NFL Nation: 2013 Week 8 PIT at OAK Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Oakland Raiders

October, 27, 2013

OAKLAND, Calif. -- A few thoughts on the Oakland Raiders' 21-18 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers:

What it means: The Raiders ended their decadelong post-bye blues against a rival as ancient as it is disliked. Before Sunday, the last time Oakland won a game immediately after a bye was in 2002, the Raiders had been outscored by a cumulative 271-139 in going 0-10 in said games. The Raiders continued their streak of luck against Pittsburgh, winning their third straight against the Steelers in Oakland. And while the Raiders’ offense got off to a quick start in building a 21-3 lead -- including Terrelle Pryor's record-setting 93-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game -- it continued its troublesome trend of going flat in the second half. The defense had to again make a late stand after getting outscored 15-0 in the second half.

Stock watch: Falling -- Jacoby Ford. Remember when he was an electric game-changer on offense and special teams as a rookie in 2010? Then came injuries and ineffectiveness. Sunday, he endured a rough one, misplaying two punts, fumbling a punt return out of bounds and losing a fumble on a reception deep in Pittsburgh territory that the Steelers would turn into their first touchdown.

Pryor's record run: The Steelers had to know Pryor was a threat to run, right? And yet, on the first offensive play of the game, Pittsburgh bit hard on Pryor's zone-read option fake handoff to Darren McFadden going left, and Pryor, helped by sealing blocks from right tackle Matt McCants and receiver Rod Streater was gone. Pryor’s 93-yard run was the longest by a quarterback in NFL history and the longest run in Raiders franchise history, eclipsing the 92-yarder running back Bo Jackson had against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 5, 1989.

King crowns Brown: Marquette King fashions himself a football player rather than just a punter. He looked like one on his tackle of Antonio Brown in the fourth quarter that possibly saved a touchdown, popping Brown and riding him down after a 44-yard return.

What's next: The Raiders (3-4) host the Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) for the first time since a 13-9 victory in 2009. Oakland has won three of the past four meetings with Philadelphia, coming out on top in 1995, 2001 and 2009 while falling in 2005.

Rapid Reaction: Pittsburgh Steelers

October, 27, 2013

OAKLAND, Calif. -- A few observations from the Pittsburgh Steelers' 21-18 loss to the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum.

What it means: The Steelers’ season is back on life support after everyone, as coach Mike Tomlin might say, had their hand in the pile in the team’s third consecutive loss in Oakland. The defense allowed a 93-yard touchdown run by Terrelle Pryor on the first play from scrimmage. The Steelers' offense managed just 3 yards shorter than Pryor’s jaunt, the longest run by a quarterback in NFL history, through the first two quarters. The special teams were simply awful, and Tomlin did not put on a clinic, either, as the Steelers fell to 2-5.

Stock watch: The good times for kicker Shaun Suisham and the Steelers’ offensive line lasted exactly one week. Suisham, the reigning AFC Special Teams Player of the Week, missed a pair of field goals from inside of 35 yards after making his first 15 kicks to start the season. The gaffes turned out to be huge after the error-prone Raiders insisted on keeping the Steelers in the game. The offensive line, meanwhile, is all beat up after starting guards Ramon Foster and David DeCastro left the game with a concussion and ankle injury, respectively, and did not return. Guy Whimper, who replaced Foster at left guard in the first half, was also knocked out of the game when he injured his left knee.

Inconsistency still an issue: Zoltan Mesko's days in Pittsburgh could be numbered. Mesko bobbled a snap that was partially blocked in the first quarter and set up the Raiders’ second touchdown of the season. He managed just a 30-yard punt near the end of the half and received an earful from Tomlin after he walked to the Steelers' sideline. Tomlin said last week that Mesko needed to eliminate the “junior varsity” punts from his game and become more consistent. Mesko was really good at times against the Raiders -- his 56-yard punt in the third quarter pinned the Raiders inside their 1-yard line -- but there was no middle ground for the punter who was already on shaky ground.

Next up: It doesn’t get any easier for the Steelers as they visit Tom Brady and the New England Patriots next Sunday in Foxborough. Brady rallied the Patriots from a 17-3 halftime deficit in a 27-17 win over the Dolphins on Sunday as New England improved to 6-2. The Steelers haven’t been good enough on the road -- or good enough period -- to think they can hand the Patriots their first home loss in five games.