Steelers-Raiders Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 23, 2013
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.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Twitter, Facebook report engagement decline during Super Bowl

Steve Spurrier becomes special assistant to South Carolina AD

Brent Musberger wants you to bet on Joe Lunardi’s bracketology

Unranked Duke uses big first half to beat No.13 Louisville

MLB reportedly close to rule preventing collisions at second base

USOC says athletes concern about Zika shouldn't attend Games


Von Miller shares support for embattled Johnny Manziel

The Panthers had to use a silent snap count at the Super Bowl

Report: Lakers would fire Byron Scott to hire Luke Walton

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Seahawks’ Frank Clark rips Cam Newton ‘that boy a b—‘

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Daniel Bryan says goodbye to WWE during teary retirement speech

Paul George delivers great line about driving by Kobe Bryant

WATCH: Oklahoma beats Texas on Buddy Hield's 3-pointer

Andre Drummond hits 70-foot buzzer beater to end 3rd quarter

Duke's Allen appears to intentionally trip Louisville's Spaulding

Candidates for New York Knicks head coaching job

Attorney alleges Johnny Manziel ruptured ex-girlfriend's eardrum

Jeanie Buss may clean house in Lakers’ front office

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker