Victory Six Pack
Pittsburgh 31- Oakland 34
A six pack of Guinness Beer -- observations for a stout, full-bodied Win.
1. Total Team Effort
A much needed and well deserved team victory was achieved with an efficient offense, opportunistic D, and solid execution by the special teams unit.
2. Carson Palmer - Field General
CP3 did a nice job using the no-huddle offense and audibles at the line especially in the 2nd half. His efficiency and command of the offense resulted in 34 points against one of the better defensive units in the NFL. CP3 Stats: 24/34 (70%) for 209 yards, 3 TD passes, 1 INT.
3. Opportunistic D
During critical junctures of the game, when it could stretch to a 3 score deficit, the Raiders defenders kept the game close or within striking range. Raider defenders Wheeler, P. Lee, and Bryant accounted for 4 stripped fumbles with the Raiders recovering 2. On the Steelers last 2 possession of the 4rh quarter, the D raised their game to cause a fumble and punt.
4. Run DMc and Raiders Offense Back On Track
Going into Sunday's contest, many Raider fans were rightfully concerned about the newly installed west coast offense and zone blocking scheme. OC Knapp has been getting hammered by many fans as a guy who is a poor playcaller and how his scheme doesn't fit the personnel. The biggest change to the Raiders productive offense on Sunday was a balanced, diversified, less predictable offense. 9 different players had at least 1 reception (3 TEs, 4 WRs, 2 RBs). Part of this change was #20 finally getting into open space on both runs and passes. The other significant change seems to be Palmer having more latitude to change the play and utilize the no huddle offense more to change the tempo.
5. Scoring More With Less
The Raiders only had 4 possessions in the entire 2nd half. The Steelers had a nearly 2:1 ratio of time of possession. In spite of few possession and a paper thin margin for error, the Raiders scored on all 4 2nd half possession (TD, TD, FG, FG). The key to the offensive efficiency in the 2nd half was committing only 1 penalty, ball security (0 turnovers), pass protection (0 sacks allowed) and converting crucial 3rd downs.
6. Wild, Wild West
It is difficult to get a handle on the Raiders this year let alone the ups and downs of the NFL as a whole. One week folks are crowning the Donkeys the King of the NFL (after beating Pittsburgh in week 1) and the next week writing off the Raiders as done (after a listless beat down by the Fins in week 2). The AFC West was completely re-calibrated after week 3 as 2 win less teams (Raiders & Chiefs) had stirring comeback victories while the "favorites" (Chargers, Donkeys) came back to earth.
Up Next: Raiders go to Mile High vs. the Donkeys. Let's see if the Raiders can establish a consistent level of effort and execution from 1 week to the next.