Oakland Raiders Have The Pittsburgh Steelers' Number

By Jon Bruno
Kirby Lee, USA Today Sports

Another matchup between the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers, another heartbreak for Steelers’ hopefuls. What is it about Oakland that gets Big Ben’s Steelers every time? Ben Roethlisberger has met the Raiders eight times in his career, and his record is 2-6, including 0-4 in Oakland. The most shocking part about that record is the fact that the Steelers and Raiders have been polar opposites as far as success goes since 2004. Oakland hasn’t had a winning season since they lost in the Super Bowl in 2002. They’ve been .500 twice but a gutter team every other season. Pittsburgh in that time posted a 15-1 season, had three Super Bowl appearances (two wins), and haven’t had a single season below .500 (two at .500).

What is the deal with the Steelers and Oakland? Perhaps it has something to do with their rich history. The teams were arch rivals in the 1970s, mainly due to the famous (or infamous in Oakland) Immaculate Reception. But history is supposed to repeat itself, and clearly in the last decade it hasn’t. The Raiders have always been an Achilles heel for the Steelers in all their recent winning seasons, with the exception of the 2010 game where the Steelers won 35-3. In almost every game won by the Raiders since 2002 it has been by one possession, most of them by just a field goal.

Is it something supernatural? Do the Raiders just have the Steelers’ number? Every game they’ve played that the Raiders have won, there seems to be one thing that the Steelers did wrong. Today it could arguably be poor play from Shaun Suisham, but the Steelers also let the Raiders run all over them. The Steelers were down 21-3 at halftime and ended up only losing by three. The interesting thing is that coming into today, Suisham was 15-for-15 kicking field goals. Is it just a coincidence that his first misses of the season came in Oakland? Is it a coincidence that the longest rushing touchdown in the NFL‘s history came today by Terrelle Pryor against the Steelers? The world may never know.

One thing is for sure though, and the Raiders at least have Big Ben’s number. Something was just off about the Steelers in the first half. Whether it was the fact that they were playing the Raiders and were intimidated or that they just got hit with a three-hour time difference yesterday, no one really knows. But there was something different about the Steelers when this game started. I mean, the first play from scrimmage was a 93-yard touchdown run… by a quarterback. There’s something fishy going on between these two teams, and we may never figure it out.

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