Misery Continues

Dale Lolley returned from the West Coast with a breakdown of the bad news that dropped the Steelers to 2-5.

The Steelers' flight out of Oakland was delayed for nearly half an hour thanks to some paperwork that had to be filled out.

No, the paperwork wasn't coming from the Raiders petitioning the NFL to add the Steelers to the AFC West, it had to do with a door not properly closing.

But there was a door that closed Sunday. It was the one closing on the Steelers' aspirations this season.

Throughout its four-game losing streak to open the season, and its subsequent two-game winning streak to get to 2-4, the Steelers were saying how things were getting better, how they still had a chance to make the playoffs.

There wasn't a lot of that talk in the locker room Sunday after the 21-18 loss to the Raiders.

The talk Sunday centered more on how the Steelers had come out, allowed the Raiders to take control of the game early, and then fallen short in all three phases of the game.

There was the look in the eyes of many veteran players that they had just given away one too many games.

@ Mike Tomlin took the blame. Shaun Suisham took the blame. Ben Roethlisberger took the blame. Heck, everybody in the locker room took the blame for this one.

And you know what? They were right. All of them.

At one point, somebody in the press box, who had to come up with a player of the game for the Steelers, wondered who he could possibly name and asked for help.

I suggested Bruce Gradkowski. After all, he was the only guy who didn't see the field in this one.

@ Tomlin has kept eight offensive linemen active in the past couple of weeks after nearly needing eight against the Vikings and only having seven active.

Sunday, he needed all eight.

Ramon Foster suffered a concussion, so his participation next week at New England will be a 50-50 proposition. He'll need to pass the concussion tests before he's cleared.

Guy Whimper, who replaced Foster at left guard, suffered a knee injury that doesn't look good.

Right guard David DeCastro suffered an ankle injury, tried to come back out and play through it, then left for good, giving way to Cody Wallace, a player who couldn't make a hapless Tampa Bay roster.

Yeah, it was that bad.

@ If Zoltan Mesko is on the roster by the end of this week, I'll be shocked.

Yes, David Paulson was beaten on his block for a tipped punt by Rashad Jennings, but the kick wouldn't have been tipped if Mesko fields the snap cleanly.

Had Mesko fielded the ball cleanly, Jennings getting some penetration wouldn't have mattered.

Robert Golden made matters worse by grabbing the ball as if he thought it was live instead of allowing the ball to continue rolling. It appeared that if he had not fielded the ball, it might have rolled 10 to 15 yards - if not more.

Instead, the Raiders got the ball at the Pittsburgh 26 and grabbed a 14-0 lead before the Steelers had their legs under them.

@ So much for that running game being fixed.

Nineteen carries produced just 35 yards Sunday. Certainly, being down 21-3 had something to do with that. But the Steelers came out to open the second half and decided that would be a good time to try to establish the running game.

They had nine carries for 24 yards on a drive that ate up 9:11 and ended with Suisham's second missed field goal of the game.

That total was killed by a couple of big negative plays, a two-yard loss by Jonathan Dwyer and a five-yard loss by Le'Veon Bell, but it also shows that their other 10 carries produced 11 yards.

@ Oakland had 149 yards of offense in the first quarter, 93 of which came on Terrelle Pryor's touchdown run to open the game.

The Raiders had 244 yards at the half, mostly thanks to a 11-play, 72-yard second quarter drive that was the real back-breaker.

That drive, of course, followed Emmanuel Sanders false on a third-and-five play in which Bell took a pass with nobody in front of him.

Then, on the re-do, Bell was called for holding and Roethlisberger made an illegal forward pass while overthrowing Heath Miller.

Mesko then banged a punt 51 yards to the Oakland 28, where Jacoby Ford did pretty much everything wrong, failed to catch the kick, fell on his back and had the punt roll across his leg.

But the officials ruled Antwon Blake had tipped the loose ball with his finger prior to it hitting Ford.

The ensuing 72-yard TD drive, with Pryor escaping pressure several times, was a back-breaker. And they owed it all to a simple illegal procedure penalty.

Steel City Insider Top Stories