View Full Version : Neither officiating crew nor Raiders can halt Steelers

11-23-2010, 02:17 AM
Neither officiating crew nor Raiders can halt Steelers in dazzling show

Sunday, November 21, 2010 04:18 PM
Written by Bob Smizik
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At various points in the game between the Steelers and Oakland Raiders today, CBS announcers Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts attempted recall the historic rivalry that existed with these teams in the 1970s, when they were the dominant teams in the NFL.

Nice try, guys, but not even close.

The Steelers performance was so powerful it almost brought to mind some of their great predecessors, but the memory of seven days earlier when this team stunk out the stadium chased away those thoughts.

But to suggest these soft, intimidated and sucker-punching Raiders are close to their one-time excellence, even by dint of false memory, is preposterous.

Early in the third quarter, Fouts, a Hall of Fame quarterback, surveyed the carnage taking place and said, ``The Raiders have to show some spine now. They have to respond to the way the Steelers are pushing them around.’’

Never happened. The Raiders, who came in with a three-game winning streak, went meekly into the night, a 35-3 loser at Heinz Field. Wonder what Al Davis is thinking?

The game was poorly officiated, based on what I saw and the strong comments by Fouts, who wasn’t afraid to point out the shortcomings of the officiating crew. Many, if not most, of the bad calls went against the Steelers, which means their fans have plenty of reason to be upset.

But anyone who thinks this is a conspiracy against the Steelers -- one of the elite franchise of the league owned by one of the most revered families in football -- is crying too much. Bad calls happen. Intentionally bad calls do not.

This was still quite a performance by the Steelers on every count.

The defense, embarrassed last week, did the embarrassing this week. The vaunted Oakland running game was silenced and quarterback Jason Campbell probably was thrilled to be removed from the unyielding pressure he faced on every play when he was replaced by Bruce Gradkowski in the third quarter.

James Harrison was a demon -- tackling, sacking, stripping and intercepting. He and his teammates had Campbell and running back Darren McFadden thoroughly intimated.

At one point in the third quarter, instead of taking a Steelers tackler head on, McFadden backed in and meekly went down.

Ben Roethlisberger was excellent and not deterred a bit by a sucker punch from Richard Seymour in the first half. That punch resulted in Roethlisberger going to the ground and bouncing right back up and Seymour being immediately ejected.

Roethlisberger threw three touchdown passes -- 22 yards to Emmanuel Sanders, 52 to Mike Wallace and 16 to Isaac Redman. He also scrambled for a 16-yard touchdown run.

The victory leaves the Steelers at 7-3 and in good shape in the standings.

Of their six games remaining, four are against Buffalo, Cincinnati, Carolina and Cleveland, team that are a combined 8-32. This isn’t to suggest the Steelers might not lose to one of those teams -- they could -- but likewise they are more than capable of also beating their other two remaining opponents, the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets.

Fortune changes direction in a hurry in the NFL. A week ago, the Steelers looked like impostors. Today they look like champs.