Friday, October 25, 2013

There's history between the Steelers and Raiders

An ugly place.
Maybe the Steelers should activate Frenchy Fuqua for Sunday's game vs. the Raiders. Lots and lots of history between these two franchises.

No fault of today's players and most fans, but it's too bad they could not possibly appreciate the intense vitriol between the Steelers and Raiders in the 1970s.  The Raiders back then were led by Oakland Al Davis.  

As Joey Porter's Pit Bulls noted on October 8, 2011, in our little obituary for Al Davis, "The late, great Hunter S. Thompson wrote often and at length about Oakland Al, and it is all worth reading. As HST noted, Al Davis was the persona and identity of the Raiders and everything that went with the team's mystique:
"Every game was a terrifying adventure, win or lose, and the Raiders of the '70s usually won -- except in Pittsburgh, where cruel things happened and many dreams died horribly. You could see the early beginnings of what would evolve into the massive Raider Nation, which is beyond doubt the sleaziest and rudest and most sinister mob of thugs and whackos ever assembled in such numbers under a single "roof," so to speak, anywhere in the English-speaking world. No doubt there are other profoundly disagreeable cults that meet from time to time in most of the 50 states."
Antonio Brown's fumble at the goal line, Sept. 23, 2012
While we're looking back, we would be remiss not to note the last few times the Steelers played the Raiders.
Last year, Sept. 23, 2012, was a 34-31 loss.  It was ugly.

Jonathan Dwyer's fumble, Sept. 23, 2012
Jonathan Dwyer fumbled early to set up a crucial Oakland touchdown that got the Raiders back in the game. That fumble got Dwyer into a doghouse that he's had trouble getting out of ever since. It appeared Dwyer was not ready to play that day, as if he was not in the greatest of shape that particular weekend and generally. 

The coaches seemed to lose trust in him, although he's gotten chances since then. With that fumble, however, Dwyer may have fumbled away his best chance to cement his status as a starting running back in the NFL. He's still here, of course, after being cut earlier this season.
  • Mike Wallace fumbled. 
  • Antonio Brown fumbled as he was about to cross the goal line.  Brown had an exciting, dynamic, great punt return into the end zone nullified because of a stupid penalty that happened behind the play.
Darius Heyward-Bey scores, Sept. 23, 2012
  • Darren McFadden ran through, over and around the Steelers' defense on a 64-yard touchdown scamper. 
  • Even backup Oakland tight end Richard Gordon (now a Steeler, but injured before playing a down) scored a TD for the Raiders.
  • The Steelers' defense was awful. Casey Hampton truly looked done; Ryan Mundy was late and out of position all day; the linebackers were absent; and the Steelers allowed Carson Palmer to look like a competent NFL quarterback.
  • Sebastien Janikowski kicked a last-second field goal to nail the win for Oakland.

Nearly four years ago on Dec, 6, 2009, the underdog Raiders, led by Pittsburgh native, current Steeler backup quarterback and former Seton-LaSalle Catholic High School star Bruce Gradkowski, beat the heavily favored Steelers by a score of 27-24.  
  • Maybe the Steelers should start Gradkowski this Sunday?  eh?
Richard Gordon, Sept. 23, 2012
On Oct. 23, 2006, the Steelers went to Oakland Alameda Coliseum.  And lost.

That game was also ugly -- extremely so. 

Somehow, Oakland won, 20-13, despite having been "led" at QB by somebody named Andrew Walter, who was sacked six times, threw an interception, completed just five passes for all of 14 yards and had a QB passer rating of 17.3!  Seventeen. Point. Three. 

On the other hand, when the Steelers had the ball, the Raiders sacked Ben Roethlisberger five times, and he lost a fumble.  He was the Bad Ben that day. He threw four interceptions, including two (two!) pick-six returns for TDs.  One, a 24-yard TD return by Nnamdi Asomugha in the first quarter, only foreshadowed the game-sealing 100-yard TD return by Chris Carr in the fourth quarter.  That's right.  A 100-yard interception return.  In the fourth quarter.  It was not one of Ben's better games. 

Let's hope for a better performance on Sunday. 
*all photos shown on this post entry are courtesy of

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