Tres•pass (trsps, -ps)intr.v. tres•passed, tres•pass•ing, tres•pass•es 1.To commit an unlawful injury to the person, property, or rights of another, with actual or implied force or violence, especially to enter onto another’s land wrongfully.
Was the pride of the Steelers injured as they swaggered or should I say staggered into the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Sunday? The late Howard Cosell might say dem “came, saw and lost.” They came, they saw their defense play “unpreventable” defense disguised as prevent and came home losers, really bad losers.
Over the years I have, badgered, blasted, lambasted and critiqued every little nuance when it came to the performances of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Well Ben, I would be a serious jerk if I even indirectly laid the blame for the Steelers debacle against the Raiders at your feet. Sometimes weird sh-t happens when you venture below sea level way down into the bottomless abyss otherwise known as the Raiders “Black Hole. This is a place where the ghost of “stick-um” is legal and roams without boundaries. This is the “other-worldly” realm where the apparition of former assassin Jack Tatum haunts Lynn Swann in his dreams and where filling “special” footballs for your punter with helium instead of air is not only legal, it is also revered. Bugging your opponents’ locker room with microphones and other devices will bring a wide teeth filled smile to the faces of the Raiders faithful. Hey this is the perfect Raider world where former cornerback Lester Hayes speaks ever so clearly without the slightest evidence of a lisp or stuttering. I remember attempting to interview him once and the experience was “unique” from a phonetics perspective.
Let’s fast forward to the present. The Raiders were hyped as was evidenced by running plays such as the one by speed demon Darren McFadden as he danced through the swiss cheese defensive line and streaked down the field for a 64-yard touchdown. This effort against the Steelers heralded defensive front also confirms that the potency of the magic and mojo of “Oakland” Al and his minions still has a whole lotta juice remaining. Let’s also add this to the mix. The Steelers front three have done almost nada against two of its first three opponents.
One of the first to take responsibility was safety Ryan Clark. He deftly pointed out what we already know. “We couldn’t get one stop. We didn’t need a turnover. We just needed a stop and we couldn’t get it. They couldn’t stop our offense, but we didn’t give our guys a chance. We let them drive up the field like we weren’t even out there.” Uh, now that was the understatement of the millennium.
One of the other things that went against Pittsburgh was the legacy of ‘St. Al of Davis’ the patron saint of the holiest of black holes who had his living earthly representative of and purveyor of the Raiders mystique ‘Pope John of Madden I’ otherwise known as John Madden in the Raiders throne room sitting on a Silver and Black throne, appearing to be rather serene and supreme.
Meanwhile the Steelers’ defense might have to get their jaw wired after taking sucker punch after sucker punch from Carson Palmer and an Oakland offense that could not even muster two touchdowns against the Dolphins who manhandled the Raiders by the score of 35-13 in Miami in the second game of the season. Sunday, the Dolphins came to within a few minutes of beating the New York Jets eventually losing 23-20 in OT.
By the way this is the same Jets that the Black and Gold handled very easily by the score 27-10 in home game at Heinz Field. The remainder of the Steelers schedule is semi-brutal. This loss was preventable, totally preventable. This defeat was the direct result of ugly, no hideous time management coupled with fumbles, by players trying to do too much and a whole slew of players that did too little. I have seen more passion on a football field when I have talked about someone’s mama. Defensive captain Brett Keisel was his usual humble self saying, “This one is on me. I’ll take the heat because I deserve it.” No Brett, there is plenty of blame to spread around, thanks, but no thanks. The Steelers beat the Jets, The Dolphins beat the Raiders, and the Raiders beat the Steelers. This is the NFL, go figure. No the Steelers had better figure it out. The problem better be corrected post haste because if it isn’t The Pittsburgh squad will be figuring out their way to the kitchen to get a cold drink and some hot wings as they watch the NFL playoffs on their flat screens.
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-583-6741. Bruce can also be heard on the ‘Odd Couple Sports Show’ where he is the AFC North and NFL analyst. The show is hosted by Adam Ragle streaming live on the WCWA Fox Sports Toledo 1230AM. Bruce is featured on Tuesdays from 10-11 a.m. during the NFL season.)