GAME BALL goes to: WR Antonio Brown
The Steelers attempt to come back from a 21-3 first-half deficit was fueled by Brown, who had five of his nine catches in the second half to lead all receivers. Brown also had a 44-yard punt return -- the longest of the season -- that gave the Steelers good field position at the Oakland 31, trailing 21-10, in the fourth quarter. However, three plays later, Brown lost control of a low pass on a hit by CB Mike Jenkins and the fumble popped in the air to CB Tracy Porter, ending the threat. Brown now has a team-high 56 catches for 630 yards.
THE COUNTDOWN A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:
1. Mesko muff: After the Steelers' second failed offensive possession, punter Zoltan Mesko let the fourth-down snap slide through his hands just long enough to allow Oakland's Rashad Jennings to partially block the punt at the Steelers 26. Five plays later, Darren McFadden's 7-yard TD run made it 14-0. "That contributed to the ball being partially blocked," coach Mike Tomlin said of the muffed snap.
2. Kicked aside: After making 15 field goals to start the season, including a 47-yarder in the second quarter, Shaun Suisham missed back-to-back attempts of 34 and 32 yards. Suisham had made 42 of 43 field goals from inside the 50, dating to the 2011 season.
3. Troy's ploy: The Steelers had a season-high three takeaways, beginning with Troy Polamalu's interception and 17-yard return to the Raiders 48, setting up Suisham's 47-yard field goal that cut the Raiders lead to 14-3.
4. Manny uncanny: Emmanuel Sanders had seven catches, including a 9-yard touchdown that cut the lead to 21-10. And, after Le'Veon Bell's 2-yard scoring run, Sanders made a nice reverse run on the 2-point conversion to make it 21-18.
5. Jerricho Catch-ery: The Steelers needed only 84 seconds to go 83 yards on 12 plays to cut the score to 21-18, a drive made possible by a nice 18-yard catch by Cotchery on second-and-16 to the Raiders 19.
"It's no secret the impact of my missed field goals had on the game. We win the game if not for those. It's a tough one to swallow. I should have been better today and we lost because of it. We win the football game if I was better."
-- K Shaun Suisham, who missed field goals of 32 and 34 yards after making his first 15 attempts this season
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
3: That's how many takeaways the Steelers defense had against the Raiders, compared to just two turnovers. The previous time the Steelers had more takeaways than turnovers and still lost the game was Oct. 3, 2010 against the Baltimore Ravens, a 17-14 defeat.
WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
The Steelers' Shamarko Thomas appeared to recover a muffed punt at the Raiders 28 after the ball looked to hit off the leg of returner Jacoby Ford. But the official ruling on the field was that Steelers CB Antwon Blake touched the ball before it hit Ford's leg and the call was upheld by replay review after a challenge by Mike Tomlin. The Raiders took advantage of the fortuitous call to go on an 11-play, 73-yard touchdown drive to take a 21-3 lead. "It hit his leg," Blake said. "It happened so fast. Based off replay, I don't think I touched it at all."
X's AND O's
After spending all week preparing for the speed and athleticism of Terrelle Pryor, the Steelers let the Raiders quarterback escape for a 93-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game -- the longest run by a quarterback in NFL history. The Raiders fooled the Steelers by pulling right guard Mike Brisiel to the left, causing LB LaMarr Woodley and the defensive line to flow that way. Pryor faked a handoff to Darren McFadden, went around the right end and ran untouched down the field. "You can't start a game off like that," Woodley said. "You can't start a game giving up a 93-yard run."
The Steelers (2-5) play at the New England Patriots (6-2) at 4:25 p.m. Sunday. Since 1996, the Steelers are 2-3 (including postseason) in Foxborough, Mass., and are 0-2 there against Tom Brady.