ALAMEDA, Calif. -- So what was going through Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson’s mind as his team, nursing a 21-3 halftime lead against the Pittsburgh Steelers, came out of the locker room last Sunday?
"We really wanted to gut ’em,” Olson said Thursday, meaning, the Raiders were looking at running the ball down the Steelers’ throats and racking up 300 yards on the ground. Besides, the Raiders already had 182 rushing yards at the half.
"We’d like to make a statement here with our rushing game and let’s finish them off here,” Olson recalled thinking.
Instead, the Raiders had 35 total yards, 15 on the ground, and one first down, after halftime. They survived, 21-18, thanks in part to Steelers' kicker Shaun Suisham missing field goals from 34 and 32 yards, his first misses of the season after 15 conversions.
“So it was disappointing to come out in the second half the way we did,” Olson said.
The Raiders simply could not move the ball against the Steelers after the half. Not when the offense did not get to touch the ball until there was 5:49 remaining in the third quarter after a lengthy but fruitless Pittsburgh drive to open the second half.
Not when quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who opened the game with a record 93-yard touchdown run, mistakenly kept the ball on a zone-read option play on Oakland’s first play of the second half, a one-yard loss, rather than handing off to running back Darren McFadden.
Not when Jacoby Ford misplayed a punt that had the Raiders starting their second possession of the half on their own 1-yard line.
And definitely not when Ford lost a fumble on a catch at Oakland’s 11-yard line on the Raiders’ first possession of the fourth quarter, setting up Pittsburgh’s first touchdown of the game.
"It’s unacceptable,” Olson said of the fumble.
"We didn’t execute the plays; they were there to be had."