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Steelers boot opportunity for win on the road in Oakland

Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham reacts to his second missed field goal in the third quarter against the Raiders on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham reacts to his second missed field goal in the third quarter against the Raiders on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell can't hang on to a pass in the third quarter against the Raiders on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell can't hang on to a pass in the third quarter against the Raiders on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Steelers' defense reacts on the bench after losing to the Raiders, 21-18, on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Steelers' defense reacts on the bench after losing to the Raiders, 21-18, on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor runs for a 93-yard touchdown on the first play of the game against the Steelers on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor runs for a 93-yard touchdown on the first play of the game against the Steelers on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham walks off the field after missing a third-quarter field goal against the Raiders on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham walks off the field after missing a third-quarter field goal against the Raiders on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Raiders running back Darren McFadden drags Steelers defenders into the end zone for a first-quarter touchdown Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Raiders running back Darren McFadden drags Steelers defenders into the end zone for a first-quarter touchdown Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Steelers' William Gay, Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu react on bench after losing to the Raiders, 21-18, on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Steelers' William Gay, Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu react on bench after losing to the Raiders, 21-18, on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Steelers' Cameron Heyward reacts to the last play of the game in a 21-18 loss to the Raiders on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Steelers' Cameron Heyward reacts to the last play of the game in a 21-18 loss to the Raiders on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gets up after being sacked by the Raiders in the fourth quarter Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gets up after being sacked by the Raiders in the fourth quarter Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Raiders running back Darren McFadden cruses into the end zone for a second-quarter touchdown against the Steelers on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Raiders running back Darren McFadden cruses into the end zone for a second-quarter touchdown against the Steelers on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Steelers' Brett Keisel recovers a fourth-quarter Raiders fumble Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Steelers' Brett Keisel recovers a fourth-quarter Raiders fumble  Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Raiders' Daneil Muir (right) takes down Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell in the third quarter Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. The Steelers are 31st in the NFL in rushing (481 yards) this season.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Raiders' Daneil Muir (right) takes down Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell in the third quarter Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. The Steelers are 31st in the NFL in rushing (481 yards) this season.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons causes Raiders receiver Jacoby Ford to fumble in the fourth quarter Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons causes Raiders receiver Jacoby Ford to fumble in the fourth quarter Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gets sacked by the Raiders' Vance Walker in the fourth quarter Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gets sacked by the Raiders' Vance Walker in the fourth quarter Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham misses a third-quarter field-goal attempt against the Raiders on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham misses a third-quarter field-goal attempt against the Raiders on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor runs past Steelers cornerback William Gay in the second quarter Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor runs past Steelers cornerback William Gay in the second quarter Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Raiders' Mike Jenkins pulls in a fourth-quarter interception behind Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Raiders' Mike Jenkins pulls in a fourth-quarter interception behind Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders dives into the end zone for a 2-point conversion in the fourth quarter against the Raiders on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders dives into the end zone for a 2-point conversion in the fourth quarter against the Raiders on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Steelers' Troy Polamalu reaches out to make a first-quarter interception against the Raiders on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Steelers' Troy Polamalu reaches out to make a first-quarter interception against the Raiders on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders gets tackled on the last play of the game by the Raiders' Charles Woodson on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders gets tackled on the last play of the game by the Raiders' Charles Woodson on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons runs after Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the fourth quarter Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons runs after Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the fourth quarter Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Steelers' Antwon Blake tries to come up with a second-quarter fumble by the Raiders' Jacoby Ford on a punt Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, at Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Steelers' Antwon Blake tries to come up with a second-quarter fumble by the Raiders' Jacoby Ford on a punt Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, at Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Raiders' Jacoby Ford fumbles a second-quarter punt in front of the Steelers' Antwon Blake on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, at Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Raiders' Jacoby Ford fumbles a second-quarter punt in front of the Steelers' Antwon Blake on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, at Oakland, Calif.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers receiver Antonio Brown put a move on the Raiders' Usama Young in the third quarter Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, at Oakland, Calif.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers receiver Antonio Brown put a move on the Raiders' Usama Young in the third quarter Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, at Oakland, Calif.

Steelers/NFL Videos

A black hole

Breakdown of the Steelers' road record against the Raiders:

Date Results

10/25/70 31-14 L

11/11/73 17-9 W

12/22/73 33-14 L*

12/29/74 24-13 W*

9/12/76 31-28 L

12/26/76 24-7 L*

12/7/81 30-27 L

1/1/84 30-10 L*#

12/16/84 13-7#

9/23/90 20-3 L#

11/27/94 21-3 W#

12/10/95 29-10 W

1/29/06 20-13 L

9/23/12 34-31 L

10/27/13 21-18 L

Record 5-10

*—Playoff game

#—In Los Angeles

Source: Pro-football-reference.com

By Alan Robinson
Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, 7:42 p.m.
 

OAKLAND, Calif. — Fittingly, the play that sums up the Steelers' season was over almost before it started.

It covered 93 yards, lasted 14 seconds, and with each stride of Terrelle Pryor's long and powerful legs on the first play from scrimmage Sunday, he tromped the Steelers' disappointing season deeper into the O.co Coliseum turf.

There have been about 1.6 million plays run in NFL history, but there never had been one like this: the longest touchdown run by a quarterback.

“Talk about starting fast and making a statement on first play,” cornerback Ike Taylor said. “They did, and we didn't.”

Largely because of Pryor's masterpiece of a read-option play, the Steelers are 2-5 after losing to the Raiders, 21-18, their fourth upset loss in five games against Oakland since 2006. Now they seemingly have nowhere to go but down in a season in which they keep talking as if the playoffs are a reality — but a top-10 draft pick seems more inevitable.

Up next: the Patriots (6-2) in Foxborough next Sunday, with the Steelers staring at their second 2-6 start since 2006.

They have nine more games remaining in what is fast becoming their worst season since they went 6-10 in 2003, but after Pryor outraced every member of what is supposed to be an elite defense on what might be the run of a lifetime, the next truly important date for the Steelers is May 8. That's the first day of the NFL Draft.

Raiders coach Dennis Allen decided Saturday to call the opening play for Pryor, the former Jeannette and Ohio State star who was tutored by former Steelers backup quarterback Charlie Batch and knows quite a few of the Steelers players.

“We wanted to give Terrelle a chance to get into the flow of the game and give him some easy plays to start the game,” Allen said.

How much easier does it get than this?

“That's devastating,” Roethlisberger said. “You don't expect that.”

And didn't coach Mike Tomlin call the read-option “the flavor of the month” in March, saying the Steelers were looking forward to defending it “in stadiums in the fall?”

“It's frustrating: the season, the games,” Roethlisberger said. “We feel like we're there and we've got a chance and doing good things, but those one or two mistakes hurt us.”

Or in this case, five or six or seven mistakes prevented the Steelers from making a memorable comeback after they fell behind 14-0 and 21-3. Even two touchdowns — Emmanuel Sanders' 9-yard catch and Le'Veon Bell's 2-yard run — in the final 12 minutes, 11 seconds couldn't save this afternoon. Or this season.

Or a team that keeps losing starting linemen. Both starting guards, David DeCastro (ankle) and Ramon Foster (concussion), left in this one, as did backup Guy Whimper (knee).

The Steelers were hurt by Zoltan Mesko's delay in getting off a punt later in the first quarter, allowing Rashad Jennings to partially block it. The 3-yard punt set up the first of Darren McFadden's two touchdown runs.

They also were stung by the first two field-goal misses by Shaun Suisham, from 34 and 32 yards, both shanked to the right. He had been 15 for 15. As Tomlin said, they made the difference in a game in which they were outrushed 197-35, with Pryor getting 106 yards on nine carries.

The Steelers couldn't turn two Pryor interceptions into points. Or convert during a 16-play drive that lasted 9:11 to start the second half. Or during two potentially game-changing possessions after Roethlisberger bounced pinball-like off a couple of defenders and threw his TD pass to Sanders. Antonio Brown couldn't hold onto a pass near the Raiders' 30, then later fumbled at the Raiders' 21 with 6:46 remaining.

They also wasted a timeout when Roethlisberger (29 of 45, 275 yards) thought a horse-collar tackle on Bell would be called, but the officials decided not to call an infraction after conferring.

“I know timeouts are valuable, but so are 5 yards for a team that's having trouble scoring touchdowns,” Roethlisberger said.

Not that it matters much now.

If there's a pattern to this season, it's this: The Steelers fell behind the Titans by 14. They fell behind the Bengals by 10. They fell behind the Bears by 21. They fell behind the Vikings by 17. They fell behind the Raiders by 18.

“We can't ease into football games. When the national anthem goes, you've got to be ready to go,” defensive end Brett Keisel said. “So far this season, we've struggled in that area. We got to step into stadiums ready to go. It's going to be addressed. I might address it.”

It might be too little, too late for a team that arrived too late for a season that irretrievably got away from them almost before they knew it. Just like Terrelle Pryor did.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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