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ricardisimo 10-26-2013 05:59 PM

Week 8 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Raiders 10/27/2013
Coverage: CBS
Arena: Coliseum, Oakland, California
Sunday October 27, 4:05 pm EDT

Steelers-Raiders Preview


The Pittsburgh Steelers' recent success has them feeling confident, but cautious, moving forward.
They'll look for a third straight victory while trying to extend the host Oakland Raiders' post-bye week struggles Sunday.
After allowing 27.5 points per game while going winless in September, Pittsburgh (2-4) has yielded 22 total in consecutive victories over the New York Jets and Baltimore this month. Shaun Suisham's 42-yard field goal as time expired in last Sunday's 19-16 win over the Ravens was the Steelers' first home victory this season.
"We believed from the start," linebacker LaMarr Woodley said. "Even when we were 0-4, we still believed we had the opportunity to turn this thing around.
"Right now we just have to keep marching in the right direction."
However, the Steelers understand the focus must be on the present and improving each week.
"Even though we're 2-4, we've still got to take it one game at a time," rookie running back Le'Veon Bell said. "We can't win four games in one week."
The Steelers' improved defensive play has been the difference of late.
They've allowed one touchdown the last two games, and their four sacks against the Jets and Ravens matched the total from the first four. Pittsburgh hasn't allowed more than 83 yards rushing in each of the last two after yielding an average of 122.8 in September.
The Steelers came through with another strong defensive effort last Sunday while Woodley played through a knee injury and Lawrence Timmons tied a career-high with 17 tackles despite breaking a bone in his hand.
Coach Mike Tomlin is hopeful both players, and defensive end Brett Keisel (rib), will play Sunday.
"This type of play has to be our identity from here on out," Timmons told the Steelers' official website. "It's how we play ball. The coaches have been preaching it. The players believe and once you believe, you are going to achieve it. We are going to apply it on the grass from here on out."
Though Pittsburgh has scored 19 or fewer points in four of their six games, including both wins, a run game that averaged 61.0 yards through the first five recorded 141 versus Baltimore. Bell gained 93 yards on 19 carries, surpassing his total of 91 entering the game.
"We're still hungry," wide receiver Antonio Brown said. "There's still a lot of football to be played. We're still trying to get back in the running."
Though Oakland (2-4) fell 24-7 at Kansas City on Oct. 13 and has been outscored 271-139 while losing its last 10 games the week after a bye, it has won three of four over Pittsburgh, including the last two in the Bay Area.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 384 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions at Oakland last season, but Sebastian Janikowski's 43-yard field goal as time expired helped the Raiders overcome a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to win 34-31.
Though they might have that recent series history on their side, coach Dennis Allen understands the challenge to continue that success will be difficult based on the way Pittsburgh is currently playing and the number of injuries that have plagued his team.
"We have a tremendous challenge with the Pittsburgh Steelers coming in," Allen said. "They are playing well in all phases of the game."
Allen's biggest concern is an offensive line dealing with injuries to center Stefen Wisniewski (knee), tackle Tony Pashos (hip and groin) and Andre Gurode (quad). A makeshift line was mostly responsible for the Chiefs sacking Terrelle Pryor nine times.
Those injuries have forced rookie backups Lamar Mady and Matt McCants into action and are a big reason Oakland has allowed 27 sacks - second-most in the league.
"There's no replacement for experience," Allen said. "Unfortunately at times guys have to get their experience in a tough situation in a game environment. That's the way you get better as a football team."
Pryor, who has a team-leading 285 rushing yards, went three straight games without an interception, but looks to rebound after he threw three at Kansas City.
He hopes teammate Darren McFadden can post another strong performance against the Steelers after rushing for 113 yards, including a 64-yard TD, in last season's victory.
Plagued by a hamstring injury, McFadden has been limited to 90 yards on 33 attempts in his last three games since gaining 129 on 19 carries during a 19-9 win over Jacksonville on Sept. 15.
Oakland's Denarius Moore has 20 receptions for 356 yards and three touchdowns over the last four games. However, he could face a stiff challenge if consistently covered by cornerback Ike Taylor, who has played a big part in holding A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall and Torrey Smith to a combined 14 catches for 154 yards and no TDs against the Steelers this season.
Moore had five receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown versus Pittsburgh in 2012.

ricardisimo 10-26-2013 06:02 PM

Re: Week 8 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Raiders 10/27/2013
To Beat Terrelle Pryor and the Raiders, Steelers Need to Look Back to 2012

[B] By Andrea Hangst
To stop Terrelle Pryor and the Raiders offense on Sunday, the Steelers defense should take a cue from how it shut down Robert Griffin III and Washington last year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Oakland to take on the pesky Raiders on Sunday. With the Steelers on a mission to turn their season around—they have won two games in a row coming off of their bye week after starting the year 0-4—this away contest heads into must-win territory.
To take the Raiders down, the Steelers should look to their 2012 season for the blueprint.
No, not the Steelers' Week 3, 34-31 loss to the Carson Palmer-led Raiders last year. Palmer had his best game of the season that week, completing 70.6 percent of his passes for 209 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, while running back Darren McFadden rushed 18 times for 113 yards and a score.
Though there are lessons to be learned from that loss—namely, that defensive adjustments are a must—the best game to look back to for this week's plan is their Week 8, 27-12 drubbing of the Washington Redskins.

The lessons learned from the Steelers' 2012 loss to the Raiders are more simple: make defensive adjustments and don't turn the ball over.

With Palmer no longer in Oakland, the quarterback now under center is Terrelle Pryor. Pryor is strikingly similar in style to Washington's quarterback, Robert Griffin III, and like Washington with Alfred Morris, Pryor has a productive running back in McFadden to help boost the ground game.
Pryor and Griffin are both mobile quarterbacks, which presents a unique set of challenges to opposing defenses. While Pryor is not as strong-armed or accurate a passer as Griffin is, he's still dangerous when he drops back. But luckily for the Steelers, if they take pointers from their dispatching of Griffin and his Washington team last year, they should have similar success in Oakland this Sunday.
In last year's win, the Steelers held Griffin to only 16 completions on his 34 pass attempts for 177 yards and a touchdown. He ran just six times, netting eight yards. Morris was held to only 59 yards on his 13 carries. Pittsburgh's defense effectively shut down Washington's two top offensive weapons, which is what it will need to do this Sunday against Oakland.
<table> <caption>Terrelle Pryor, 2013, Passing and Rushing</caption> <tbody><tr class="odd header"> <td>Atts.</td> <td>Comp.</td> <td>Comp.%</td> <td>Yds.</td> <td>YPA</td> <td>TDs</td> <td>INTs</td> <td>Sacks</td> <td>Rush</td> <td>R.Yds.</td> <td>R.TDs</td> </tr> <tr class="even"> <td>138</td> <td>89</td> <td>64.5%</td> <td>1,061</td> <td>7.7</td> <td>5</td> <td>5</td> <td>20</td> <td>44</td> <td>285</td> <td>0</td> </tr> </tbody></table> Through 5 games

The key to stopping a mobile quarterback is to hit him. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Steelers safety Ryan Clark said that was the Steelers defense's No. 1 priority in last year's win over Washington, and we've seen it employed effectively by many teams against Griffin, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, who are also threats to run.
Keeping pressure on Pryor without allowing him to run will be necessary on Sunday. He's carried the ball 44 times so far this season for 285 yards, and though he has no rushing touchdowns, he's averaging a dangerous 6.7 yards per rush. He simply cannot be allowed to run free on Sunday, which means the pressure on him must be truly suffocating—he must not be able to find anywhere to go.
Hitting him—even if it doesn't result in a sack—puts him off his game and forces him to be a passer. He'll need a clean pocket rather than running lanes if every time he tries to run or scramble, linebacker LaMarr Woodley is on him before he can make a gain. Keeping the pocket clean might be hard for Oakland's offensive line, considering Pryor has been sacked 20 times already this year.
NFL Films' preview of Steelers at Raiders.
The Steelers sacked Griffin only once in last year's win, but when he was faced with pressure in concert with an inability to run, he completed just three of his 11 pressured passes, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), netting only five yards.
Playing physical defense in run situations also removed the threat of Morris last year, and it can do the same thing against McFadden in Oakland this week. However, it must be noted that the Steelers aren't faring as well against the run as they did last year, allowing a 19th-ranked 109.3 average rushing yards per game compared to 90.6 per game in 2012.
This may mean a better performance from McFadden on Sunday than Morris last year, but if the Steelers approach Oakland's offense in the same way they did Washington's, McFadden still shouldn't have a very good day. He certainly won't have over 100 rushing yards like he did in the Steelers' 2012 loss to the Raiders.

The Steelers gave up 113 rushing yards to Darren McFadden last year; if they employ their Washington-beating defensive strategy, they should keep him under control this week.

Luckily for the Steelers, they again have one of the best pass defenses in the league; they rank fourth in passing yardage allowed, at 197.5, all without producing many turnovers or sacks.
Pryor is playing well, completing 64.5 percent of his passes and averaging 7.7 yards per attempt. However, in his five games, he's thrown five touchdowns to five interceptions and has taken those aforementioned 20 sacks, which means the Steelers could find themselves with many opportunities to force him into making mistakes.
Pryor is the kind of inexperienced young quarterback the Steelers live to harass. Griffin was held to a completion percentage below 50 in the game last year, and it's possible that if Pittsburgh's defense follows the same aggressive game plan, Pryor too will have a difficult day passing the football.
Also worth noting is that the Steelers effectively shut down Washington's offense last year without the aid of safety Troy Polamalu. Polamalu will be on the field against the Raiders on Sunday, which will only make Pittsburgh's defense that much harder to control.
Quarterbacks must always account of Polamalu's presence, and his unpredictable nature should give Pryor a difficult time on Sunday. It's not likely he's seen a player with Polamalu's style in his brief NFL career—and it's even less likely that he'll be able to figure Polamalu out in their first meeting.

The Steelers didn't have Troy Polamalu when they defeated Washington last year. His presence on the field against Oakland only helps their chances of winning.

Polamalu doesn't have a sack or an interception yet this year, but he's been great in coverage, allowing only eight of 15 passes thrown his way to be caught for 62 yards, 22 yards after the catch and no touchdowns. He's defended two passes, opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of just 63.8 when they're targeting receivers in his direction and he has 33 combined tackles.
Considering what the Steelers were able to do against Washington without him last year, having him in the mix this week against Oakland and Pryor only makes it more likely they can recreate their Griffin-stopping performance of 2012.
The fact that the Steelers had so much success defending against Griffin, Morris and the rest of the Washington offense last year puts them in a good position to repeat that against the Raiders on Sunday. It provides the perfect template for their defensive game plan and, if executed similarly, should produce the same result—a win.

tony hipchest 10-26-2013 06:26 PM

Re: Week 8 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Raiders 10/27/2013

Lady Steel 10-27-2013 12:12 PM

Re: Week 8 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Raiders 10/27/2013


Penn 10-27-2013 12:51 PM

Re: Week 8 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Raiders 10/27/2013
Jarvis Jones playing?

Neil-Still-Rules-14 10-27-2013 02:19 PM

Re: Week 8 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Raiders 10/27/2013

Originally Posted by Penn (Post 1201160)
Jarvis Jones playing?


43Hitman 10-27-2013 02:25 PM

Re: Week 8 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Raiders 10/27/2013

Radio feed of the game from

harrison'samonster 10-27-2013 02:32 PM

Re: Week 8 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Raiders 10/27/2013
Here we go Steelers! Game day, this is a game we can win. Let's get it done!

43Hitman 10-27-2013 03:02 PM

Re: Week 8 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Raiders 10/27/2013
T-minus 60 minutes till kickoff

Confounding Factor 10-27-2013 04:07 PM

Re: Week 8 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Raiders 10/27/2013
Um what?

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