Earlier this week I thought that the absence of linebacker James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu from the matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders wouldn’t have made a difference in the outcome of the game. I predicted that despite having Harrison and Polamalu sidelined that the Steelers would leave Oakland victorious. Needless to say, I was wrong.
Pittsburgh’s defense never found a way to stop the Raiders’ offensive attack in their 34-31 last-second loss on Sunday. The Steelers were beaten both on the ground and in the air defensively.
Even though Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer was held to just 209 yards passing and was picked off by safety Ryan Clark, he did manage to throw three touchdowns against a Pittsburgh defense that was lacking a pass rush.
Linebacker LaMarr Woodley recordedPittsburgh’s only sack.
As far as the run defense, the Steelers surrendered 113 yards (64 of which came on one run) and a touchdown to running back Darren McFadden. McFadden was the first back to have a 100-yard game against Pittsburgh’s defense this season.
It’s safe to say that the Steelers desperately need Harrison and Polamalu back in the lineup come Week 5 when they face the Philadelphia Eagles. Not having two all-pro players on the field would definitely make matters worse for any team, and Pittsburgh is no exception to the rule.
This upcoming bye week will be just as important as any game this season for the Steelers. Harrison and Polamalu are just a couple of players on a long list of injuries that need to come back and contribute to this team as soon as possible.
Not only do they need to come back, they need to be 100% physically ready if there is any chance of Pittsburgh making a run to the postseason. And with the bye week coming so early, it will be a very long run.
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