It’s like the Oakland Raiders channeled their ‘inner Pittsburgh Steeler’ for 60 minutes on Sunday afternoon.
When looking back at the incredible 34-31 victory over the Steelers, it won’t be Carson Palmer’s stellar three-touchdown performance or Darren McFadden’s 117 rushing yards that tell the story of just how big a leap the Raiders took over the course of one game.
It’s the penalties, or in this case lack therof, that have given the Oakland Raiders a new, disciplined look. It’s that word, discipline, that head coach Dennis Allen has preached from the start of his tenure as the team’s leader. On Sunday in the Black Hole, the Raiders had just three penalties for 25 yards against Pittsburgh Steelers’ 10 for 81 yards.
It’s a far cry from the Week 1 debacle against the San Diego Chargers, that saw the game get out of hand and the Raiders commit multiple mental mistakes throughout the tilt. In Week 2, they committed five penalties for 42 yards. They needed every inch of field position to triumph against the Steelers, who handily beat them for most of the game.
It’s discipline that will carry the Raiders toward success in 2012. Fortunately, they play in a wide open AFC West where no team has separated itself as heads and shoulders above the rest. The Raiders have shown promise on both sides of the ball, and if they can continue to improve in the mental game as they did Sunday, then they can compete for the division crown.