By Christopher DiMarino
Steelers Versus Raiders Recap:
This game was very different from what I thought it would be. I wasn’t surprised it was close, but I was surprised by the timeline of scoring events. The Steelers got started quick and scored with ease early. In the end, however, it was the Raiders who came through late as the Steelers faltered. The Steelers offense looked great passing and awful running once again. Jonathan Dwyer might have just sealed his season after he failed to get yards and fumbled. The return of Rashard Mendenhall will likely be at the cost of a running back. Four fumbles in total on the day, but at least two were recovered. You can’t turn the ball over in a close game.
Mike Wallace continued his strong start to the season and Heath Miller had another colossal game. Both players have scored in each of the first 3 games this season. Antonio Brown was great as well but his turnover made him the goat. I was worried Darren McFadden would bust out a big run and he did early. Ryan Mundy looked like a high school safety on that play. Carson Palmer was contained for the most part, but the Raiders offense was efficient and scored points. The performance by Ben Roethlisberger was marred by a weak showing on defense by the Steelers. Thankfully the Steelers have an early bye because they need a few guys to come back from injury and they have a lot to work out. It’s important to remember that we are only 3 weeks in and the season still has plenty of time to go. Unless Pittsburgh steps up on defense, I feel that the losses will continue.
You can reference my fantasy projections following the link below:
What We Learned: Pittsburgh Steelers
- Roethlisberger wants a career year. He is playing near perfect football. While he hasn’t played the best of defenses yet, his receiving core is looking good. As long as the running game isn’t a hindrance, I think this offense can compete against any defense in the NFL.
- The running game experiment without Rashard Mendenhall has been an epic fail. Isaac Redman isn’t solely to blame, but we’ve now witnessed 3 weeks of simply terrible running attempts. Mendenhall might be the answer and could earn a contract out of it. The 2013 draft is looking more and more like a spot where the Steelers look for some new talent.
- The Steelers defense does not generate enough pressure. Jason Worilds was back in this game so there are no excuses. With the price tag on James Harrison next year (and his injury woes) this defense will soon be in a position where it needs to move on without him. It has not demonstrated that ability so far.
- The linebacker play has also been questionable. The Steelers veteran players like Brett Keisel and Larry Foote played a soft game. Young talent like Lawrence Timmons and even the pair of first round ends have not stepped up yet either.
- Chris Rainey’s involvement is still on a limited basis. I know you can’t feature the guy, but he only touched the ball 4 times. His big play ability is really needed. Looking around the NFL this week, the one resounding fact is that big plays won games, and the Steelers are struggling in that category.
What We Learned: Around the League
- The Giants Defense seems to be remembering that it can cover up a weak secondary with heavy pressure on the QB. Bradshaw owners might get concerned about Brown’s recent successes. If Carolina can’t run the ball this season, it means they can’t score.
- The Bears D is just as good as we thought it would be but the Rams D has been impressive under Jeff Fisher. The Rams still need more weapons to contend but with the picks Washington gave them (for RG3), they could be good very soon. The Bears did alright, but they need Forte back.
- The Browns are still struggling. While their offense has been better than expected, their defensive play has been off. Tashard Choice becomes the waiver pick of the week because of Spiller’s injury (I wouldn’t). Fitzpatrick is starting to look like he did early last season.
- Dallas’ D is really good against mediocre offenses. Tony Romo needs to cut the turnovers down, but his line got beat up today. Dallas hasn’t been too successful running the ball. Josh Freeman needs to play better in big games.
- Andrew Luck has looked better every week. MJD had a monster day and looks ready to put the offseason behind him. Gabbert is a very up and down type of guy, but came through when it counted. Cecil Shorts has had 2 big games out of 3 so far even though he only had 1 catch.
- Darrelle Revis is out for the season and that is a huge blow to the Jets team. Both QBs in this one were inaccurate and inconsistent. Daniel Thomas came together spelling the injured Reggie Bush. Big Day for Santonio Holmes who was celebrating not having to go up against Ike Taylor.
- Wow. When this team takes off, Ponder and Kyle Rudolph might just become fantasy studs. San Francisco stuttered on offense a lot against a Vikings D who had not done well this season. A lot of fumbles in this one. Noteworthy stat? San Francisco had 0 sacks.
- The Saints D is really bad. While they had some small wins on the day, letting Jamaal Charles get almost 300 total yards is a travesty. Brees got his yards again, but he is very inefficient with the ball. His protection is breaking down fast. The Saints need to try and run the ball to mix it up.
- Very weird end for the Lions. Chris Johnson disappoints for the 3rd week in a row. Both teams were able to pass with ease and Shaun Hill came in and played fantastic. Detroit might have a running back in Mikel Leshoure, let’s see him against a good defense.
- Andy Dalton looked very good against a depleted Redskins defense. Andrew Hawkins is really starting to warrant some fantasy looks. RG3 came back from a weak first half to make this a close one. Alfred Morris ran well and Fred Davis had his first big game.
- Arizona is looking good, especially on the defensive side. Philly continued the trend of turning the ball over. Ryan Williams and Larry Fitzgerald had their first big games of the year. LeSean McCoy wasn’t enough of a factor in this one.
- San Diego was outmatched against the Falcons who are looking good even on the road. Thomas DeCoud had a huge game covering Antonio Gates and Atlanta put the pressure on. San Diego’s defense couldn’t stop the Falcons offense and the Chargers turned the ball over too much.
- Matt Schaub passed the ball well against a good Broncos defense. If Houston can continue to add a serious passing game to their strong running attack, they will be a super bowl cailber team because their defense is great. Peyton got his yards, but took too much time to score.
- The Ravens won a close one against the Pats. The difference in this one was the run game the Ravens had with Ray Rice. Flacco out dueled Brady and Torrey Smith had a huge game only a day after the death of his brother. Impressive late win for the Ravens.
- What is happening in the NFC West? The Seahawks pull the upset on the controversial final play of the game. Either way, the Seahawks are playing like the 49ers. They have a solid defense and an offense that is efficient and runs the ball to eat up the clock. Terrible game for fantasy.
If you have any fantasy questions, feel free to post them as comments on these articles (I will check them as often as I can) or for a speedier answer, ask me on twitter.
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