The Pittsburgh Steelers are already off to a quick start in Week 14 on the road against the Oakland Raiders. Well, if departure time counts.
As expected, the Steelers flight for Oakland out of Pittsburgh on Saturday was much earlier this time and it appears as though even 6 hours earlier than they left for the West Coast last time back in 2015.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who enters Sunday’s game against the Raiders with a career record of 1-6 in the Pacific Time Zone with 8 touchdown passes, 13 interceptions and 24 sacks, let it be known on Wednesday that the team was likely to leave earlier on Saturday for the West Coast than they have in the past.
“We’ve always gone at the same time as long as I’ve been here. This year we are going earlier in the day, so I guess we are trying something different,” Roethlisberger said.
Steelers tight end Jesse James also discussed the team’s adjusted travel plans for the West Coast during the week as well.
“It’s a 1 o’clock game out there,” James said, according to PennLive.com. “Our schedule is basically if it’s a 1 o’clock game here once Sunday starts.”
James also reportedly went on to say that the team will hold its meetings and walkthroughs in the Bay Area once they arrive there.
“Just get out there, get moving, because you’re on the lane for four or five hours, so just get out there, get moving,” he told the media outlet. “When you’re sitting on a plane your legs get kind of stiff. On the ground when we get out there, have some more time.”
In addition to having an awful record in the Pacific Time Zone during Roethlisberger’s career, that includes the quarterback being 0-3 in Oakland against the Raiders, the Steelers are 20-37 during the regular season dating back to 1948 in the Pacific Time Zone, according to Pro Football Reference. The Steelers last win against the Raiders in Oakland was in 1995 when Roethlisberger was just 13 years old.
In the Steelers last loss to the Raiders in Oakland, Roethlisberger was 29 of 45 on his pass attempts for 275 yards with one touchdown pass and two interceptions. He was also sacked 5 times in that game. That 21-18 Steelers loss also included then-Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor running 93-yards for a touchdown on the game’s first offensive play. Pryor, by the way finished that game having completed just 10 of his 19 total pass attempts for 88 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Roethlisberger was asked on Wednesday to describe what it is about Oakland that makes it a tough place to play.
“I think the environment, the team, travel. A little bit of everything,” Roethlisberger said.
Hopefully by leaving much earlier for Oakland on Saturday than they have in the past the Steelers are eliminating the travel aspect from that equation. We’ll find out for sure in a little more than 24 hours from now. Should the Steelers play well on Sunday and beat the Raiders handily like many expect they should, perhaps leaving early in the morning for future trips to the West Coast might become the new normal.