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Post-Game Buzz: Roethlisberger sensational but Steelers defense hapless in 34-31 loss to Oakland

Ben Roethlisberger was sensational today vs the Oakland Raiders, throwing for 384 yards and 4 touchdowns but Roethlisberger couldn’t save the Steelers defense which put on a pathetic performance as the Steelers lost to Oakland, 34-31, on a SeBastian Janikowski game winning 43 yard field goal at the end of regulation.
The Steelers (1-2) losing to Oakland (1-2), now fall to 1-2 for the first time since 2009, a year they failed to reach the post-season.
Pittsburgh dominated in the first half and it was their game to lose and it was lost by the defense’s inability to make stops in the second half as the Raiders scored 13 unanswered points en route to a 34-31 win and the Raiders scored 20 second half points in just four offensive possessions. It was what seemed to be a replay of the Steelers season opener loss to Denver where the defense faltered in the second half.
Today vs Oakland the Steelers defense didn’t get ONE STOP IN THE SECOND HALF.
The Raiders in the second half had scoring drives of 10 plays, 49 yards (Carson Palmer 1 yard TD pass to Robert Goldon); 11 plays, 80 yards (Carson Palmer 6 yard TD pass to Denarious Moore); 9 plays, 50 yards (Janikowski 32 Yard Field Goal); 9 plays, 42 Yards (Janikowski Game Winning 43 Yard Field Goal).
Missing Troy Polamalu and James Harrison, the Steelers couldn’t defend the pass as they got an awful game from Ryan Mundy, among others, but they also couldn’t stop the run. Darren McFadden rushed for 113 yards on 18 carries, highlighted by a 64 yard touchdown run in the 1st quarter on a play where Casey Hampton got picked up by a blocker, creating a huge hole that was followed by an awful angle from Lawrence Timmons and a missed tackle by Mundy.
Where this game was lost for the Steelers defense was on third down where Oakland went 7 of 8 on third down in the second half.
Meanwhile, the disappointment is Steelers let an excellent game from Roethlisberger go to waste. The only thing that slowed down the star QB was turnovers on offense, fumbles from Jonathan Dwyer (2nd quarter), Antonio Brown (4th quarter), and penalties as the Steelers had 10 penalties for 81 yards.
With no running game again as the Steelers rushed for just 54 yards on 20 carries, offensive coordinator Todd Haley had no choice but to rely on Roethlisberger heavily, a blueprint that should be in place every game. Overall, Roethlisberger went 36 of 49 for 384 yards and 4 touchdowns in the loss. Roethlisberger threw two first half touchdowns to Heath Miller, a 22 yard TD pass to Mike Wallace in the third quarter and an 11 yard TD pass to Antonio Brown late in the third quarter to give the Steelers a 31-21 lead with 1:31 left in the third quarter.
Mike Wallace led the Steelers with 123 yards receiving on 8 receptions and Heath Miller added 8 receptions for 60 yards, 2 touchdowns. Antonio Brown had 7 receptions for 87 yards, touchdown.
Pittsburgh has a bye in week 4.
Notes: Darrius Heyward-Bey left the game on a stretcher after being knocked out unconscious on a scary hit by Ryan Mundy on an incomplete pass down the middle in the endzone. On the hit to Heyward-Bey’s head that should have been penalized, the wide receiver’s neck jerked violently and his head also crashed into the ground. A positive sign for Heyward-Bey is that he gave a thumbs up when he leaving the field on a stretcher

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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