Steelers fall flat, revert back to losing ways

OAKLAND -- The Pittsburgh Steelers squandered any momentum a two-game winning streak had generated with yet another mystifying loss to the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders built an 18-point lead and hung on for a 21-18 win, snapping a 10-game losing streak following their bye week.

The Steelers, not the Raiders, started slow, and they couldn’t recover from a 93-yard Terrelle Pryor touchdown run, an offense that mostly sputtered for three quarters and abysmal special teams play.

Shaun Suisham’s two missed field goals loomed large in the three-point loss, but the Steelers problems against the Raiders went beyond their kicker having an uncharacteristic off day. Positives were indeed hard to come by after the Steelers dropped to 2-5 and lost their third game in a row in Oakland.

The Steelers received subpar grades across the board and there weren’t many candidates for game balls. Slow starts have been a recurring theme for the Steelers this season, and it is incumbent upon coach Mike Tomlin to fix that problem.

Tomlin took the blame for the Steelers’ worst half of the season and one that put them in a 21-3 hole after two quarters at the Coliseum. The Steelers can’t afford a slow start next Sunday if they want to have any chance of handing the New England Patriots their first home loss this season.

The Patriots overcame a 14-point halftime deficit to beat the Dolphins with their defense leading them to a 27-17 win after pitching a shutout in the second half.