The Oakland Raiders finally got on the winning side of the equation in Week 3, kicking a last second field goal to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-31. So how did Oakland find a way to beat the perennial AFC contender, here’s seven numbers that tell the story.
2- After not forcing any turnovers in the first two weeks, the Raiders got two takeaways against the Steelers on Sunday. Oakland got 10 points off the two takeaways including the game-tying field goal to knot the game at 31-31. It is about time the Raiders’ defense forced some turnovers and the offense capitalized on them to make the opposition pay for their mistakes.
9- The Raiders did an excellent job spreading the ball again Sunday, with nine different players getting a reception. No one went over 100 yards or made more than five catches and Carson Palmer did a great job at finding the open receiver and taking what the defense gave him. If Oakland continues to spread the ball around, teams will have a difficult time matching up with them defensively.
43- The winning field goal off the boot of Sebastian Janikowski travelled just 43 yards, but it was an important 43 yards. Although Janikowski makes field goals look easy, when the game is on the line every kick is difficult. The 43 yards that kick went could be the turning point in Oakland’s season heading a tough divisional game in the Mile High City.
43.5- Oakland only had two kickoff returns, but they went for an average of 43.5 yards, which means for once the Raiders actually competed in the battle of field position. Mike Goodson‘s 51-yard return set up a Raiders’ touchdown which brought Oakland back within a field goal after Pittsburgh went down the field and scored a touchdown to open the second half.
51.7- Just when we started to doubt the power in Shane Lechler‘s leg, he booms three punts for an average of 51.7 yards, which was only hindered by his coffin corner punt to pin the Steelers inside the 20 from around midfield. Having a punter that can flip the field like Lechler did Sunday is always a plus and the game showed Lechler has not lost a step and still is one of the game’s best punters.
54- A week after giving up 263 yards on the ground, Oakland held Pittsburgh to just 54 rushing yards on 20 carries Sunday. By shutting down the running game, Oakland forced Pittsburgh to go to the air 49 times. The Raiders’ desperately needed to improve its run defense after last week’s debacle and Pittsburgh may have been exactly what the doctor ordered.
113- The other big issue plaguing the Raiders was their inability to run the football. Darren McFadden took care of that problem by running for 113 yards on 18 carries, a whopping 6.3 yards per carry. His 64-yard touchdown run injected Oakland with energy after Pittsburgh marched down the field and scored after Palmer threw a pick. If McFadden gets going then Oakland can come back from the dead and make some noise in the now wide open AFC West.