I've seen a lot of football in my day. This was, without a doubt, the worst officiated game I have ever seen.
Tony Corrente should be fired for the atrocious officiating job he did today. If you were that bad at your job, you would be fired. The same rule should apply for NFL refs.
Here's our suggestion: the NFL needs to more stringently evaluate their officials the same way they evaluate their players. The NFL has no trouble levying huge fines on players for plays they make on the field, so why not hold the referees to the same standard? My proposal: fine the refs $100 for each wrongfully assessed penalty yard. So a wrongfully assessed Roughing the Passer call would be a $1500 fine on the officiating crew.
Steelers win the toss and elect to receive, even though their offense hasn't done crap to open games this year. They don't do anything more. Punt.
Roughing the Passer on Woodley. Terrible call. Hit Campbell as he was throwing the ball.
Some BS call on Ike gets the Raiders into field goal range.
Oakland's offense does nothing. Thank the refs for the 3 points.
Arians tries to get cute with a throwback play from Randle El to Ben who goes deep to Ward, but it falls incomplete. The Steelers work it to 3rd and 6. Ben has Brown open on a slant for the first down, but opts to go 30 yards downfield for Sanders. Incomplete. Don't always need the big play, take the first down when you can get it.
The Steelers force the Raiders into 3rd and 9, but are able to get a first down when Clark gets flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit when he hits a receiver in the back. Oakland does nothing with their gift first down.
Things look like they're starting down the same path when Ramon Foster gets called for clipping. Gag.
Luckily, Mike Wallace is there to bail us out with a big catch down the sidelines. Things start to pick up after that when Ben hits Sanders on a nice inside-out route to convert a 3rd down. Mendenhall gets a handful of carries to move us inside the 30. Ben hits Hines on a shallow crossing route that he turns upfield to get into the red zone.
With lots of chippy stuff happening after the play, the refs had the opportunity to put an end to things by calling a few offsetting penalties when things heated up. But guess what? They didn't. More on this later.
Mendenhall works it down to the 12. On 3rd down, the Steelers go 5-wide and run the double-slant play to Moore. First down at the 5.
RAISE SOME Menden-HELLLLLL
Suisham knocks it through.
Potsie starts things off right, storming up the middle and throwing Campbell down. He'll probably get fined, but really, who cares. Pay them in quarters. Raiders do nothing and punt. Antonio Brown runs it back for a touchd-
Yeah, yeah, bring it back.
Steelers can't get past midfield. Punt.
Oakland shits on themselves.
Arians must be trying to impress a girl, because he keeps trying to do cute things. Luckily, Mike Wallace is a hell of a player and turns a reverse into a 20-yard gain. Mendenhall busts a big run down to the 5, but guess what?
They go back to the 5-wide play they ran on 3rd down earlier, and this time, Ben hits Brown over the middle on the slant route for a big gain to move the chains. With just over 4 minutes to go in the quarter, Ben goes for the end zone but overthrows Wallace on the back line. Mendenhall picks up a few on 2nd down to set up 3rd and 5. Ben looks right then turns back to the left and sees a ton of field. He takes off, eludes a defender, and dives for the goal line...
Harrison gets to Campbell but the Raiders fall on the ball. Campbell tries to go deep on 3rd down. Ike runs textbook coverage: in stride with the receiver, looking back for the ball, no arm bar, no contact...
Ike steps it up on the next play and rips the ball out of a receiver's hands. Timmons falls on the fumble. Steelers ball.
Ben gets things rolling, hitting Spaeth over the middle then Hines to move the sticks. On first down at the 22, Ben hits Sanders on a wheel route. Manny makes a great leaping catch and rolls into the end zone.
After the touchdown, in a typical act of Raider classlessness, Richard Seymour socks Ben in the face.
Tomlin reacts. Great picture.
With 1:23 to go, Oakland looks to get back in it, but Woodley strips Campbell. Oakland falls on it then plays it conservative to end the half.
Oakland moves the ball a little to start the second half, but then Campbell takes a dive rather than get laid out by Harrison on 3rd down. Punt.
Everyone remembers that the Raiders put up 21 on us in the 4th quarter last year. Everyone needed at least another score to feel comfortable. But we weren't going to get it. 3-and-out.
And then it all went to hell.
The Steelers hold the Raiders to 3rd and 7. Harrison storms up the middle and hits Campbell in the chest while he's releasing the ball. Ike makes a great play on the ball, picks it off and takes it back to the house.
Roughing the Passer.
No idea how that's a penalty.
Fans getting angry and booing.
Take a guess how the next 3 plays go.
Fans break out a "Refs You Suck" chant. The crowd is livid.
Everyone seemed shocked when a play happened without a penalty.
Oakland punts. Another penalty on the Steelers for some bullshit. Apparently there was a fumble, people jumping on the pile. Essex gets flagged for something. These refs would be booed out of a WPIAL game, so immagine how an NFL crowd treated them. Steelers go 3-and-out.
The Raiders bring in hometown boy Bruce Gradkowski to try to work his magic against the Steelers, and it seems like it works. Gradkowski leads the Raiders down the field, moving all the way to the Steelers 24. Woodley and Ziggy get some pressure, forcing bad passes and bringing up 3rd down. Gradkowski stares down his receiver and Troy undercuts the route.
Troy brings it back to midfield.
Moore gets a carry to wind out the third.
Ben hits Wallace on a shallow crossing route. Wallace turns it upfield, splits two defenders and is gooooone.
The teams trade punts as the clock ticks down on the fourth quarter. The refs seem wary to throw any flags on Oakland, but have no problem flagging Hines for holding on a Roethlisberger scramble. The crowd takes the refs to task again. This was an embarrassment to the NFL.
In light of what happened last year, LeBeau isn't taking any chances and brings the blitz. Gradkowski lays down with B-Mac bearing down on him. Easy sack. Harrison getting held all over the place, no flags. Punt city.
The Steelers go to the "Ground and Pound" offense to wind some clock, but Mendenhall gets the ball knocked out with about 4 minutes to play, keeping things interesting.
Oakland can't even move the ball against our second-string defense. Jokes.
Isaac Redman comes in and gets to carry the load. The line does a good job of opening holes for him, and he gets sprung for a few big gains. On 3rd and 2 from the 16, Ben hits Redman out of the backfield who makes a move past a defender and plows his way into the end zone for his first NFL touchdown.
For good measure, POWERMAN rings up a sack on the penultimate play.
Players of the Game:
Offensive Game Ball: Mike Wallace
Defensive Game Ball: James Harrison
Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game
Fact: When not being one of the worst officials in the NFL, Tony Corrente resides in La Mirada, California. Guess where La Mirada is? Los Angeles County. The same Los Angeles, California that used to be home to the....you guessed it, Raiders. We're not saying that played a role in how poorly he officiated this game, he has been a terrible official for a long time. But this was so one-sided that it bears asking: Are the Steelers being targeted by the NFL?
Guess what? Today's officiating was so egregious that even James Walker, ESPN AFC North Analyst, wrote a column about it. Read it, you won't regret it. Great to see even ESPN jumping on this storyline.
- What a game by James Harrison. He was a one-man wrecking crew today. He absolutely destroyed Oakland's offense.
- At this point, who cares how much we get fined?
- The whole Rooney family needs to fly to New York tomorrow with tapes from this game and demand Roger he-who-is-trying-to-play-GOD-ell why some of these flags were thrown.
- Specifically, we would want to know about the 2 roughing the passer calls, and why one was not called on the Raiders for similar hits on Roethlisberger; the Pass Interference call on Ike where he ran textbook coverage; and the helmet-to-helmet call on Ryan Clark when he hit the receiver, who had possession of the ball, in the back.
- If you haven't bought a Steelers jersey in a while, do yourself a favor. Go ask your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/parents/kids/brother/sister/Santa/whoever to buy you a Mike Wallace jersey for whatever winter holiday you might celebrate, whether that be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Festivus. If you're an aethist, buy one for yourself. Any way you slice it, you won't be disappointed, this guy is a star.
- Mike Wallace might be the best Steelers receiver we've ever seen at going up and getting the ball in the air. To clarify, we never saw Lynn Swann or John Stallworth play in person. But we challenge you to name someone since Swann/Stallworth that has been better at going up and getting the ball.
- What a performance by the Defense, despite all the penalties, they still held Oakland to 180 yards of total offense.
- Nice game by Suisham, 5/5 XPs and good distance on his kickoffs.
- Don't forget to VOTE FOR THE PRO BOWL. Timmons. Wallace. Harrison. Woodley. And any other Steelers you want to vote for, but those 4 deserve it.
- NFL needs to fire Tony Corrente and his entire crew, that officiating performance was just an embarrassment to the league.