When Oakland Raiders’ owner Al Davis was alive, he was fond of saying “just win, baby,” “commitment to excellence,” and “pride and poise.”
Some looked upon these as old fashioned, but they were on display last Sunday as the silver and black lived up to them, which would have made Davis, who passed away last year at age 82, extremely proud.
Coming into this AFC clash withPittsburgh, the Raiders were winless, but that was erased when Sebastian Janikowski’s 43-yard field goal sailed through the uprights as the clock expired givingOaklanda come-from-behind 34-31 victory.
The Steelers controlled the statistics and pace for much of this encounter, but the Raiders didn’t care about either.
Down 31-21 afterPittsburghquarterback and two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger hit wide receiver Antonio Brown (87 yards and seven receptions) with an 11-yard pass and 1:31 left in the third quarter,Oaklandrebounded with 13 unanswered points under the direction of former USC and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Carson Palmer.
Palmer started off shaky as he was intercepted by safety Ryan Clark onOakland’s opening possession.
In short order, Roethlisberger (36 of 49 for 384 yards and four touchdowns) drove the Steelers 36 yards and hit tight end Heath Miller (60 yards on eight catches) with a four-yard strike and 11:33 left in the opening quarter for a 7-0 lead.
The Steelers (1-2) came in having won 12 of 17 road games, and looked ready to extend that number.
Oakland (1-2) had other ideas as Palmer (24 of 34 for 209 yards and an interception) spotted wide receiver Denarius Moore (45 yards and five catches) with a six-yard toss and 12:13 remaining in the fourth quarter that ended an 11-play, 80-yard drive and trimmed Pittsburgh’s lead to 31-28.
Palmer’s one-yard pass to tight end Richard Gordon gotOaklandwithin 24-21 and 6:35 showing in the third quarter.
Oaklandtied it at 31-31 with 6:30 left in the fourth quarter when Janikowski creamed a 32-yard field goal.
The Raiders (321 total net yards) knotted it at 7-7 when running back Darren McFadden (113 yards on 18 rushes) blistered thePittsburghdefense with a 64-yard touchdown and 10:33 left in the opening quarter.
Pittsburgh(433 total yards) moved in front 14-7 after Roethlisberger found Miller on a four-yard toss and just under four minutes left in the opening stanza, capping an 81-yard, 12-play march.
Palmer gathered his troops for a 30-yard trek that ended when he located wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey with a three-yard throw and 1:55 left before intermission.
Roethlisberger managed to get Shaun Suisham into field goal position, and he kicked a 33-yarder as the clock went to triple zeros as the visitors seized a 17-14 advantage.
Heyward-Bey was involved in a helmet-to-helmet collision with Ryan Mundy in the second half, and the game was delayed for 12 minutes.
Heyward-Bey was taken to a local hospital, but before going gave the “thumbs up” sign to the capacity crowd, which roared with delight.
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.