Gerry Dulac's Two Minute Drill: Steelers vs. Raiders
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Goes to: Ben Roethlisberger
The Steelers quarterback was impressive for nearly the entire game, completing 73.4 percent of his passes (36 of 49) and throwing for 384 yards and four touchdowns, both season highs. In addition, he had a passer rating of 123.2 and completed 11 of 19 passes for 148 yards on back-to-back scoring drives that gave the Steelers their first 10-point lead, 24-14. But, with a chance to win the game, Roethlisberger was sacked and had a third-down incompletion to force a punt. "I think offensively we did the things we wanted to do," Roethlisberger said. "But we have to finish."
A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:
1. BROWN ON THE GROUND: Antonio Brown was fortunate to recover his first fumble in the fourth quarter for a touchdown. But, with the Steelers leading, 31-28, Brown fumbled again on the next offensive series while trying to get more yards after a 20-yard catch. The Raiders recovered at the Steelers 36 and turned the mistake into the tying field goal. "I take full responsibility," Brown said. "I should have been smarter. I should have gone down. Maybe the outcome would have been different if I was smarter."
2. PALMER CONVERTS: Palmer was 7 for 8 on third-down conversions in the second half, none bigger than a 15-yard pass to TE Brandon Myers on third-and-10 from their 25. That kept alive the winning FG drive. "It's frustrating, especially when you score that many points and lose," DE Brett Keisel said.
3. MILLER TIME: TE Heath Miller had only one day of practice last week, but he had eight catches for 60 yards and two touchdowns -- both in the first half. His 9-yard reception on third-and-8 on the final touchdown drive was typical of what he did all game.
4. PALMER CONVERTS PART II: Trailing 31-21, Palmer never flinched on the ensuing drive. He hit 7 of 9 passes for 86 yards and capped the 11-play drive with a 6-yard touchdown to Denarius Moore after eluding pressure from Keisel and LaMarr Woodley.
5.. UNHAPPY RETURN: Leading 14-7, the Steelers wasted an opportunity to put away the Raiders for good when Antonio Brown had a 73-yard punt return for touchdown wiped out by a holding penalty -- one of two Steelers penalties on the runback.
"We never stopped them, not one time. They were allowed to score whenever they wanted. The key was they were able to run the ball early and that allowed Carson [Palmer] to do what he did in Cincinnati -- read us and get the ball in the right spots. He was playing smart and intelligent."
-- S Ryan Clark on the defense blowing two 10-point leads
75 That's the percent of fourth-down conversions this season for the Steelers (3 of 4), who were 2 for 2 against the Raiders. The biggest came on fourth-and-1 from their 29 on the final drive. "I wasn't going to punt the ball to them," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We hadn't stopped them enough in the second half to do that."
S Ryan Mundy delivered a thundering hit on Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, below, in the end zone that separated him from the ball and prevented a touchdown. But Heyward-Bey was knocked unconscious and was on the field for nearly 10 minutes before being removed on a stretcher. Mundy appeared to hit Heyward-Bey with the crown of his helmet. "I went in to try and make a play," Mundy said. "I don't try to intentionally hurt people. You have a job to do and my job is try and get the ball out. I didn't go in there trying to hit anyone on the helmet."
For the third game in a row, the offense did something it strives to do -- score on the final possession of the first half and the first series of the second half. Those drives accounted for 34 points in three games, including 10 against the Raiders. The Steelers drove 64 yards in the final 1:54 of the first half for a 33-yard field goal, then scored on the opening drive of the second half with a 22-yard touchdown to Mike Wallace. "But when you walk out of the stadium with a loss, it doesn't matter," said receiver Antonio Brown
vs. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, 1 P.M. OCT. 7: The Steelers (1-2) have an off week and do not play again until Oct. 7 at home against the Philadelphia Eagles (2-1). The Eagles have won three of the past four and five of the past seven against the Steelers.
First Published September 24, 2012 12:00 am