Steelers notebook: Revived offense looks to keep momentum
The Steelers' running game finally is enjoying some success, but backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski said the key to a good offense is adapting game by game.
What worked against the Baltimore Ravens isn't necessarily what will work Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
“It's all about what you can do that (next) game. You've got to keep your book open,” he said. “Whatever is making plays, whoever is making plays for your offense, you've got to keep on it.”
Even with their 141 yards rushing against Baltimore — the most they've had in nearly a year — the Steelers' 446 yards rushing are the second fewest they've had through six games since 1945, when they had 403 yards.
Many of the Steelers know Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor because of his association with former Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, who mentored Pryor during his Jeannette High School days.
“Charlie used to bring him around a lot,” Ike Taylor said. “We knew this was going to be the next big hit coming out of Pittsburgh. You'd see Charlie out at a dinner or a function, you'd see him (Pryor).”
In the 40 seasons since they defeated Oakland in the 1974 season AFC championship game, the Steelers have beaten the Raiders on the road only twice: 1984 and 1994. They've lost seven times.
No love lost
Longtime Steelers fans often reminisce about the 1970s games against the Raiders, but no current player was alive at the time.
“I knew about the Immaculate Reception, but I didn't know about the Ice Bowl (1975 AFC title game) and the all the rest of the games, the ‘criminal element' game (in 1976) and stuff like that,” wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said.
The rivalry was so strong, Raiders defensive back George Atkinson sued Chuck Noll for defamation of character after Noll labeled him as being part of football's “criminal element.” Atkinson lost the case, but the distractions it caused might have led to the Steelers' 9-5 record in 1977, their worst from 1971-80.
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.
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