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Sunday, November 21, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Steelers 35, Raiders 3

By James Walker

PITTSBURGH -- Here are some early thoughts on the Steelers' 35-3 victory against the Oakland Raiders:

What it means: The Steelers played one of their best games of the season, bouncing backing from an embarrassing loss last week to the New England Patriots. Pittsburgh is 7-3 and keeps pace with the Baltimore Ravens (7-3) in the AFC North.

What I liked: Pittsburgh started fast offensively and defensively in a big game for both teams. The Steelers scored 21 straight points in the second quarter to take a 21-3 halftime lead. I also liked Pittsburgh's improved pass rush. The Steelers rattled Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell with their blitz and sacked Campbell four times before he was benched in favor of backup Bruce Gradkowski. Pittsburgh receiver Mike Wallace (three catches, 116 yards) also continues to make big plays and recorded a touchdown catch for the third straight games.

What I didn't like: A rash of penalties were the only concern for Pittsburgh in a blowout win. The Steelers set a team record with 163 penalty yards. There were several debatable personal foul and roughness calls as the league continues to crack down on big hits, which we will get to later.

Oakland controversy: Look for Oakland defensive lineman Richard Seymour to receive a big fine for his hit to the face of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers scored their third touchdown late in the second quarter and Seymour hit Pittsburgh's quarterback, resulting in a brawl between the Steelers' offense and Oakland's defense. With the way the NFL is protecting quarterbacks, Seymour will likely get a large fine and possibly a suspension.

What's next: The Steelers have a solid chance to win next week at the Buffalo Bills, who overcame a 21-point deficit to beat Cincinnati. But it could be a trap game if Pittsburgh isn't careful. On Dec. 5, the Steelers will play at Baltimore, where they will try to avenge an early-season loss.