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In the Steelers favor, that’s how. The Steelers dominated in every facet of the game on Sunday. And especially so in the matchups that we highlighted headed into this contest.
Raiders Rush Offense vs Steelers Rush Defense
By halftime, the Steelers were up 18 points, which made the running game a moot point. The Raiders came out passing and got a field goal on the first drive. From that point on, they failed to get any rhythm offensively. They wound up with 61 yards on 16 carries. A number that looks even worse when subtracting Gradkowski’s 12 yard scramble. That leaves them with, 49 yards on 15 carries.
Steelers Pass Rush vs Raiders Pass Protection
With the Raiders trailing the Steelers were able to unleash their blitz. And it was effective. The Steelers were in the face of the Raiders QBs all day. They ended with six sacks. Two by James Harrison.
Raiders Pass Rush vs Steelers Pass Protection
The Raiders ended the day with two sacks, but they came nowhere near applying the consistent pressure that Pittsburgh did. Roethlisberger had time to throw the ball and when he was forced to break the pocket he either made a play with his arm or feet. In fact, with 55 yards rushing, Big Ben out-rushed the Raiders’ RBs.
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) – Ben Roethlisberger threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns, and the Pittsburgh defense stymied Oakland all day in a 35-3 rout at Heinz Field. The Steelers (7-3) were coming off their worst home loss in nearly a half- decade, having lost to New England, 39-26. After giving up 453 yards to the Patriots last week, Pittsburgh allowed the Raiders just 182 total yards of offense on Sunday.
Roethlisberger completed 18-of-29 passes and also ran for a score to help Pittsburgh keep pace with Baltimore atop the AFC North standings after the Ravens beat the Panthers. Mike Wallace caught three passes for 116 yards and a score, while Emmanuel Sanders also caught a touchdown pass. Rashard Mendenhall ran for 59 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
Oakland’s Jason Campbell struggled to find a rhythm, completing only 7-of-19 passes for 70 yards with an interception before being replaced in the third quarter. Bruce Gradkowski finished the game with 98 yards passing and an interception for the Raiders (5-5), who fell a game behind the Chiefs in the AFC West after Kansas City beat the Cardinals.
Check out our game stream for more details on today’s game and more information on the Raiders and the rest of the AFC West today and tomorrow.
The rout is officially on as the Pittsburgh Steelers have taken a 28-3 lead on the Oakland Raiders early in the fourth quarter. The Raiders had a promising drive going that looked to cut into the Pittsburgh lead as Bruce Gradkowski and Michael Bush combined to lead Oakland down to the Steelers 24 yard line.
However, Troy Polamalu picked off a poor Gradkowski pass intended for Jacoby Ford. Polamalu returned the ball to the Steelers 46 and things quickly got ugly. After Mewelde Moore picked up a couple yards on a rush off the left tackle, Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace hooked up for a 52-yard touchdown reception highlighted by some impressive moves by Wallace after the catch.
The Raiders were hoping to use this game as a springboard towards a potential division title but they are struggling mightily. Jason Campbell was ineffective and finally benched in the third quarter and the Raiders defense has given up way too many big plays. While the Raiders have benefited from a ton of Steelers penalties, they really haven’t capitalized on the free yards.
While the Steelers continue leading 21-3, the Oakland Raiders have made a move to try and shore up what has been a continually ineffective offense today. QB Bruce Gradkowski, who led the Raiders upset of the Steelers last year, has replaced Jason Campbell at QB late in the third quarter.
Campbell’s day would appear to be over after completing 7 of 19 passes for 70 yards, one interception, and only one third down conversion. Prior to Gradkowski entering the game, the Raiders had accumulated 64 yards of total offense. The only reason the Raiders haven’t been worse is because the Steelers have 148 penalty yards in accepted penalties (a Steelers offsides was just declined).
This has been an incredibly ugly game thus far and the announcers were accurate in calling it a bar room brawl. The Raiders defense has done just enough to keep the team remotely in the game, although inconsistency has ledt to 21 Steelers points. The Raiders have begun moving the ball behind Gradkowski and just made a big 24-yard gain on the ground thanks to Michael Bush. The Raiders suddenly find themselves on the Steelers 24. If they can get a touchdown on the board soon they’ll be right back in this game.
Today’s matchup between the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers is officially getting ugly. The Steelers forced a turnover courtesy of a Louis Murphy fumble after a catch and have now turned it into another touchdown, giving them a 21-3 lead. Ben Roethlisberger connected on a 22 yard touchdown pass with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
It was at this point that things got interesting. The touchdown was followed by defensive tackle Richard Seymour shoving Roethlisberger in the face as the Steelers celebrated the touchdown. He was immediately ejected from the game and will likely face a fine from the league.
Things could not be going much worse for the Raiders right now as they can’t get anything going on offense and haven’t been able to consistently stop the Steelers offense. This game is certainly not over, but Oakland has yet to show any reason to think they can overcome an 18-point deficit or prevent the deficit from growing larger. Given the Chiefs’ current lead on Arizona, it’s likely that the Raiders will be dropping a game back of KC.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have climbed out to a 14-3 lead on the Raiders courtesy of a 16-yard touchdown run by QB Ben Roethlisberger. The Raiders and Steelers exchanged punts before the Steelers put together a seven play drive over 56 yards. One of the key plays was a 19 yard pickup by Mike Wallace on a reverse. The Steelers were fortunate in that an illegal block in the back occurred and went uncalled, which allowed Wallace to turn the corner and get the big gain.
The Steelers then gained a big 21 yards on a big catch by Antonio Brown. On 3rd and 5 at the Raiders 16, Roethlisberger then took off looking for the first down. As he passed the first down line the only thing standing between him and a touchdown was a smaller defensive back. Roethlisberger continued on and eventually dove and stretched into the end zone for the touchdown and the 14-3 lead.
The Raiders offense has been completely shut down by the Steelers defense thus far and has really benefited primarily from penalties. In fact, the Steelers were just called for a big pass interference penalty that bailed the Raiders out on a 3rd and 14 play from their own six yard line. Of course, as things have gone today for the Raiders, it’s fitting that the Raiders coughed up the ball on a fumble by Louis Murphy on the next play. The Steelers can get close to putting this game away with 2:49 left in the first half.
The Oakland Raiders gave up just their seventh rushing touchdown of the season as they saw Pittsburgh methodically drive 85 yards on 13 plays to take a 7-3 lead. Rashard Mendenall capped the drive with a five yard rushing touchdown, his eighth of the season.
The Steelers got the ball back after the Raiders offense was shut down once again. The Raiders managed a first down on a pass and penalty to Jacoby Ford, but couldn’t do anything else after that. Shane Lechler punted 54 yards and set Pittsburgh up on their own 15 yard line. The Steelers then put together a very solid mix of runs and passes to march the 85 yards in just over eight minutes to take the lead. Mendenhall had 34 rushing yards on 8 carries during the drive.
The Raiders went three and out on the next drive and were forced to punt again. The Steelers actually ran the punt return in for a touchdown but it was called back after a pair of holding calls. Pittsburgh has begun moving the ball again and is into Raiders territory after a pair of passes and a personal foul penalty.
The Oakland Raiders opened their upset bid with a Sebastian Janikowski field goal early in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead. The Raiders defense forced a Steelers three and out thanks to a third down sack of QB Ben Roethlisberger.
The Raiders offense struggled a bit on the ensuing drive but benefited from 20 yards of Steelers penalties including a bit of a ticky tack roughing the passer and then a five yard defensive holding penalty. The Raiders added in a Jason Campbell 17-yard hookup with Johnny Lee Higgins to get into field goal range. Janikowski had little trouble hitting the 41 yard field goal.
Although the Steelers currently are 6-3 and tied for first in the NFC North they’ve been a bit inconsistent. They’re coming off a demoralizing 39-26 home beatdown against the New England Patriots and are looking to bounce back. Meanwhile the Raiders find themselves in first place in their division, but it’s a tightly packed bunch with the Chiefs and Chargers both hosting relatively weak opponents. The AFC West divisional race will go down to the wire but a win today would be monstrous for the Raiders.
For the first time all season, the Raiders had all 53 of their players on the practice field practicing. Still, they have some injury concerns and game time decisions for the game on Sunday.
Nnamdi Asomugha, John Henderson, Zach Miller and Darrius Heyward-Bey were all limited and are questionable for Sunday. Easing some of the question Zach Miller said he was playing. Cable said Nnam is a game time decision and Darrius Heyward-Bey likely is too. Jerry McDonald thinks Henderson will make it on the field for at least a few snaps. Schilens is out and Cable said there were positives and negatives from his Friday practice.
For the Steelers, S Will Allen and DE Aaron Smith are out. DE Brett Keisel had been limited, but had a full practice on Friday and is questionable. Troy Polamalu did not practice until his full practice on Friday and is probable. CB Credzon Butler, LB Lawerence Timmons, G Chris Kemoeatu and WR Hines Ward are all had full practices and are probable.
The key to this game may very well come down to the team that gives its QB the most time to throw. Looking at the numbers, this is going to be a hard task for both teams.
The Raiders pass protection has progressed with the season. Still, it is far below average. They are 26th in sacks allowed percentage at 8.6. Part of this is their offense calls for deeper drops and longer passes than the quick hitting west coast offense. The kind of offense that New England employed so successfully against the Steelers in Week 10.
The Patriots did an amazing job of keeping Tom Brady upright last week. The fierce Steelers pass rush ended the game with zero sacks. On the season, the Steelers are 12th with a 6.5 sacks percentage and 3rd with a 8.5 adjusted sack rate. The adjusted sack rate accounts for opponent and situation etc.
The Steelers get the majority of their sacks with their linebackers. Most notably, James Harrison with 7 and LaMarr Woodley with 5.5. The Raiders tackles are going to need to be on their game and while Jared Veldheer has been improving he certainly struggled at times with Tamba Hali last game and would’ve struggled more had he not gotten away with a few holds.
Raiders’ Pass Rush vs. Steelers’ O-line
The Steelers’ Pass protection has been as bad as the Raiders. They are currently 28th in sack allowed percentage and tied with the Raiders at 28 with an 8.5 adjusted sack rate. The thing here is that the Steelers’ O-line is even worse than these numbers. Ben Roethlisberger is good at eluding pass rushers and he has to, and will likely have to, do this often.
The Raiders currently lead the league in sack percentage and adjusted sack rate, both at 9.1. They are also doing it with mostly their defensive lineman. While they have incorporated well-timed and executed blitzes, mostly with their safeties, it is the down lineman that are doing the majority of the damage.
This upcoming contest between the Raiders and Steelers features an intriguing strength against strength matchup as you can find this NFL season when the Raiders bring their high powered running game against the Steelers dominating rush defense.
The Steelers are first in most every important rush defense number and the Raiders are top three in almost every important rushing stat. The Raiders build their offense of the run. 50.1 percent of their plays are runs. This is the third highest number in the league. Steelers’ opponents are only running the ball in 35.2 percent of their plays. This is the lowest frequency in the league.
Will the Raiders stay with their run heavy approach or will they try and use the pass to open things up. When the Raiders do run, it looks like they may have an advantage in one area and that is to the outside of the offensive left.
On the year, they are ranked 21st on runs to outside the offensive left at 4.4 yards per carry. The Raiders are 3rd in the NFL at 5.2 yards per carry to that same area.
Another way this matchup is great is Darren McFadden. He is explosive once he gets to the second level. This is an area where the Steelers shut down RBs. The Steelers run defense gets better as you go back, which is the exact opposite of the Raiders. The Steelers DVOA is 4th in runs stuffed, 2nd in the 2nd level and 1st in the open field.
The Raiders had a welcomed sight on their first practice following the bye week. Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller and John Henderson were all suited up and participating. Albeit in a limited capacity. When asked how much work the three were able to put in, Cable had this to say
It was a decent amount; hopefully it will be more Thursday, We want to kind of put them so through some things today and see how they feel Thursday. If they feel like they did at the end of practice, we’re probably going to get more and more out of them:
Still, this is the 2010 Raiders and you can’t expect all injury news to be positive. Not present at practice were Chaz Schilens, who was running last week, but apparently is struggling getting in and out of cuts, and Darrius Heyward-Bey, who strained his hamstring in a bye week practice. Cable said it was a slight strain and they were being cautious.
On the Steelers side, Hines Ward has passed all concussion test and had full participation in the Wednesday practice and barring any setbacks, he will be on the field on Sunday. S Troy Polamalu was held out of practice. Mike Tomlin had this to say about their star defensive player:
Other players limited or out of the Steelers Wednesday practice include: Safety Will Allen (concussion) was out and LB Lawrence Timmons (hip), offensive guard Chris Kemoeatu (ankle) and defensive end Brett Keisel (hamstring) were all limited.
Probably going to slow (Polamalu) down here in the early portions of the week… with an eye toward practicing in the latter part of the week
The Oakland Raiders come out of their bye week with a huge road showdown at the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Raiders have won three straight games and currently are tied for first in the AFC West. As well as they’re playing, this game could knock them off their perch because the Chiefs and Chargers are both playing at home this weekend. The Chiefs are eight point favorites against the Cardinals, while the Chargers are ten point favorites against the Broncos on Monday Night Football.
The Raiders currently sit as seven point underdogs against the Steelers. The Raiders are 5-4 this season against the spread and 2-2 on the road. The Steelers are also 5-4 against the spread and are 2-2 at home. The over/under sits at 41 1/2 points so the bookies aren’t exactly looking for a huge explosion of points.
The Raiders could certainly spring the upset but it’s going to be a tough one. Rich Langford will provide a bit more detail on the matchups to watch, but I’m not sure if the Raiders can hang with the Steelers in a shoot-out. If the Raiders can bring solid defense they should be able to cover and potentially win this game.
The Raiders end their week-long vacation as, for the second consecutive year, they prepare to travel to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Last year, the Raiders scored their signature victory of the season in Pittsburgh as they walked off the field on the happy side of a 27-24 score. The victory became reality after Bruce Gradkowski led a fourth-quarter comeback. Gradkowski's efforts earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Gradkowski will be returning to his hometown and the site of his best performance from last year, as a backup. Tom Cable has named Jason Campbell the starting QB on the strength of Campbell's performance in three straight victories. Gradkowski has been sidelined with a shoulder separation, but Tom Cable has said he is fully recovered and will be able to play without limitations, should the Raiders need him.
Unlike last year, this game has meaning in the standing for both teams. Both the Raiders (5-4) and the Steelers (6-3) sit, tied, atop their respective division. The Steelers are fresh off a Sunday Night defeat to the New England Patriots. It was a game in which the Steelers allowed a season-high in points, rushing yards and passing yards.
Still, the Steelers defense leads the NFL in rushing defense - both in terms of yards per game and per carry. This sets up for an interesting matchup as the Raiders will bring one of the premier rushing attacks. They will enter the contest second in yards per game and third in yards per carry.
The Patriots set a blueprint for rushing success against the Steelers. The Patriots were the first team to break 100 yards on the ground against the Steelers and did so by spreading out the field with their passing attack. This is in stark contrast to the Raiders, who use their running game to set up their passing game.
On the other side of the ball, the Steelers will be relying on a struggling and injury riddled offensive line to stop a fierce Raiders pass rush. The Raiders currently own the league leading sack percentage. Protecting the QB is going to be key for both teams, as both teams are far better at rushing the passer than they are at keeping their own upright.
Check back here for more matchup previews and insights from a Steelers perspective. Also, we will keep tabs on the key injury issues for this game. For the Raiders, Nnamdi Asomugha has said he is unsure if he will be able to play after suffering an ankle sprain in Week 8. TE Zach Miller missed last game with a foot injury, but Tom Cable has said he expects him to practice on Wednesday. DT John Henderson may resume practicing for the first time since Week 2.
For the Steelers, Hines Ward suffered a concussion in the Patriots game. Ward is on record as saying he is going to play, but he will have to pass the post concussion tests, before he is cleared to play. Brett Keisel, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, will hope to make his return to this game as will RG Chris Kemoeatu.
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