Rookie Kelvin Beachum starts the second half with a false start. Ben Roethlisberger was off the mark trying to drop a deep ball into Mike Wallace and the Steelers are facing second and long. On third down Roethlisberger misses Antonio Brown on the right sideline that would have likely moved the chains. The Steelers quarterback was able to make a clutch throw to Wallace on third down to move the chains. After two nice strikes to Brown the offense has great rhythm and the pass protection is good to boot. The touchdown pass to Wallace was just Ben being Ben and keeping the play alive long enough for his wide receiver to break free in the back of the endzone. This drive was all Roethlisberger.
The excitement is short lived as the kickoff unit allows Mike Goodson to return the kick up to midfield. Darren McFadden gets to the second level on a draw run as both Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Clark miss tackles on the play. Ike Taylor has good position on Darrius Heyward-Bey down the right side to prevent a long touchdown. Carson Pamer hit Denarius Moore with a nice pass between Larry Foote and Cortez Allen and all of a sudden the Raiders offense is right in the redzone. Palmer now takes the underneath stuff given him against the zone and the defense has no real pressure on the quarterback. Foote misses a tackle on McFadden and the Raiders are first and goal. Foote, Allen and Ryan Mundy all have shots on McFadden, who almost scores on the next play. Palmer easily hits his wide open tight end for the touchdown with Mundy being the closest defender in coverage.
The Raiders onside kick was timed perfectly and the Steelers got lucky that the ball went out of bounds as they were caught with their pants down. Heath Miller makes another great catch over the middle to move the chains. An illegal formation call on Marcus Gilbert negates a nice gain by Wallace. Third down Ben hooks up with Miller to move the chains. The second down quick hitter was a nice play call, but the move by Brown made the score happen. It almost was for not as Brown fumbled going in for the score. Regardless, the outcome was great and the Steelers have a 10 point lead.
Palmer leads the Raiders back down the field and is hardly pressured early in the drive as he continues to chew up underneath the zone. Taylor does a great job of forcing Moore outside on the deep pass which sets up a crucial 3rd and 9. Palmer makes a great throw to Rod Streeter against man-press coverage to move the chains. This was a break backer of a conversion here. On the very next play Mundy breaks up the sure touchdown to Heyward-Bey, but it will likely cost him a fine as result. The long delay in the game I thought would help the Steelers defense get some rest, but that didn\’t matter.
Palmer easily converts yet another 3rd down, but this time it is to Marcel Reese out of the backfield as he easily breaks free of Jason Worilds, who has coverage on him. Another killer 3rd down conversion for the Raiders. Brett Keisel does get pressure on the touchdown pass, but Palmer escapes it out to his left to hit Moore in the front corner of the endone. Moore was free after Taylor slipped and fell on the play.
The fumble by Brown on the next drive was another dagger. Not only was the offense clicking at the time, but it meant that the defense was right back out on the field. Palmer and the Raiders offense moves easily to start their drive and the pass interference call on Keenan Lewis was justified as Lewis never played the ball. The draw play to McFadden was a perfect call as three linebackers were behind the handoff when it took place. Taylor has too soft of cushion on Derek Hagan and the Raiders easily convert another 3rd down. The Raiders stall, but come away with a field goal to tie the game at 31.
The Willie Colon holding call on first down gets the Steelers final drive off to a rocky start. Wallace almost gives the game away with a fumble, but is lucky enough to recover it. On 4th down and short, I don\’t blame Mike Tomlin for going for it. He knows that the defense hasn\’t stopped the Raiders in the second half and that the offense better be able to pick up 1 yard, which they did. On 3rd down Roethlisberger, who is under heavy pressure, misses Wallace and the Steelers are forced to punt.
The Steelers had Palmer down to a 3rd down and 10, but once again they cant get off the field. The blitz doesn\’t get home and Palmer hits his tight end with Lawrence Timmons in trail coverage for the first down. Mundy comes on the safety blitz on the next play, but Palmer is unfazed and completes another pass to the right side underneath Lewis. Another blitz fails to get home and a wide open Hagan takes the ball down inside the Steelers 30. The game is over at this point.