In the last couple of years, we'd seen a couple streaks get broken. The Raiders 4 game winning streak in Denver was broken last year. The 6 game winning streak in Arrowhead was broken earlier this season. And as the Raiders entered Sunday's game vs the Steelers there were a couple more streaks on the line - Pittsburgh hadn't won in Oakland since 1995, Big Ben going 0-3 in his career at O.co games; and the Raiders haven't won after the bye week since 2002. One of these streaks was going to be broken at games end.
The Raiders got the ball to start the game and immediately had a holding penalty on the opening kickoff. The drive began at the 7 yard line. First play of the game, Pryor fakes to McFadden and Pittsburgh bought it hook line and sinker. There was a hole the size of the grand canyon for Pryor to run through taking it 93 yards for a TD. The longest play from the line of scrimmage in Raiders history and the longest run by a QB in NFL history. Great start to the game.
The Raiders held Pittsburgh to 3 and out on their next two possessions, and a blocked punt gave the Raiders the ball on the Pittsburgh 26. Nice pass to Denarius Moore set up a touchdown by DMC.
The Raiders forced another punt and got the ball back, only to hand it back to Pittsburgh on a bad throw by Pryor that was picked off on 3rd down. Sio Moore got a sack and the Raiders defense held Pittsburgh to a field goal.
Raiders and Steelers trade punts and Jacoby Ford (who came in as a returner for Taiwan Jones who had a hard time fielding punts) promptly muffs the ball and Pitt recovers on the Oakland 22 - but after review it was ruled the ball was never touched by Ford so the Raiders retained possession. DMC had a nice 20 yard run with great blocking by Reece, and then he scored a TD on a direct snap that looked to be a designed passing play but was well covered so he ran it in.
Lamar Houston got a nice sack on Pittsburgh's next possession and the Raiders forced another 3 and out. Brice Butler dropped a pass that turned into an interception and the defense held Pittsburgh to a field goal attempt that was missed right before the end of the half. 21-3 Raiders.
Pittsburgh opened up the second half with a nine minute drive that included another sack by Moore. Mike Jenkins kept the drive alive with a 15 yard face mask penalty and then Suisham attempted another FG that he missed again, wide right. The Raiders held the Steelers to zero points in the 3rd quarter. Then Jacoby Ford fumbles, Pittsburgh recovers and Big Ben throws a TD to Emanuel Sanders.
It's now 21-10 Raiders, and at this point I'm realizing the Raiders haven't scored since the 2nd quarter either...
The defense continued to play great, Vance Walker and Daniel Muir each had sacks, Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter each had interceptions. But the Raiders just kept going three and out. They had one, ONE first down in the 2nd half. Pittsburgh scored again on a short run by Bell with a 2 point conversion and it was 21-18 with 1:24 left. The Steelers kicked on onside kick that was recovered by Oakland on the 47, but the Raiders STILL couldn't get a first down to finish out the game. They had to punt it to Pittsburgh who, with no time outs left, was unable to score again.
I feel like the Raiders were lucky to win this game. Had Suisham made those two chip shot field goals, the outcome would have been different. The defense played amazing despite being on the field for the majority of the 2nd half. A disturbing trend of lack of 2nd half adjustments is occurring - the team just comes out stale after the half.
A win is a win and I'm glad they got it, but the conservative play calling almost lost the game. I know the oline is bad, but if that's the case, perhaps so many runs up the middle shouldn't be called.
The Raiders face the Eagles at home next week - another game that they have a good chance to win. Let's see how they handle it. Go Raiders!