For the first time in 10 years, the Oakland Raiders came off their bye week and won. The defense paved the way in a 21-18 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Raiders improve to 3-4 on the season and the Steelers snap a two game winning streak to drop to 2-5.
Fireworks started early as Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor faked a hand-off to running back Darren McFadden, made a move and put on the jets going 93 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest run by a quarterback in NFL history and broke Bo Jackson's franchise mark of 92 yards. Pryor did throw two interceptions in the game. One bounced right off the hands of wide receiver Brice Butler which should have been caught. The other was an overthrow into the waiting arms of Troy Polamalu.
Oakland increased the lead when Rashad Jennings blocked a punt deep in Pittsburgh territory. McFadden punctuated the turnover with a seven yard touchdown run, giving the Raiders a 14-0 advantage. After Shaun Suisham cut the lead with a field goal, the Raiders traveled 72 yards on a scoring drive. McFadden struck again from four yards out for his second touchdown of the day. He finished the game with 73 yards on 24 carries and the two scores. As a team the Raiders ripped off 197 yards on the ground with Pryor chipping in 106.
The Raiders defense played well all day. They were able to get to Ben Roethlisberger for five sacks and plenty more hurries. Linebacker Sio Moore was very disruptive with two sacks. Lamarr Houston, Vance Walker, and Daniel Muir made the other three. The Steelers first ten offensive series ended with a field goal, two missed field goals, five punts and a terrific Mike Jenkins' interception. The Raiders defense held Pittsburgh to 4-15 on third down.
With the lead in the second half, the Raiders offensive play calling was conservative. On seven second half drives, the Raiders punted six times and lost a Jacoby Ford fumble. They went three and out five times. Finishing games offensively will be a huge emphasis going forward.
As the Oakland offense sputtered, the Steelers began to find ways to stay in the game. When Ford fumbled, the Steelers took over at the Raiders 11 yard line. Roethlisberger found Emmanuel Sanders for a nine yard touchdown to make it a 21-10 game. Roethlisberger got the ball back late in the fourth quarter and executed an 83 yard drive capped off by La'Veon Bell rushing in from two yards out. Sanders ran in the two point conversion to make it a 21-18 game.
The Raiders defense held the rest of the way. They put tremendous pressure on Roethlisberger, even though he was able to escape at times. Porter came up with a huge interception in the fourth quarter to stop momentum. The defense continues to earn respect. They were hung out by the offense being unable to pick up first downs and run clock. Yet they played tough and made big plays to ensure the victory.
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