Steelers vs. Raiders: Final Game Grades and Player Analysis for Oakland

Jeff Spiegel@jeffspiegelContributor IISeptember 23, 2012

Steelers vs. Raiders: Final Game Grades and Player Analysis for Oakland

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    Coming off their second straight loss to open the season, the Oakland Raiders hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3, beating them with a 44-yard field goal as time expired for the 34-31 victory.

    The Raiders move to 1-2 on the season, while the Steelers fall to 1-2 on the season. Oakland travels to Denver next weekend to face the Broncos in their second divisional game of the season.

    With a total team effort involved, continue reading for full grades and game analysis.

Carson Palmer: A

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    Overall: A

    His numbers won't tell the whole story, but Carson Palmer was absolutely sensational when Oakland needed him in the second half.

    Despite losing Darrius Heyward-Bey to injury late in the second half, Palmer continued to fight and pick apart the Steelers defense on the way to 13 unanswered fourth quarter points.

    For anyone doubting Palmer's ability and place in this offense, I think your doubts have officially been answered.

Runningbacks: A-

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    Overall: A-

    While Carson Palmer's numbers are underwhelming compared to his actual performance, the reverse might be partially true about McFadden and Co.

    After a 64-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, McFadden logged just 39 yards on his next 17 carries. That said, he was there when Oakland needed him, coming up with a couple big plays and blocks when they needed him.

    It was also interesting to note that only one other running back logged a carry for Oakland today, Mike Goodson.

Wide Receivers: A-

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    Overall: A-

    Despite not notching a memorable play at any point, Oakland receivers made every play they needed to for the Raiders to earn their first win.

    The loss of Darrius Heyward-Bey obviously hurts this unit, but Rod Streater and Derek Hagan both made huge plays down the stretch to get Oakland in field goal range.

    This was also another big night for Brandon Myers, who led the team with 64 yard and also has maintained his streak of catching every pass his way this season.

Offensive Line: B+

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    Overall: B+

    One week after taking more heat than any other unit on the team, the Oakland offensive line produced a fairly good game this week, keeping Carson Palmer upright enough to win the game.

    The running game still struggled aside from one big burst, but again, it was just enough to win.

    The one category which truly shows how well this unit played was quarterback hits, of which they only allowed one today. Last week, they allowed nine.

Defensive Line: B+

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    Overall: B+

    From simply watching the game it might seem like this unit had a bit of a down game, however, a look at the box score shows they allowed just 54 rushing yards on 20 carries.

    For Oakland to continue playing tough and winning, it's this group that might determine how far they go this season.

Linebackers: A-

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    Overall: A-

    When the defense needed a big play today, it was this unit that always seemed to make it. For starters, they were in on both Pittsburgh fumblers, plays that truly shifted the momentum today.

    Part of the run defense credit also belongs to this group, as they were stout in fighting off blockers and wrapping up offensive players when they really needed it.

Defensive Backs: D

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    Overall: D

    To say this group was anything other than dreadful would be a grave embellishment.

    In fact, it's this unit that will determine this team's success throughout the season because if Oakland can't defend the pass any better than they did today, they're in big trouble.

    Even the ever-reliable Tyvon Branch seemed to struggle at times today, so maybe there is hope that this unit can come together as the season progresses.

Special Teams: A+

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    Overall: A+

    When the team desperately needed a spark down by 10 in the third quarter, backup runningback Mike Goodson provided a 51-yard kick return that set up a short scoring drive for Oakland.

    Late in the game, the accolades belong to the one and only Sebastian Janikowski, who knocked home a pair of fourth quarter field goals including the game winner as time expired.

    After lying dormant for most of the game, this unit turned out to play a big part in the comeback.

Coaching: A+

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    Overall: A+

    Well Dennis Allen, congrats on your first win — and your flawless game management.

    In 48 minutes, Allen notched a successful challenge, reduced the team's penalties, executed a perfect dummy play to draw Pittsburgh offside, called for a great onside kick (that should have been recovered) and kept all three timeouts for the end of the game.

    Oh, and his guys played hard for an entire game, refusing to quit despite trailing by as many as 10 in the fourth quarter.

    Good for you coach.

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