Anyone looking for evidence of how damaging turnovers and penalties can be need only look at the second quarter in Oakland.
The Steelers were leading 14-7 and keeping the Raiders offense in check outside of one long Darren McFadden touchdown run, but Dwyer fumbled the ball after a Desmond Bryant hit to set the Raiders up in Pittsburgh territory. They couldn’t punch it in quickly and faced a fourth-and-two on the 6-yard line when Steelers defensive lineman Ziggy Hood jumped offside to give them new life. Carson Palmer hit Darrius Heyward-Bey to tie the score on the next play.
All of that happened after an Antonio Brown punt return touchdown was wiped out by a pair of Steelers penalties during the return. That score would have opened up a two-touchdown lead, but the penalties meant another way for the Raiders to hang around deeper into the game.
Pittsburgh, which outgained the Raiders 235-105 over the course of the half, drove for a field goal just before the half to take a 17-14 lead, but the dual miscues keep this game in more doubt than it probably should hold given how well the Steelers moved the ball through the air in the first half. Ben Roethlisberger has completed 22-of-31 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns, although the Steelers could stand to see more of a running game in the second half.
As for Oakland, the offense needs to pick it up across the board. McFadden has four yards on five carries if you exclude his 64-yard score and Carson Palmer’s averaging under four yards per attempt when he puts the ball in the air. He also threw a pick to set up the first Steelers touchdown, should you need more illustration of how much turnovers sting.