Updated September 19, 2021 - 2:25 pm
Three takeaways from the Raiders’ 26-17 victory at the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
1. Winning up front
The Raiders got it done in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
On offense, they took advantage in the second half of a Steelers defense weakened by injuries, most notably to end T.J. Watt, who suffered a groin injury in the second quarter. The line gave Derek Carr more than ample time to pass, especially important because the Raiders were one dimensional without running back Josh Jacobs.
Carr came through, completing 28 of 37 passes for 382 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, the Raiders dominated the struggling Steelers offensive line, forcing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to try to carry the offense. Big Ben is accustomed to that role, but his arm is far from what it once was, and the Raiders made life difficult for him.
2. Opportunity knocks
The Raiders had three excellent scoring chances in the first half, but settled for field goals on all three trips. Their biggest missed opportunity came toward the end of the half when the Raiders reached the Steelers’ 2-yard line, but were assessed three penalties, including a hold on tackle Alex Leatherwood that cost them a touchdown.
As a result, the Raiders led just 9-7 at halftime, finding themselves in a fight rather than in control.
They didn’t let those chances get away in the second half. Carr threw two touchdown passes, including a 61-yarder to Henry Ruggs against a blitz to put the Raiders ahead by two possessions.
3. Raiders miss Jacobs
Carr is capable of winning games with his arm, but for long-term success, the Raiders need Jacobs to return. He is out with toe and ankle injuries.
Kenyan Drake started in Jacobs’ place and rushed for just nine yards on seven attempts. The Raiders used Drake largely as a receiver, targeting him six times. He caught five passes for 46 yards.