By Mike Pisano
Another tough loss for the Steelers in Oakland on Sunday. Raiders dominated much of the game but, the Steelers provided a a late push, which still wasn’t enough falling victim to the Raiders 21-18 . Terrelle Pryor on the first play from scrimmage ran 94 yards for a Raiders score. It looked like the parting of the sea, as no defender was close to getting a hand on Pryor. The Steelers did do a great job in the pass defense, holding Pryor to a moderate 82 yards passing.
The Raiders had their way with the Steelers in the rushing attack, rushing for a total of 192, which almost half of it came from Pryor’s 94 yard rushing TD. Injury prone Darren Mcfadden, started to show some life with two touchdown carries, which doesn’t come as a surprise as the Steelers rank 26th in run defense this year. They are really lacking a run stuffer who can clog up the middle, a thing most Pittsburgh fans are accustomed to seeing from former Pro Bowler Casey Hampton.
Pittsburgh needs to focus on the basic fundamentals of football. Antonio Brown considers himself a Top 10 wide receiver in this league, but dropped two huge passes, one of those turned into an interception. Hey, the stat line looks great, 13 targets, 9 catches, for 82 yard but, what doesn’t show up in the box score is dropped passes, a problem that has plagued so far in his early career.
One of the only bright spots coming into the game was Shaun Suisham. He came into the game Sunday, 15/15 on his field goal attempts. Suisham had two missed kicks during the game which turned out to be crucial in close loss. Lets cut him some slack, he was perfect coming into the game, what are you going to to do missed field goals are going to happen. If i woke him up at 3 in the morning and made him kick the same field goals again, he would make those 100/100 times. It just wasn’t his day.
On the other hand Zolton Mesko looked abysmal. Getting one of his punts blocked and kicking balls into the end-zone. He just isn’t having a good year, he proves to very inconsistent week from week, look for the Steelers to make some calls and try out some punters for the following weeks. Also, ive heard some talk about Mesko’s style of holding the ball on Suisham’s kick, if that’s the case why is he still holding the ball on field goal kicks? No wonder Belichick cut him.
The big issue I had with Sundays game was Big Ben’s late time out call in the fourth quarter. You just can’t do that! Your in the red zone down 11 needing a score with under two minutes, knowing you need those 3 timeouts to stop the Raiders and gave your self a chance for a game tying field goal. That timeout cost the Steelers at least 30 seconds and virtually gave them no time to operate to complete a tying field goal. Ok, I’am not blaming Ben for the loss, but that was a huge mistake at a key time in the game. We have vested over 100 million dollars in him, and i expect him to have a better sense of clock and time management.
This loss practically takes Pittsburgh out of the playoff race. At 2-5 they would need a miracle to sneak in and get a wildcard spot. It doesn’t get any easier as they travel to Foxboro this Sunday to take on a 6-2 Patriots team.