that situation or use the timeout.
How about this? Let the officials call the game and keep playing. Then, you don't have to worry about whether a penalty is called or not. I've yet to see an official, 20 seconds after a play is over, decide that he did, indeed, see a penalty because a player pleaded with him.
But, if Roethlisberger is going to argue, he's got to take the penalty in that situation rather than burning a timeout.
@ Shaun Suisham has missed five field goals in the past season and a half, but each one of them has been costly.
That's the way things go when you count on winning games by three.
@ I'll be shocked if Mesko is still on this team by the end of this week. After all, somebody has to take the fall for this disaster. Why not the JV punter?