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mesaSteeler
11-21-2010, 12:19 AM
Pittsburgh native Gradkowski a good match with Raiders
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/print_710380.html
By John Harris
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oakland quarterback and Pittsburgh native Bruce Gradkowski, who bounced around with several teams, appears to have found a home with the Raiders.

Gradkowski opened the season behind starter Jason Campbell, but he replaced Campbell in the second game because of injury and made three consecutive starts before going down with an injury to his throwing shoulder Oct. 10.

Campbell has since led the first-place Raiders to their first three-game winning streak in eight years.

Gradkowski's biggest NFL moment occurred in the fourth quarter last December at Heinz Field. He tossed three go-ahead touchdown passes, including the game-winner with 9 seconds remaining, to become the first Oakland quarterback to throw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter since 1979.

Gradkowski also became the only quarterback in the league since at least 1991 to throw three go-ahead touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, according to STATS LLC.

Back at home

The Steelers have played their best football on the road this season, where they're 4-1. Since 2000, the Steelers have the fourth-best road winning percentage in the NFL.

However, the Steelers are only 2-2 at Heinz Field; they own the best home record in the NFL (224-87-1) since 1970. They're 39-12 at home over the past seven seasons. Four of their final seven games are scheduled for Heinz Field.

The Steelers are coming off a stretch of three consecutive road games. It's the first time the Steelers played three consecutive regular-season road games since 1994.

Give and take

Coach Mike Tomlin made a big deal last season about his defense not making "splash plays" better known as creating turnovers. This season, the Steelers lead the AFC and are second in the NFL with 21 takeaways. The Steelers rank third in the league with a plus-8 turnover advantage (21 takeaways, 13 giveaways).

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.