Pittsburgh Steelers: Mistake Filled Day Ends In Win Over Oakland Raiders


Facing a second straight loss at home and third in a row, the Pittsburgh Steelers managed to have Landry Jones engineer a last minute drive last Sunday to enable Chris Boswell to kick a game winning field goal and send the Oakland Raiders to defeat, 38-35.

Jones was behind center because once again, because Ben Roethlisberger was forced from the game with an injury, this time to his ankle. With a defender falling awkwardly on his ankle, the injury was serious enough that Big Ben had to be taken into the locker room on a cart. It didn’t look good when it happened, and it turns out that he has a mid-foot sprain that will sideline Roethlisberger for a few weeks.

Overall, the game was being played pretty cleanly until the second half began. Then the game became a battle of who would make a the next mistake, turn the ball over, commit a penalty, or drop a pass. The game turned sloppy and the Steelers had several opportunities to possibly ice the game but could not stop Derek Carr and his offense while also making some crucial mistakes.

 This game could have easily gone either way, and the Steelers were just fortunate enough to have the ball last. Despite Roethlisberger not finishing the game, if DeAngelo Williams and especially Antonio Brown did not turn in the performances they had, the conversation might be about the Oakland Raiders upending another good team. For Brown, he had what might be the greatest individual performance in one game by any Pittsburgh Steeler…EVER.

With a new team record for receptions in a single game with 17, Antonio Brown accounted for an eye opening 284 yards and also ran the ball twice for 22 yards. That gave him 306 total yards on offense. That in itself is amazing. On the ground, De’Angelo Williams carried the ball 27 times and rushed for 170 yards including a nice 53-yadder which gave him a per-carry average for the day of 6.3. Add 55 yards receiving on two receptions for Williams and between Brown and Williams they totaled 531 yards total offense.

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WIth 597 yards of total offense, Antonio Brown and DeAngelo Williams were responsible for all but 66 of those numbers. Downright impressive. Not lost in the victory over Oakland was the performance of the Raiders. Obviously not the same team from a season ago that began the season 0-10,  Derek Carr has more than proved he is an NFL worthy quarterback who has some serious weapons of his own on offense.

Now for a very peculiar stat that will make you go hmmm. For the game, Derek Carr threw the ball exactly 44 times. Before Big Ben left the game, he had thrown the ball…44 times. Carr completed 24 of those passes. Roethlisberger? 24. Weird right? The only difference between the two was not that both threw an interception each rather that Roethlisberger left with 334 yards in the air to Carr’s 301.

But the Oakland Raiders showed plenty of heart and determination and never gave up or let adversity stand in their way. Charles Woodson played a gutsy game nursing a bum shoulder. The Steelers kept making mistakes just as Oakland made a few, but they did just enough to put themselves into a position to have Boswell win it for them. The game was filled with not just mistakes by both teams, but big hits as well.

Most of those hard tackles were coming from the Black and Gold. Highlighting the big hits was a man who is not coming as a surprise anymore…Mike Mitchell. No. 23 continues to blast opposing players and last Sunday he added a few more big shots to his repertoire.

Clearly, the top three stories of the game were Antonio Brown’s mind boggling numbers, the injury to Ben Roethlisberger, and the amount of mistakes and errors by both teams. Pittsburgh had not conducted a roughing the passer penalty all season until Sunday. At game’s end, the Steelers had been flagged three times and the Raiders five.

Pittsburgh committed two turnovers and Oakland turned the ball over four times, three fumbles and an interception. The Steelers’ sole fumble nearly cost them the game, and it came off the hands of one of the most reliable players on the squad…Antonio Brown. In trying to field his only punt return of the game, Brown tried to move the ball up field only to have the rock knocked out of his hands and over to the Raiders.

Brown redeemed himself a few plays later when a long pass from Landry Jones came down perfectly into his hands, 57 yards downfield. Pittsburgh nearly reached a game ending touchdown on two runs by DeAngelo Williams but fell short at the one yard line. Moments later, it was Chris Boswell who became an instant hero with a successful 18-yard field goal.

For Chris Boswell, he had made his first nine NFL field goal attempts before missing one against Oakland. But no kicker rarely goes an entire season without missing a three-point attempt, so it should be expected that the young first-year kicker would eventually miss one. Boswell had a chance to boot a 52-yarder earlier in the game, but Mike Tomlin opted instead to try for a first down on fourth. It failed and the decision to keep Boswell on the sidelines looked like a bad one.

Big props go to Pittsburgh’s offensive line and DeAngelo Williams as the Steelers’ rushing attack did a masterful job against the league’s number two ranked defense against the run coming into this game. Oakland’s secondary had been getting torched for 300 yards per game and last Sunday didn’t bring that average down by any means.

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  • Pittsburgh’s secondary was not much better but once again, they were facing some serious weapons in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree who finished with 108 and 88 yards receiving respectively. Crabtree scored twice and Cooper added another.

    On the ground, the Raiders did well also with 96 yards from Latavius Murray who had to leave the game after a hit from…Mike Mitchell. Filling in for him was Marcell Reece producing another 21 yards on just three carries.

    If there is any upside to the injury to Big Ben it would have to be that next Sunday the Steelers get the Cleveland Browns at home with Johnny Manziel. The Steelers not only own the Browns, but they also usually do well against young inexperienced quarterbacks. That, and the way Landry Jones has been playing, if the Steelers can take that game, it will give Roethlisberger three weeks of rest as Pittsburgh gets their long awaited bye week the following week before heading west to Seattle.


    As many say, “a win is a win,” but a team certainly wants to play cleaner and execute better than what Pittsburgh did at home facing Oakland. Looking back at some things that stood out from the win that brings Pittsburgh to a 5-4 record, first and foremost it’s the numbers of Brown and Williams. It was also the first game without Dri Archer returning kickoffs and in his place comes ex-Raven and Charger Jacoby Jones. Antonio Brown was also surrendering his punt returning job to the newcomer but he was not impressive on either front. Two punt returns for two yards. Four kickoff returns for 83 yards and a 20.8 average which is just…average.

    Next: Pitt Drops To 6-3 With 42-30 Loss To No. 5 Notre Dame

    Chris Boswell despite one narrowly missed field goal is impressive again. Jordan Berry continues to do his thing. Pittsburgh’s secondary makes some big plays but overall, that area still needs work. When the season concludes, it might be easy to say the two biggest and most profitable additions to the 2015 roster were that of DeAngelo Williams and Ross Cockrell.

    Final thoughts? I like the Steelers new thinking of taking risky chances  like going for it on fourth down and choosing two-pointers instead of a a PAT. But a head coach needs to have some confidence in his kicker and it’s due time to start giving that to Chris Boswell. This kid may not just be a temporary replacement but could unseat Shaun Suisham next season.

    In the Aronson household there was sportsmanship between husband (Steelers fan) and wife (Raiders fan) and just happy to witness a great and exciting game between two very good teams!