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Steelers defense dismantles Oakland 35-3

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James Harrison's interception and two sacks led a Steelers defense that terrorized the Oakland Raiders, holding the visitors to just 182 yards of offense in a 35-3 Steelers blowout win. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed for 55 yards and another score.

Steelers 35 – Raiders 3

Pittsburgh overcame a throng of penalties and more injuries to the offensive line thanks to a dominant defensive performance and a few big plays through the air. Rookie center Maurkice Pouncey and LG Chris Kemoeatu both left the game in the second half. Pittsburgh picked up 14 penalties for 163 yards with a few more flags declined.

GAME FLOW

After a three-and-out by Pittsburgh to start the game, Oakland drove down the field to take a quick 3-0 lead with a 41-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski. The Steelers offense struggled until its third drive of the game, a 14-play marathon ending with five-yard touchdown by RB Rashard Mendenhall. After a three-and-out by Oakland, rookie WR Antonio Brown appeared to score a touchdown on a 67-yard punt return, but the score was nullified by a holding penalty and the offense stalled. The Raiders were not as lucky following their next three-and-out. On third-and-five in the redzone, Roethlisberger kept it himself to pick up the first down and then decided to take it all the way, scoring a 16-yard rushing touchdown. Four plays later, Ike Taylor forced a fumble to put the ball back in Pittsburgh’s hands, setting up a 22-yard touchdown strike from Roethlisberger to rookie WR Emmanuel Sanders. Tempers flared before halftime and Raiders DE Richard Seymour was ejected from the game after hitting Roethlisberger in the head following a Steelers touchdown. The Steelers took a 21-3 lead into the half.

Neither team scored in the third quarter with Pittsburgh’s defense playing strong and the Steelers as a whole being limited by penalties, including an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on James Harrison that wiped out a pick-six by Ike Taylor. Oakland looked ready to capitalize late in the quarter after a quarterback change, but an interception by Troy Polamalu dispelled the threat. Two plays later, Mike Wallace arrived with the dagger, catching a 52-yard touchdown to put Pittsburgh up 28-3. RB Isaac Redman finished out the scoring with a 16-yard catch and run late in the fourth quarter, giving the team a 35-3 victory.

OFFENSE

On the ground:
Rashard Mendenhall was the workhorse on the ground, but only managed 59 yards on 23 carries with one touchdown and one fumble. Roethlisberger had a big day on the ground, scrambling three times for 55 yards, including a 31-yarder and a 16-yard touchdown run. Redman contributed five carries for 27 yards and Mike Wallace added 19 yards on a reverse.

Through the air: Roethlisberger was efficient on Sunday, completing 18 of his 29 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns. Mike Wallace led the team with three catches for 116 yards and one of those touchdowns. Rookie Emmanuel Sanders had two catches for 35 yards and a touchdown. Isaac Redman scored his first career touchdown on his only catch of the game. WR Hines Ward, TE Heath Miller and RB Mewelde Moore all added three catches apiece.

DEFENSE

The defense was dominant on Sunday, limiting the Raiders to just 182 yards of offense even though a number of their drives were extended by penalties. James Harrison led the charge on defense with two sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble. Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor both added interceptions, with Ike also adding a forced fumble. LaMarr Woodley contributed a sack and a forced fumble. LB James Farrior, CB Bryant McFadden, and rookie LB Jason Worilds also registered sacks. Farrior led the team with eight total tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Shaun Suisham, who replaced longtime kicker Jeff Reed this week, did not attempt a field goal but was five-for-five on extra points. Daniel Sepulveda averaged 45 yards on seven punts with four downed inside the 20-yard line. Isaac Redman averaged 20.5 yards on two kickoff returns. Rookie Antonio Brown returned to his role as a punt returner and averaged 9.4 yards on seven returns, but had a 67-yard touchdown nullified by a penalty.

GAME BALL

James Harrison was unstoppable on defense to the tune of two sacks, a pick, and a forced fumble.

NEXT UP

The Steelers travel north to Buffalo to take on the 2-8 Bills, who scored 35-straight points in a stunning 49-31 comeback against the Cincinnati Bengals. The game will be shown at 1:00 PM on CBS.

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