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Steelers-Raiders Recap

Steelers go out to Oakland and lose 21-18.

The Good – Antonio Brown made some nice grabs and had a huge punt return. Unfortunately he also had a couple really bad and crucial drops including one that ended up being intercepted and another huge drop on a 3rd and 15 in the 4th quarter. Overall, not one of his better games.

– Bell and Dwyer ran hard at times behind a battered O-line. Bell also looked good as a receiver out of the backfield. Why he isn’t used more is one of many unanswered questions concerning this team.

– The Steelers found some success with the screen play with Bell as the receiver.

– The Steelers defense shut out the Raiders offense in the 2nd half and forced 3 turnovers.

– Troy, Timmons and Kiesel were making some nice plays.

The Bad – Overall, this game, regardless of the final score, was a nightmare to watch from the opening snap as the Steelers defense is totally oblivious to Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor as he scampers untouched for a 93 yard TD run. Embarrassing. Here is a QB who is actually the leading rusher on the team and the defense is totally oblivious to that on the 1st play of the game. Great job, definitely prepared for this one. This game was one of the worst I’ve seen from a coaching and player standpoint in years and that’s saying something.

–  As bad as the defense played in the 1st half (21 points allowed) they still forced two turnovers and gave the offense good field position at midfield. The offense created 3 points off that.  The offense was simply bad in the 1st half, hardly any yards or 1st downs, no 3rd down conversions. Ben was totally off on a number of early throws.

– After the Raiders get up to a 21-3 lead at the end of the 2nd half, the Steelers attempt a handoff with under 2 minutes left and down 18 resulting in a 1 yard loss. Yeah. Ben is then sacked on the 2nd down resulting in a 3rd and 20. on 3rd down Sanders is then called for holding. Unfuckingbelievable. Haley continued this conservative approach well into the 4th quarter of the game.

– Watching the Steelers offense take the opening kickoff of the 2nd half and proceed to take about 10 minutes off the clock ending in another short Suisham FG attempt. Haley and Tomlin – your team is DOWN by 18, not up by 18. Great job. The kind of play selection and approach on this drive (2 TE sets, running the ball) was obviously the gameplan going into this game, the problem as already mentioned is the team is down by 18 points, it’s time to adjust. Another coaching failure.

– Speaking of Suisham, he wasn’t done with his bad performance as he missed another short FG in the 2nd half. Great year for Suisham but not in this game.

– Woodley somehow managing to get to Pryor but then proceeding to slide off him like he was covered in vaseline, resulting an incompletion and not a much needed sack in the 1st half. Late in the 2nd quarter inside the Steelers redzone, Woodley takes an outside loop as the secondary had everyone covered allowing Pryor an easy lane for a big pickup. Woodley is the master of looking like he’s really hustling out there but in truth about 90% of the time he’s taking horrible angles and playing patty cakes with the opposing blocker. This game was definitely no different, really bizarre to watch.

– The O-line, playing with numerous guys off the bench, played like dog poo in pass protection throughout the game.

– ST’s punt deflection in the 1st quarter eventually resulting in the Raiders second TD of the game.

–  Manny Sanders with a false start on a 3rd and 5, two more penalties on the ensuing 3rd and 10 resulting in declined penalties and punt. Good job, guys.

– The entire team looked flatter and more disinterested than usual. Maybe part of that was due to the team not getting into the west coast until the afternoon/night before? Could be? Maybe? Tomlin, not learning from his mistakes since 2007.

– Horrible usage of TO’s once again by Tomlin and the team. With the Steelers at around the Raiders 20 yard line and the clock ticking with only about 24 seconds left why waste another 7 precious seconds before finally calling a TO? DUMB. With now no TO’s left Ben then attempts a short slant to Felix Jones with now about 13 seconds left on the clock, the ball is poorly thrown and almost picked off, but even if it’s caught it’s questionable whether the Steelers would get the FG attempt off before the clock expires. Dumbest team in the NFL. And of course Suisham misses the FG on the next play. In the 4th quarter and down by 11 with under 2 minutes left, Ben stupidly takes a TO, eliminating any chance of the Steelers getting the ball back with a manageable amount of time left to kick a tying FG  if the ensuing onside kick fails (which it did). If the Steelers had all 3 TO’s they actually could’ve just kicked off normally and gotten the ball back in good field position with about a minute left in the game. Very manageable situation to tie up the game. Ben is great at times but can also be dumber than a bag of bricks.

– Why Mesko is still the punter on this team is beyond comprehension to just about everyone except apparently the coaching staff. He was awful in this game. He had a 30 yard punt at the end of the 1st half which would’ve probably  resulted in more points for the Raiders except for a bobbled reception and resulting INT by the Steelers.

– The Steelers running the no-huddle offense with about 4 minutes left in the game and down by 11. This drive eventually resulted in a TD. Why in the hell wasn’t this run earlier in the game? It’s not like the Steelers were ever leading or were down by one score for most of the game. To top it off even running the no-huddle this team still looks like it’s moving in molasses. That’s on the coaching staff.  I’m officially on the “Fire Haley” bandwagon after this dismal performance. The guy, like Arians, just seems oblivious to anything outside his own narrow minded gameplan.

– Watching the Steelers run a bizarre trick play and seeing Manny Sanders  score a 2 point conversion at the end of the game. Yeah, it’s great that he converted but WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? It’s just embarrassing in a way to see stuff like this as it just reinforces the fact (and yes it’s pretty much a fact at this point) that this team is one of the dumbest in the NFL. They are seriously one of the most bizarre, schizophrenic teams I’ve ever seen play.

The Bizarre – The refs ruling on a fumbled Raiders punt return that a Steelers player swiped or touched the ball before it touched the Raiders return man. How did they see this to begin with? Tomlin challenged it but the ruling was upheld even though video evidence did not show evidence that the Steelers player had indeed touched the ball. It was a case of not enough evidence to overturn the BS initial ruling on the field by the refs. This kind of situation should not happen in football, it’s bush league.

Embarrassing – The look on Tomlin’s face whenever the Steelers are losing. It amazingly sums up the teams problems to a tee – confused, embarrassed, clueless.

Summary – With this loss the Steelers can pretty much say goodbye to their playoff chances. I guess it’s up to each fan whether they still want to entertain thoughts of a Wildcard berth but honestly the way this team is coached and the way it plays the odds of reeling off consecutive wins to get into a position to even sniff a Wildcard spot seems extremely small at this point. Oh, and next week the Steelers travel up to New England.

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