Tuesday, September 25, 2012

O Defense Where Art Thou: Steelers Lose


The Raiders take the opening kickoff across the 40, but Carson Palmer throws one right to Ryan Clark on the first play to set up the Steelers in great position.

Ben hits Heath down the numbers off play-action but it's called incomplete and the refs don't see enough to overturn it when Tomlin challenges. Ben hits Cotchery on 3rd down then hustles the team to the line on 4th and 1 rather than going for a 45-yard field goal off the dirt. Ben tries to draw them offsides but the Raiders hold on so Ben options to a slant to Wallace who snags it and takes it all the way down inside the 10. On 3rd and goal Ben hits Heath in the flat and he waltzes into the end zone.


On the Raiders 3rd play, Run DMC takes a handoff through the right side and Mundy whiffs on him and he's off to the races.

Dan Fouts' blatant Raider homerism at it's best. No clue how CBS employs him.


Ben hits Wallace on 3rd down across the middle to get things rolling then hits Sanders on a quick hitter on 3rd and short to move across midfield. Ben takes a look deep off play-action and smartly checks it down to Redman. The Raiders corners continue to give a cushion and Ben takes advantage with another quick-hitter to AB to move us into the red zone. Wallace grabs one on a post to get us inside the 5. On 2nd down Ben executes a perfect play-action fake and zings one right to Heath over the middle for his second touchdown of the game.


LaMarr Woodley storms the pocket and demolishes Palmer on 3rd down for his 50th career sack.

AB makes some moves on the punt return and brings it back across the 50.

Two penalties put the Steelers back into a 3rd and 25. Rainey takes a screen pass back to the original line of scrimmage and Butler pins them back inside the 15.

The Raiders run it twice to run out the quarter.

Second Quarter

Carson Palmer throws an awful pass and it's punt time. AB takes it back to the house, but there were two penalties on the Steelers on the return. Crap.

Heath catches one on a slant to set up 3rd and short and Baron Batch moves the sticks. Ben lobs one off his back foot to Heath down the seam and Heath makes a one-handed grab since the defender is holding his other hand. Oakland challenges and the catch gets overturned.

The defense comes up with a big 3-and-out after a poor punt by Butler.

AB makes some moves on a WR screen to get us to 3rd and short, which Redman converts. The Steelers have some breathing room, but Dwyer fumbles and the Raiders pounce on it at the 30.

The Raiders work it inside the 15, but the defense locks it down on 3rd down. The Raiders opt to go for it on 4th down and draw the Steelers offsides. Questionable flag after the TE and FB both went in motion, which caused Keisel to jump. Palmer lobs one for Heyward-Bey in the corner and he gets both feet down. Puke.


Baron Batch provides a spark as he reels in one for a first down then takes a check-down and scampers for another first down. Heath makes a nice grab to get us across midfield. Ben does his Ben thing and keeps the play alive then ropes one to Sanders who takes a big shot but hangs on to the ball at the 25. Ben spikes it then hits Rainey over the middle to get us to the 15. Ben spikes it with 2 seconds left to bring out Suisham.

Suisham connects.


Third Quarter

Things look bleak to start the second half as Kelvin Beachum starts the half at RT and Ben takes a shot on 3rd and 15 that is a totally illegal below-the-knees hit, but no flag. Ben hit Wallace over the middle to move the sticks and Ben is able to hobble forward and keep things moving. Ben hits AB twice to get us inside the 25 then goes to Sanders to set up a 3rd and 5. Ben scrambles all around the backfield to buy time then rips one to a wide open Wallace in the end zone for the score.

Wallace was literally the only player in the end zone on the play.

Ben. Being. Ben.


The Raiders bring the kickoff back across the 50 then Run DMC finds a crease and takes it down inside the 35. Oakland converts their first 3rd down of the day to move into the red zone. The Raiders go to the ground and pound DMC all the way down to the goal line. On 3rd and goal, Palmer goes play-action and hits a tight end for the score.


Oakland tries a surprise onside kick, but the ball bounces out of bounds. The refs throw their first flag of the day on the Raiders, which is for the kick going out of bounds. Steelers take over at midfield.

AB gets things rolling, then Ben zings one to Heath across the middle to get us to the red zone. After a penalty sets us back, Ben does his Ben thing on 3rd down and is able to find Heath at the sticks for the first down. Ben goes to AB on the quick-hitter with the Raiders playing off and Brown cuts between the defenders, fumbling just before he reaches the goal line. Somehow, the ball finds its way back to AB in the pile, and it's ruled a touchdown.

Replay holds it up. The official ruling is a fumble recovery for a touchdown, so it's not "officially" a TD pass for Ben.


Palmer gets the ball back and goes right back to picking apart the Steelers defense with short passes. The Raiders move into field goal range as the quarter ends.

Fourth Quarter

Oakland gets called for their first penalty of the game - a false start - to start the quarter. Palmer doesn't let it stop him and converts a 3rd down. On the next play he takes a shot for Heyward-Bey over the middle, but Ryan Mundy comes across and lays a lick on DHB, knocking him down and out. Replays show that Mundy's helmet got right under DHB's chin, which knocked his head back then his head bounced off the ground.

Scary moment as DHB stayed down, with his eyes closed, for a good while. Thankfully, it seems like he's going to be okay. Hate to see anyone get hurt like that.

The Raiders come out playing some inspired football and Palmer keeps working the out-routes, converting another third down then hitting Denarious Moore for a touchdown on a similar out-route.



The offense starts rolling again, but the wheels fall off the wagon when AB tries to cut back to the middle of the field to pick up some YAC yards and the ball gets knocked out, right into the arms of a Raider defender.

The Raiders get the benefit of a questionable pass interference call on Keenan Lewis that moves them into Steelers territory. They pound Run DMC to get into field goal range and tie it up.


Ben takes over with 6 and a half minutes left. Plenty of time, you would think. A holding penalty sets things back from the start, but a big pass to Wallace that he fumbles and is able to recover sets us up with 2nd and short. Redman can't get there on two tries and Tomlin opts to go for it on 4th down from the 30. The risk pays off as Redman plows his way for the first down, but Ben gets sacked on first down and the drive stalls out with just under two minutes to play.

Most depressing drive summary of the game: 7 plays, 4 yards, 4:47 elapsed.

The defense forces the Raiders into a 3rd and long, but Palmer hits his tight end over the middle to move the chains and get things moving. After a timeout, it's Carson City. He works a couple out-routes to get the Raiders to midfield then hits a crossing route underneath the zone that puts them in field goal range. A run to the left gets the spot for the kick on grass and not the infield dirt.

Janikowski nails it.


Players of the Game
Offensive Game Ball: Ben Roethlisberger
Defensive Game Ball: LaMarr Woodley

Honorable Mentions:
Heath Miller
Mike Wallace

Final Thoughts

  • The Raiders didn't convert a 3rd down in the first half and only missed on one - before the tying field goal - in the second half.
  • We have problems at all 3 levels of the defense right now.
  • Steelers struggles outside the Eastern Time Zone continue. 
  • Not the way you want to head into a bye week, but this season is far from a total failure right now. The offense is playing well enough for us to win. The defense has to play better, simple as that.
  • Where has Lawrence Timmons been this year?
  • Ben Roethlisberger is clearly the MVP of this team right now. He's carrying us.
  • Really good game from the offense. Any time we score 31 points we should win the game. The offense did their part.
  • Yes, there were two fumbles,
  • The Mundy hit on DHB really took the wind out of our sails. The Raiders scored 13 unanswered points after that. Glad to hear DHB was released from the hospital and expected to make a full recovery.
  • Heath Miller is playing the best ball of his life. So glad to see him getting an increased role in the offense.
  • When can Mendenhall come back?
  • Bad news for the O-line when Kelvin Beachum is playing RT.
  • We need to get more pressure on opposing QBs. No pressure on Peyton in Week 1. No pressure on Palmer here. A-gap blitzes from the inside linebackers just aren't getting there. No interior pressure at all.

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