Early breakdown of Raiders (4-3) vs. Steelers (4-4) Sunday at Heinz Field:
Total offense 365.3, 9th/349.1, 19th
Rush offense 99.7, 20th/125.8, 9th
Pass offense 265.6, 10th/223.4, 21st
Points per game 25.4, 8th/21.0, 21st (t)
Third down pct. 44.0, 8th/35.0, 22nd
Total defense 385.0, 26th/366.5, 20th
Rush defense 82.9, 2nd/97.0, 8th
Pass defense 302.1, 31st/269.5, 26th
Points per game 24.7, 18th (t)/18.4, 6th
Third down pct. 42.0, 26th/39.0, 19th
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has put together the best back-to-back games of his career _ 47 of 67 for 622 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 134.0 passer rating in a pair of wins. He’s been sacked only once in those two games. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisverger returned Sunday after missing four games with a knee injury. Although he led Pittsburgh on a scoring drive the first time he had the ball, Roethlisberger threw three interceptions in a 16-10 loss to Cincinnati. Roethlisberger has completed 70.9 percent of his passes for 1,174 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions.
The running backs
Raiders running back Latavius Murray rushed for 113 yards and averaged 5.7 yards per carry against one of the top rushing defenses in the NFL. He had runs of 26 and 25 yards. Murray, with 534 yards in six games, is on pace for a 1,335 yard rushing season, which would rank second in franchise history behind Marcus Allen’s 1,759 yards in 1985. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh;’s leading rusher with 556 yards, was lost for the season with an MCL tear against Cincinnati. With Bell out, the Steelers lead back will be DeAngelo Williams, who has 310 yards rushing and is avearging 4.9 yards per carry.
Michael Crabtree caught seven passes for 102 yards and a touchdown against the Jets, giving him 40 receptions for 483 yards on the season. Rookie Amari Cooper, shadowed by Darrelle Revis against the Jets, has 38 catches for 565 yards. It’s been pretty much a one-man show outside for Pittsburgh. Antonio Brown remains one of the NFL’s most dangerous receivers with 52 catches for 718 yards and three touchdowns at the midway point of the season. Former Raider Darrius Heyward-Bey is the next most productive wideout with 17 catches for 209 yards.
The sack artists
Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack had his team-leading fourth sack of the season against the Jets, to go along with three tackles for losses in the running game. Aldon Smith continues to get decent pressure of late without the payoff in terms of sacks. For Pittsburgh, Bud Dupree, a rookie outside linebacker out of Kentucky, leads the Steelers with four sacks, while Stephon Tuitt is the top pass rusher from the Steelers 3-4 front with 3.5 sacks as a 303-pound defensive end.
The last game
Ignited by a 93-yard touchdown run by Terrelle Pryor on the first play from scrimmage, the Raiders went on to beat the Steelers 21-18 in 2013 in Oakland. The Steelers fell to 2-5 with the loss. The last time the Raiders played at Heinz Field, they went in following a bye week with a three-game win streak and were blown out 35-3 as Roethlisberger passed for 275 yards
What it means
Both the Raiders and Steelers have set their sights on a division title, but given both of their divisions are ruled by an unbeaten team (Denver, Cincinnati) it is more likely they are jockeying for a wild card berth _ possibly against each other.
What they’re saying
“The season is halfway over. We’re going to let this burn at us and then turn the page. We’ve got a whole half of football left,” _ Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“It’s just us doing our job. There’s no super human anything. Nothing like that. Us just listening to what the coaches have taught us, trying to do that to the best of our abiities and we’ve learned how to do that,” _ Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.