The Oakland Raiders exploded for their biggest output from the passing game since November of 2007 as Bruce Gradkowski threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns, as the Raiders were able to win a game after a wild fourth quarter.
This Raider Steeler battle ended up being a battle worthy of the halcyon days of this rivalry. It was a heavyweight fight as both teams kept trading jabs through the first half. The Steelers landed an early blow when they were able to score a touchdown on a two play drive in the second quarter. The third quarter was complete slugfest where no neither team could break through, setting up the shoot out in the fourth.
The Pivotal fourth quarter opened with the Steelers missing a field goal, setting the Raiders up with good field position. The Raiders took advantage and drove 57 yards for their first touchdown, with Chaz Schilens hauling in a 17 yard pass to cap the drive and give the Raiders their first lead of the game.
The Steelers answered with a two play drive that was set up by a 58 yard pass play. The two yard run gave the Steelers the lead back. The Raiders countered with a three play drive of their own on the strength of a 75 yard connection from Gradkowski to Louis Murphy, which swung the lead back to the Raiders.
Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers back down the field for an 80 yard drive, and yet another lead change. The Raiders took over on their own twelve, setting the stage for Gradkowski’s heroics. Gradkowski was able to hit Higgins and Watkins to move the Raiders down the field, but it would be Murphy who would have the final four catches including an 11 yard touchdown reception with nince seconds left on the clock, and a fifth lead change.
This is one of those games that the Raiders have had a habit of losing. Every time the Raiders would go ahead, the defense allowed the Steelers to answer. However, what was unexpected was that the Raiders were able to answer the Steelers touchdown for touchdown. In fact, the Raiders scored more touchdowns in the fourth quarter than they had in any complete game this season.
Gradkowksi’s 308 yards passing stands as the first 300 yard game by a Raider passer since Daunte Culpepper did it against the Vikings in November of 2007. Louis Murphy had 4 catches for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns for the second highest receiving day by a Raider this year.
With a home game against the Redskins on the docket for next week, it would seem that this would be the opportunity that the Raiders need to get two game winning streak going.