The Pittsburgh Steelers lost 34-31 to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday and have now dropped to 1-2 on the young season. Below are 4 players that I thought had winning performances in the game and 4 more that had losing performances.
Heath Miller – The fantastic start to the season for Miller continues as he scored twice and caught 8 total passes for 60 yards in the game. The former first round draft pick also had two great catches over the middle in traffic. Miller was playing with a rib cartilage injury that he suffered last week, but you wouldn\’t have known it.
Ben Roethlisberger – While he started off a bit slow in the accuracy department, Roethlisberger quickly got on target and finished 36-for-49 for 384 yards in the loss with four touchdowns and no interceptions. The Steelers quarterback was once again deadly on third downs as the Steelers converted 7-of-12 in the game. Roethlisberger is on pace for 42 touchdown passes this year, which would easily beat his single-season record of 32 that he threw in 2007.
Mike Wallace – You really wouldn\’t know at this point that Wallace missed all of training camp and a good portion of the preseason. Wallace was targeted 12 times in the game and finished with 8 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown, which came compliments of the Raiders letting him break free in the endzone. While Wallace did have a fumble, he was able to recover it himself.
Ryan Clark – Clark picked off the first pass of Carson Palmer and led the team in tackles once again with 7, and that includes a thrown for a loss. The offense was able to convert that early turnover into 7 points, so that always gets extra kudos. Clark has 22 tackles now through the first 3 games, which puts him on pace to shatter his career high of 100 last season.
Ryan Mundy – Mundy had a very rough game starting in place of the injured Troy Polamalu. Not only he did he miss tackles, but he was also exploited in coverage, specifically on a touchdown producing rub route by Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. On the 64-yard touchdown run in the first quarter by Raiders running back Darren McFadden, Mundy was easily juked in the second level. To make matters worse, Mundy will be vilified for his hit on Heyward-Bey that forced the wide receiver to leave the game on a stretcher. While it was not egregious or done with intent to injure, it will likely cost him some grocery money.
Jonathan Dwyer – Dwyer had 3 carries for -1 yards in the game and his second quarter fumble set the Raiders up in Steeler territory and it ultimately turned into points for them. Dwyer had 8 snaps in total, and with Rashard Mendenhall likely to return to the lineup after the bye, Dwyer could find himself on the inactive list moving forward.
Lawrence Timmons – Timmons had all of 3 tackles in the game and 2 of those were out in coverage. The inside linebacker missed on a few tackles and he failed to have a presence in the game.
Brett Keisel – Keisel was one of the two main culprits on the play that allowed McFadden to go 64 yards for the touchdown as he was not able to get to the “A” gap and thus was sealed off on the backside by the Raiders left guard. Keisel also was guilty of encroachment on the fourth down play that resulted in a Raiders first down deep in Steeler territory, and they scored on the very next play. The Raiders did have two players in motion on the play, but it was not called, and thus Keisel was hung out to dry and flagged. The defensive end also failed to crack the stat sheet in the loss.