Raiders seeking consistency on both sides

Good defense, bad offense, when shall the two meet for the Oakland Raiders?

Raiders Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: D-minus -- The only thing the Raiders accomplished on offense was they didn't lose the game. Andrew Walter was 5-for-14 for 51 yards and one interception thrown into triple coverage. He held the ball too long and was sacked six times. Randy Moss had two dropped passes. Courtney Anderson didn't come up with what would have been a difficult catch in the end zone. Walter converted one third-down pass, a 19-yarder to Jerry Porter.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- A paltry 2.8 yards per carry with no gain longer than 9 yards. There was one decent sequence before halftime in which Justin Fargas (18 carries, 55 yards) carried seven times for 31 yards on one drive that led to a field goal. LaMont Jordan had seven carries for 21 yards after missing practice most of the week with a sore back. There were no turnovers.

PASS DEFENSE: A-minus -- Oakland scored touchdowns on a 24-yard interception return by Nnamdi Asomugha and a 100-yard bolt of lightning from Chris Carr. Fabian Washington had the first interception of his career, linebacker Kirk Morrison the second. Morrison also broke up a pass in a crucial goal-line stand. Pittsburgh piled up most of its 301 passing yards in a furious rally. The only blemishes were a 25-yard Willie Parker score on a screen pass, and a 38-yard strike from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes over Asomugha.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- Erase a 39-yard run by Parker and the Steelers ran for 50 yards on 27 carries -- or 1.9 per attempt. This was a huge factor in making things difficult for Roethlisberger, who was coming off a concussion and needed help from his running game to find any sort of groove. Robert Thomas made two huge stops on first and second down from the 1 on a goal-line stand, dropping Najeh Davenport for a 4-yard loss on the second one. Terdell Sands was a giant in the middle. Morrison had one of his best all-around games.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A-minus -- Sebastian Janikowski converted field-goal attempts of 19 and 41 yards and had two touchbacks. He had one bad moment, a short kickoff that Davenport ran 25 yards to open a drive at the Steelers' 46-yard line. Shane Lechler averaged 48.1 yards per punt, 43.1 net and dropped three inside the 20-yard line. Carr's 50-yard kickoff return set up one of Janikowski's field goals.

COACHING: B -- Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan gets an A-plus, bringing up the overall grade. Raiders defenders talked of being so well prepared that nothing the Steelers did surprised them. Morrison's interception was on a scheme where he bluffed being a run defender and dropped into coverage. Utilizing Carr in the "speed" alignment with Poole as the other slot corner paid big dividends. On offense, what were the Raiders trying to prove near the goal line with their key playmakers out of the game? Walter operates in an offense without apparent check-downs or options if the first read isn't there.

Steelers Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: F -- Even though Ben Roethlisberger threw for 301 yards and a touchdown, his four interceptions cost the Steelers a victory. Two were returned for touchdowns. He also was sacked five times and could not put them in the end zone at the end when they had first down at the one, his last pass falling incomplete.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- Against the No. 26 rush defense in the NFL, the Steelers managed only 89 yards and a 3.2-yard average. Willie Parker had 83 yards on 22 carries, 39 of them on one run. Also, when they had first down on the Raiders' one with three minutes left and trailing by seven, the Steelers lost four yards on two consecutive runs.

PASS DEFENSE: A -- Andrew Walter completed just 5 of 14 passes for 51 yards. He was intercepted once and sacked six times. It may go down as one of the most pathetic modern-day performances in a victory.

RUSH DEFENSE A -- Oakland, with the 10th-ranked running offense, could get just 81 yards on 29 carries with a long run of 9 yards. They scored no touchdown on the ground.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Another 50-yard kickoff return, this one by the Raiders' Chris Carr, helped set up a score for Oakland. Najeh Davfenport's 25-yard return of a short kickoff in the fourth quarter did create the opportunity for the Steelers to score their first touchdown. Jeff Reed made both of his field goal tries.

COACHING: C-minus -- Coach Bill Cowher lost another challenge on a play that never should have been challenged. They gave up on their ground game way too son against the No. 26 rush defense in the NFL and on a day in which Ben Roethlisberger obviously was not making good decisions.

SB Report Top Stories