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Defense Flops in Oakland; Raiders Top Steelers 34-31

The Steelers offense continues to not be the issue for the Steelers – at least it wasn’t Sunday in Oakland vs the Raiders.

Instead, the Steelers, who held a couple 10-point leads in the second half, faltered down the stretch as their defense could not stop old friend Carson Palmer, allowing the Raiders to steal a 34-31 win to put Pittsburgh at 1-2.

The winning field goal came from the leg of Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who booted true a 42-yard field goal at the buzzer for the win.

Ben Roethlisberger had another All-Pro day that will go wasted. Big Ben was on fire, going 36-for-49 for 384 yards with four touchdowns, no picks, and a QB rating of 123.2.

The Steelers had leads of 24-14 and 31-21 in the second half, but after playing solid D in the first half, they let Palmer march up and down for the field for pass after pass that turned things in the Raiders favor.

Antonio Brown scored a TD, but also had a critical fumble that turned things around for Oakland. The fumble was recovered at the Oakland 36 with the Steelers up 31-28.

Oakland marched down the field, and Janikowski hit a 32-yard field goal to tie the game at 31 with 6:30 to play. The Steelers took the kickoff, and wound up with a 4th-and-1 from their own 29.

Rolling the dice on fourth paid off, as Issac Redmen rushed for six yards to give the Steelers four more downs. Instead of taking advantage of the first down, the Steelers faltered, as they wound up four plays later punting with 1:43 left.

That was all Palmer and the Raiders would need, as they marched down the field with some short passes and wound up taking a knee before Janikowski nailed the game-winner with no time left.

The Steelers outgained the Raiders 433-321, but were killed by 10 penalties for 81 yards, while Oakland had just 3 for 25 yards.

Mike Wallace had 8 grabs for 123 yards with a touchdown, while Brown had 7 grabs for 87 yards with a score. Heath Miller pulled in two more scores in the loss.

The Steelers have the bye next week, then will host the 2-1 Eagles on October 7th at home.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. Rich

    September 23, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    The most worrying part has to be the fact that the high draft picks spent on defensive players the last few years make little to no impact. Heyward, Timmons, and Hood are average, at best, players.

  2. Jay

    September 23, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    This defense is a fuckIn joke! Corners can’t cover basic stop routes, inside backers can’t stay with tight ends and running backs, our interior d line and interior pass rush is putrid…oh we have two first round draft picks on the d line and they both suk! Where’s Woodlley- he playin against a suk second year tackle who was picked up by Oakland off waivers and he barely put pressure on palmer! All the steelers have on o is bb and his WRs. Now that the blueprint is out about these soft WRs and how they can’t hold onto the ball, well now all we got on o is bb! Raiders offense sux what u think Balt or cincy will do to this d?! But we invested two first round picks in interior dinesen in past four years who can’t get to QB! We’re an average team and may as well accept it! Everyone will respond with Harrison and Troy being out but Harrison and Troy are not part of this teams defensive future! Name another player on d who is that’s also formidable! It’s bullshit the way tomlin gets this team ready! Either go out and fucking get a bunch of free agents who are either in their prime or seasoned veterans and bust it for another sb run or get rid of EVERYONE old and go ALL young and know you’re going to take your lumps for a year or two… But this half old and half young is bullshit on d!

  3. bill

    September 24, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    We have never had the great defense we have been credited for. 6 out of 16 games every year were played against crappy offenses. Of course, statistically we look great. Then, everyone is so surprised when a playoff caliber offense beats us and we are out of the playoffs or one scores as many points as the Packers did and we lose the super bowl. There should be statistics for offenses and defenses based upon their performance against top teams as well as statistics for the entire 16 game schedule. The latter is misleading when you play 6 games against weak offenses – it is like stacking the deck.

    I would like to see what our numbers against the Patriots, Colts, etc… has been over the last 10 and 5 years…

  4. DrGeorge

    September 25, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    “Defense flops in Oakland” suggests the D didn’t play up to its ability. The truth is even worse: the D didn’t flop; it played about as well as it can. We are paying the price for not starting to rebuild the D two years ago, when our veterans first began showing their age; and we are paying the price for not adjusting our draft choices to the new pass-happy NFL rules.

    Our younger D-linemen and LBs were drafted for football as it was, not as it is, and that was a strategic mistake. Our front 7 simply are not fast enough to get pressure on the QB and cover backs and TEs on short routes man to man. LeBeau didn’t suddenly forget how to coach; but he has been forced to coach with talent that is not suited to the new rules because the team waited too long to adjust.

    For that reason, I am not going to blame the players or coaches. Aside from Ziggy Hood, the “Dancing Bear” who can’t shed his blocker, the rest of the recent draft picks have contributed and are playing as well as they can. But some of them are physically unsuited for the new era, and our coaches are stuck with that.

    By the way, the Steelers faced a similar dilemma 35 years ago, when the NFL changed the rules to negate Noll’s Steel Curtain defense, making Joe Greene less intimidating, Jack Lambert furious about QBs in tutus, and Mel Blount’s downfield physicality obsolete. It took the team a decade to adjust.

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