Oakland managed to keep things interesting last week against the Kansas City Chiefs before Coach Jon Gruden found another innovative way to make people question his ten-year contract.
Pittsburgh kept things a little too interesting, ultimately allowing the Chargers to complete a comeback bid and steal a victory from the AFC North leaders.
Ben Roethlisberger rarely loses in primetime games, but the Chargers took advantage of three consecutive offside penalties and might have finally broken their legacy of cursed kicking games when Mike Badgely connected on his third attempt, his second untimed play.
Suddenly, the Steelers are only a half-game ahead of the Ravens. Each has two games against playoff teams and two against lesser teams. 9-7 (or 8-6-1) could get them into the playoffs, but the home field could decide if either team will play in the second round.
Oakland is keeping pace with the San Francisco 49ers for the first overall pick, but they almost blew it with an upset of the Chiefs. There is no way of knowing whether it cost them the game, but Gruden’s decision to throw a challenge flag when he didn’t have any challenges left cost the Raiders an important timeout.
Injuries and notes
Running back James Conner suffered a deep bruise to his lower leg that will force him to sit out this week.
Pittsburgh receiver and return man Ryan Switzer has to get through the concussion protocol if he wants to play.
Oakland signed running back CJ Anderson who couldn’t find carries in Carolina despite coming off a 1,000-yard season. Anderson has a history of big, late-season games, but probably won’t impact this week’s contest. More importantly, he doesn’t fumble, which all three Oakland rushers managed to do in last week’s contest.
Mike Tomlin was tight-lipped after last week’s collapse, but you know he is harping on penalties this week. He’ll figure it out. It is speculated that the Steelers’ offside penalties were the result of a decision to be more aggressive after the officials missed a blatant false start on the Chargers. It was felt the officials might have been hesitant to call offside as indicated by several close calls during the game. If so, that’s some nice coaching, although it burned them in the end.
Gruden’s ill-advised challenge flag prevented the team from using a timeout late in the game. He offered no comment as to why he threw the flag, although fans speculate he didn’t know the rule and may have hoped to slow down the game a bit without using that timeout. It ended up outshining the three fumbles in the running game.
How to watch the Raiders-Steelers game
CBS Sports will show this game to fans in the teams’ local markets, which means folks in Western Pennsylvania and Northern California can catch the action on their computers or smartphones with a subscription to Fubo TV.
Fubo TV lets you watch tons of live stream NFL action, as well as all your favorite movie and entertainment channels, from an internet connected TV or practically any other internet device.
Better yet, they give you all that for a fraction of what it cost for cable or satellite, with no expensive equipment or silly contracts.
Fubo TV, like Sling TV and DirecTV Now, let you try their service for free! That’s why there’s no excuse not to take a look at what Fubo, Sling, or DirecTV Now offer in your neighborhood.
Who will win the Raiders-Steelers game?
Pittsburgh comes off two tough losses, while the Raiders come off a near-miss loss. With the Patriots and Saints lined up for the next two weeks, it’s easy to think a traveling Roethlisberger could fall prey to a trap game, especially without their leading rusher.
But Mike Tomlin is too good a coach to let that happen, and Gruden has a ten-year guaranteed contract.