The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking for their first win in their past three games, having lost to the Broncos and Chargers in consecutive weeks. They now get their third crack in a row against an AFC West team, having already gone 0-3 against teams in the division.
Marcus Gilbert remains out for the team, but joining him is starting running back James Conner. Another notable name on the inactive list is rookie outside linebacker Olasunkanmi Adeniyi. Marcus Allen also goes back to being a healthy scratch with Morgan Burnett and Cameron Sutton back. The other inactives are Mason Rudolph, Zach Banner, and L.T. Walton.
A couple of big inactives for the Raiders are Kelechi Osemele, one of their two best offensive linemen, and rookie defensive lineman Maurice Hurst. Hurst leads the Raiders with four of their 10 sacks on the season. Bruce Irvin, no longer with the team, had three sacks, so there are only three sacks on the roster today.
The Raiders began the game with the ball and immediately broke off a 10-plus yard run, then hit Jared Cook for an explosive play over L.J. Fort, down to the Steelers 35. Then it was Jon Bostic’s turn to get beat by Cook for another big play down to the 16. Doug Martin rushed for five yards on the first play inside the red zone. Seth Roberts forced a missed tackle to set up first and goal.
From the three, Martin backed his way forward for two yards down to the one. His knee was down just shy of the goal line on second down. Now third and goal from inches away, he was able to jump over the pile for the opening-drive touchdown, giving the Raiders an early 7-0 lead.
Jaylen Samuels got the start and the carry on the first play of the game for the offense, rushing for four yards up the middle. Darrius Heyward-Bey received an end-around but was thrown down for a big loss. Now third and 13 after a nine-yard loss, Ben Roethlisberger threw to JuJu Smith-Schuster, who went up to make a strong grab for the conversion over the defender playing the man.
To the 41, Roethlisberger’s second pass skidded short of Antonio Brown for an incompletion. A short pass to Samuels picked up about four yards. The third-down pass was in and out of Smith-Schuster’s hands in traffic for an incompletion. Jordan Berry’s punt from the 45 bounced to the 10, downed by Heyward-Bey.
Picking up where they left off, Martin gained nine yards on first down. He got the extra yard a play later to the 20. Derek Carrier made great grab on the following play, but Derek Carr’s throw was negated by an illegal formation on the right tackle. A play later, Stephon Tuitt, who was close on the previous play, got the sack for a loss of 10. Javon Hargrave brought Jalen Richard down after a three-yard gain, setting up a third and 22. The screen pass to Roberts only added about half the needed yardage. Ryan Switzer was backed up all the way to about his 25, slipping but picking up about 10 yards on the return.
Samuels continued to get the work to start the game, getting a three-yard carry on first down. Roethlisberger scrambled on second down before finding Jesse James open down the field for a nice gain of 22 yards. To the Raiders’ side of the field, Samuels took a short pass six yards. James Washington got his first reception in a while to convert on a short slant. Following another two-yard carry, Roethlisberger threw to Samuels in the flat for about four setting up a third and four to end the first quarter. On third down, Roethlisberger threw quick to Vance McDonald to move the chains inside the 20.
From the 16, Stevan Ridley checked in for the first time and was dropped for a short loss. Now second and 11, Brown caught his first ball of the game but for just three yards. Now a huge third and eight inside the red zone, Roethlisberger found Brown inside the five and down to the two, one on one with Gareon Conley.
On first and goal, following a timeout, Ridley checked back in with heavy personnel and punched it in with Roosevelt Nix on the lead block to tie the game at 7-7 early in the second quarter.
Dwayne Harris returned the ensuing kickoff out past the 25. Off play action, Carr found Jordy Nelson for a first down. Hargrave buried the back on the following play, but Cook was left open for a first down across midfield on the next play against Burnett.
Martin was able to fight for two yards up the left side down to the Steelers’ 44. Tuitt was able to get a hand on a Carr pass at the line of scrimmage on second down. Now third and eight, Carr found Cook yet again for the conversion against Burnett.
Richard cut his way for eight yards nearing the red zone on the next snap. He slipped trying to make a cut on second down for a loss of a yard. Now third and three, Mike Hilton was unable to pick off a pass that was poorly spotted, so the Raiders settled for a field goal to retake the lead at 10-7.
Samuels got the carry for three yards, but the defense was docked for a facemask for an extra 15 yards. At the 42, Roethlisberger found James for six yards over the middle. Smith-Schuster was able to break a tackle after a short reception for yards after the catch down to the Raiders’ 38.
Samuels caught a screen pass for a moderate gain, but yet again a facemask added 15 yards. From the 16, Samuels took a pitch sweep but for just two yards. Roethlisberger looked for Washington into the end zone, incomplete, on good coverage, but the throw wasn’t close. Now third and eight, Roethlisberger was sacked by Clinton McDonald, just the Raiders’ 11th sack of the year. Chris Boswell missed wide right to preserve Oakland’s lead.
Hilton got his first sack of the season on second and eight, setting up a third and 14 from the 25. T.J. Watt batted down a screen pass to force a three and out after the missed field goal. Switzer drew a third facemask on the ensuing punt return.
Roethlisberger connected with Smith-Schuster for a nice catch at the sideline down to the two-minute warning. An inside screen to McDonald picked up a chunk of yardage to the 13. Another red zone trip began with a short reception for Brown. Roethlisberger’s second-down pass was broken up by Karl Joseph, though it would have been a tough interception. Now third and nine from the 12, Roethlisberger checked down to McDonald, who broke through a pair of tackles to set up a first and goal at the two.
Samuels was given the carry on first and goal but was stopped for limited yardage as the Steelers used their second timeout. Switzer should have had a touchdown on the following play on a pick route to the left flat but he slipped and was tagged down at the one. Now third and goal, Roethlisberger put far too much air onto a ball in the back of the end zone. He ended up making an incredible concentration catch for the touchdown. 14-10 with 10 seconds remaining in the half.