Well, well, well. Look who got their first win of the season over the hated Pittsburgh Steelers. That's right, my Oakland Raiders. Welcome to entry three of my Oakland Raiders Diary.
This week we celebrate!
I was really looking forward to this game because it's one of the few Raiders games I can catch in-season that I don't need Season Ticket for, thanks to Morgantown's proximity to Pittsburgh. And this honestly feels like the first Raiders game in years I've been able to watch in full without being at a sports bar or stuck in retail hours.
I was super concerned after Carson threw that pick on the first possession. I know that Denarius got tripped up on the stupid infield dirt (no offense to our Athletic fans out there) but still it seemed like one of my superstitions was coming true.
Hyphen's Raiders superstitions
- The Raiders chances to lose will go up by 25% when we're wearing white and down 25% when we're in black.1
- It is not good luck to wear Raiders gear the week leading up to a game unless it is the day immediately following a win. Raiders gear can be wore on gamedays and at any time in the pre or offseasons.
- Never put high expectations on the Raiders. They'll only disappoint you.
- Never watch the games or the Raiders will lose.
As you can tell, I'm a little crazy. A lot of this again comes from my dad but the Raiders gear thing is completely mine. Mind you, I'm the same guy who started wearing my Red Sox hat every single day when the Sox went down 3-1 to the Indians in the 2007 ALCS. 7 games later, the Red Sox were World Champions. I'm just saying.
But seeing as this was first time in years I was able to sit and watch a full Raiders game, I couldn't pass that up, win or lose. And I thought that interception was foreshadowing that my dad was right again (this time about not watching Raiders games) but I was determined to stick it out.
And that's when my message from the last Diary went through.
McFadden. 64 yard touchdown score. Thank you Darren.
But that damn Ben Roethlisberger, playing without a consistent running game, sliced up our secondary until the 4th stanza arrived. The Raiders had one sack. The Steelers had one sack as well but they were playing without Troy Polamalu and James Harrison.
Maybe that playoff loss to the Broncos was signaling the end of the Roethlisberger Era in Pittsburgh. The main reason I hate the Steelers (besides the Raiders blood feud with them) is Roethlisberger. Before him, I thought they were one of the classiest organizations in the league.2 But something just seems off about the Black & Gold this season and maybe it's too early to call, but unless some kind of changes happen soon, I have a feeling the Steelers will fall into the middle of the pack in the next few years.
The Raiders definitely looked spotty in the 1st quarter but the Steelers made the mistake of letting us hang around. The 17-14 margin at the half was extremely encouraging and the fact that so many teams that weren't suppose to win in Week 3 (I'm not even going to talk about Monday night's debacle) gave me hope.3 McFadden was still not running consistently, but Carson had bounced back from his turnover well and...I knew this game was crucial.
Antonio Brown and Jonathan Dwyer were the MVPs of the game for us. Their 2 fumbles led to 10 points and 0-3, so let's hear it for Antonio and Jonathan! And that amazing series before the 2 minute warning where we forced Pittsburgh to punt will be one of the best recent Raiders memories I'll have for a long time. I felt like we could win the game then. I allowed myself to dream.
The helmet-to-helmet play on Heyward-Bey...I don't feel like it was blatant. Maybe it's because Ryan Mundy is a former Mountaineer, even though my friend Moose said he clearly launched himself into DHB, I don't think he was trying to knock helmets. The refs definitely blew the call but I still think it was an accident. I feel like when Carson walked up to DHB once they got him on the stretcher, he patted him on the chest and said, "I got this. Watch the highlights in that cozy hospital room bro."
Speaking of Carson, this was the first time since he was in Cincinnati where I felt like he was truly the team leader and I liked it. No, I loved it. I haven't had great faith in any Raiders QB since Gannon (and a little with Campbell) and that's one monkey that's off my back. As long as he stays healthy, I think Carson can lead this team.
The defense has to get better. I didn't realize we had so many injuries (or that Jacoby Ford was out for the season) on that side of the ball but we have to get to the quarterback more. Our secondary has to make some stops. Especially with Peyton and those damn Broncos coming up; the last thing we need is for Peyton to throw for 400 on us.4 And McFadden needs to improve on his first 100 yard game of the season. I think having the threat of a dangerous running back instead of the struggling one that showed up in Week 1 and 2 is the reason Carson was able to pass so well. And depending on which Denver defense we see on Sunday, we may need all the help we can get.
But hey, 1-2 right? A much better outcome than my anticipated 0-3 entry I expected to write this week. This week is still crucial though; a win in Denver would set us up at 2-2 and send us to Atlanta to face what I would imagine to be an undefeated Falcons team. And I'm feeling optimistic about my boys this week, so I'll catch you in the 2-2 edition of the Diary.
Current outlook: 7-9.
P.S. Long live Janikowski!
- Unless we're the away team, as the Miami game proved. I totally forgot they wore white at home. Bastards. ↩
- The whole living in Morgantown thing doesn't help either. I've met more jackasses who decide they're Steeler fans just because they go to school at WVU. It makes no sense if you're from California and you claim you're a Steelers fan! You are a liar and you need to sit down. ↩
- No, we're totally talking about the debacle. There's no fucking way the NFL shouldn't have overturned that touchdown. How can they acknowledge the offensive pass interference but not overturn the fucking touchdown?! I guess it doesn't matter...until the Packers miss the playoffs by a game. But a great point I read on Twitter: The Packers should have never gotten themselves in that position. Which is true...unless you have referees determined to ruin everything on the field with you. ↩
- My verdict's still out on #18. He doesn't have the weapons he had in Indy so it's kind of hard to see how much difference there is between old Peyton and new Peyton. And those picks in the Atlanta game weren't completely his fault. Ask me after Week 8. ↩