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Raiders-Steelers: What we learned

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders were looking for a fast start Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and quarterback Terrelle Pryor gave them one for the record books.

On the game's first play from scrimmage, Pryor made NFL and franchise history with a 93-yard touchdown run, sparking the Oakland Raiders to a 21-18 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at the O.co Coliseum.

Pryor's touchdown run was the longest by a quarterback in NFL history, breaking former Steeler Kordell Stewart's mark of 80 yards set on Dec. 22, 1996, against Carolina. It was also the longest run from scrimmage, regardless of position, in Raiders history. His 93-yard run broke running back Bo Jackson's franchise record of 92 yards set on Nov. 5, 1989, against Cincinnati.

"I think that was the longest run I've ever had in my life," Pryor said, looking back to his high school and college career.

Pryor had 100 rushing yards after two carries and finished the game with 106 yards on nine carries. He completed 10 of 19 passes for 87 yards with two interceptions but was sacked only twice.

The Raiders, who built a 21-3 halftime lead and held on for a slim win, improved to 3-4 and snapped their steak of 10 straight losses in games after a bye week.

The Steelers had won two straight games after losing their first four, but they fell to 2-5 as their winning streak came to a painful end. They lost for the third straight time in Oakland.

"Obviously we made too many errors early to give ourselves a legitimate chance," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "We allowed them to control and dictate the flow of the game and how we started really in all three phases. The first 30 minutes of football was poor on our part, and I take responsibility for that. It starts with me. Obviously we can't choose to defer a kickoff and allow them to explode and spot them seven points on the first play of the game."

On the Raiders' first play, Pryor faked a handoff to running back Darren McFadden, who rammed up the middle, drawing almost the entire Steelers defense his way. Pryor bolted around right end, getting a huge block from wide receiver Rod Streater on safety Troy Polamalu, and raced untouched to the end zone.

Pryor said he was "reading" Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley on the play.

"The guy bit down that I was reading," Pryor said. "I came out, Rod made a phenomenal block, and it was off to the races."

Pryor said he couldn't believe how much open space he saw.

"I was very surprised, because it's never open like that," Pryor said. "Very surprised. But with the game plan, the way they put things together, it doesn't surprise me that sometimes it may happen like that."

McFadden rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns -- one from the wildcat formation -- on 24 carries.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 29 of 45 passes for 275 yards and one touchdown. He was intercepted twice and sacked five times, two of those by linebacker Sio Moore.

"They're good," Roethlisberger said of the Raiders. "Good defense. They got after us, and they were better than us."

What the Raiders said

"I don't think anyone was close to catching him. He's a dadgum gazelle out there. He broke free and that was all she wrote." -- Guard Mike Brisiel, on quarterback Terrelle Pryor's 93-yard touchdown run.

What the Steelers said

"Everybody was excited. A lot of talk all week about turning (Darren) McFadden back and everybody was revved up for that. It's a good job by (Pryor) to read the option and pull it. Even if you're excited about stopping McFadden, you have to understand the beast that's playing quarterback." -- Free safety Ryan Clark, on Pryor's long scoring run on the read-option after faking a handoff to McFadden.

What we learned about the Raiders

1. If the Raiders don't find a killer instinct soon, their slim playoff hopes will surely die. They built a 21-3 halftime lead over Pittsburgh, squandered almost all of it and held on for a 21-18 win. In a 27-17 win over the San Diego Chargers in Week 5, the Raiders built a big lead and got a scare down the stretch. "When you get that type of lead, you have to have that killer instinct, and we've got to be able to come out and be more effective in the second half of the football game," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said.

2. Free safety Charles Woodson is the Raiders' only star on defense, but this no-name bunch deserves some attention. Oakland sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger five times, forced two turnovers and held Pittsburgh to 276 total yards. "I think we're a good defense," Woodson said. "We still have a lot of room for improvement. But I've said before, I thought at minicamp and training camp, the way we practice and what I see out of the guys, we could be a good defense. We've been able to put some wins together and played some really good defensive games."

What we learned about the Steelers:

1. The Steelers thought their running attack was back on track after a 141-yard day against the Baltimore Ravens, but it was back to reality Sunday. Pittsburgh rushed for only 35 yards on 19 carries at Oakland. Rookie Le'Veon Bell, who carried 19 times for 93 yards against Baltimore, gained 24 yards on 13 carries Sunday. After shutting down the run, the Raiders had a green light to attack quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and they sacked him five times.

2. The Steelers apparently forgot how to win in Oakland. They suffered their third straight loss at the O.co Coliseum on Sunday, following defeats in 2006 and 2012. The Steelers missed the playoffs in '06 and '12, and at 2-5 this year, they will need a stunning revival to reach the postseason. "Yeah, it hurts," Roethlisberger said of the loss that snapped a two-game winning streak. "We felt like we were doing some good things and that we were getting better. Today we just weren't there in all phases."
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