Steelers vs. Raiders: Oakland Shows Its Potential in Comeback Victory

Sam R. QuinnSenior Analyst IIISeptember 23, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Carson Palmer #3 of the Oakland Raiders drops back to pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 23, 2012 in Oakland, California. The Raiders won the game 34-31.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders have been the punchline of many NFL jokes over the last decade, and rightfully so, as the franchise has failed to finish above .500 since reaching the Super Bowl in 2002.

There weren't many jokes directed at Dennis Allen's team on Sunday, as it roared back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers at Coliseum, 34-31.

The Steelers had the upper hand for the first three quarters thanks to Ben Roethlisberger's four touchdown passes, but Palmer and Co. took advantage of an Antonio Brown fumble to tie the game at 31 with 6:30 remaining.

Following a successful defensive stand, the Raiders marched down the field. Carson Palmer led the charge by orchestrating a near-flawless two-minute drive and completing his last four passes to perfectly set up Sebastian Janikowski for a game-winning, 43-yard field goal.

After suffering two ugly losses to open the season, this was a much-needed win for the struggling AFC West team.

The Raiders played the majority of the fourth quarter with heavy hearts, as wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was carted off the field on a stretcher after falling victim to a helmet-to-helmet hit by Steelers cornerback Ryan Mundy.

Not only did this victory serve as a testament to the Raiders' resiliency after a potentially debilitating injury, it allowed the Raiders to show that they have the necessary talent to become a quality team this season.

Roethlisberger and the Steelers are no joke. This wasn't the Raiders coming out and beating one of their subpar AFC West foes. It was a very impressive win by a team that had already been written off by many.

Palmer isn't the quarterback that he once was, but he is a fine fit in this Raiders defense that is predicated more on speed than anything else.

We haven't even mentioned Darren McFadden yet. Run DMC ran for 113 yards on just 18 carries against the Steelers and continues to show that he is one of the brightest feature backs the game has to offer.

The young group of Philip Wheeler, Tyvon Branch and Rolando McClain gives Raiders fans a glimmer of hope on the defensive end in the future, as they combined for 30 tackles on the day.

Allen's players still have a long way to go, but 1-2 looks a lot better than 0-3. The Raiders have a chance to hang around until the end in a mediocre division, so make sure you don't sleep on them.