With a swift kick from 43 yards out, with his powerful left leg, Raiders’ kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, capped off a rally that gave Oakland a 34-31 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Raider Nation can breathe a sigh of relief, and do a little strutting around the office cooler on Monday morning.
The victory over the Steelers is somewhat bitter-sweet, as they lost their number one receiver in Darrius Heyward-Bey, to a neck injury he sustained late in the ball game. Oakland manged to gather themselves, and finish off the game scoring the last 13 points.
Head coach Dennis Allen, gets his first signature win in his young tenure with the team, and spoke about the resiliency of his ball club.
“You put a lot of hard work, blood sweat and tears into trying to build a championship team, and one of your guys goes down, especially in a situation like that, it’s hard to keep your focus,” coach Dennis Allen said. “But I thought our guys did an outstanding job in getting their focus back, coming back and executing, and winning a game in the fourth quarter.”
After the injury, Raiders’ quarterback, Carson Palmer, would connect with wide receiver Denarius Moore, for a 6-yard touchdown.
On the next drive, Raiders cornerback Pat Lee, forced a fumble from Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown. This play would eventually lead to a Janikowski game tying field goal midway through the fourth quarter. Oakland would get one more huge stop from their defense, before Janikowski kicked the game winner.
Palmer would finish the game with 209 passing yards, to go along with three touchdowns. His ability to finish off drives played a big role in the victory on Sunday.
The biggest factor in Sunday’s win however, was the re-emergence of running back, Darren McFadden, who finally went over the century mark, rushing for 113 yards and one touchdown. The touchdown run, was a classic 64-yard jail break type of run, the kind of one “hitter-quitters” Raider Nation was accustomed to seeing from RUN-DMC in recent years. If the offense can maintain this type of balance, then maybe offensive coordinator, Greg Knapp’s head might not be on the cutting block every Monday.
The defense gave up a lot of yards in the passing game, which was expected with a depleted secondary, but made stops late in the game when it mattered the most. They were also able to contain the Steelers running game, only giving up a total of 54 yards rushing. If the Raiders can play this type of bend but don’t break defense, as well as force turnovers against their opponents, they will be in good shape as the season progresses.
Allen knows the Silver and Black has more work to do, as they must improve from week to week. He must now have to consider bringing in a wide-receiver to replace Heyward-Bey, who I imagine will be out for a while. With names like Plaxico Burress, Terrell Owens, and Chad Johnson (the latter two have played with Palmer) available, there are options out there, I’m just saying.
The next task for Allen is to see if the Raiders bring this type of intensity on a weekly basis. With their next opponent, being their rivals, the Denver Broncos, Raider Nation hopes that Allen can come up with an effective game-plan for his former employees.
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Written by Arthur Kai