Teams: Steelers at Raiders
Last Time These Teams Played
There will never be any love lost between these two franchises. One won't have to look any further past the several near brawls that broke out on the field in 2010, when the Steelers destroyed the Raiders 35-3 in a penalty-laden game that, upon re-watching, would make fans of either team realize replacement officials are really not that much worse than the regular crews the NFL used to use.
The Steelers defense proceeded to land haymakers on the entire Raiders offense for the remainder of the game. Outside linebacker James Harrison said after the game of the club-record 164 yards of penalties the team took, "We didn't worry about the calls. When you're getting a lot of penalties against you, it brings you together."
As some BTSC readers may remember, that begain the "Us Against The World" feature we ran weekly. That mentality carried over through to the Super Bowl.
It was the most intense, physical and angry game the Steelers have played in the last three seasons. Part of it was caused by the 27-24 upset the Raiders put on the Steelers in the midst of a five-game losing streak in 2009 that torpedoed their playoffs chances. Some of it could be attributed to the 39-26 whipping the Patriots put on Pittsburgh the week prior to the game against the Raiders.
Whatever it was, it could only be described as a true homage to football in the 1970s. It was violent and nasty. It was Steelers football. The score indicates the accurate position of where those teams stood in regards to physical football.
Raiders At A Glance
Passing - QB Carson Palmer, 56-for-94 (59.6 percent), 670 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, 84.1 rating
Rushing - RB Darren McFadden, 26 carries, 54 yards (2.1 yards per carry), 0 touchdowns
Receiving - McFadden, 15 catches, 105 yards (7.0 yards per catch), 0 touchdowns
Tackles - LB Phillip Weaver, 14
Sacks - DE Matt Shaugnessy, 1.5
Interceptions - NONE
What To Watch For
To this point, the Oakland Raiders (0-2) appear to be capable of going as far as QB Carson Palmer will take them. Whether that's to the playoffs, or just down the street, is up to Palmer.
Statistically, Oakland is one of only two teams running the ball less effectively than the Steelers. Their defense has given up 57 points in losses to San Diego (22-14) and Miami (35-13), and has yet to create a takeaway.
Two games isn't a big enough sample size to draw any significant conclusions, but what we do know is Oakland is 0-2, and teams simply don't make the playoffs after an 0-3 start. It's a huge game for the Raiders, and with a road trip to arch rival Denver on deck, the Raiders pretty much need to win this game if they are to have any postseason hopes.