Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Big Ben's Big Game vs. Raiders in 2012 Will Be Hard to Top

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Big Ben's Big Game vs. Raiders in 2012 Will Be Hard to Top

Article excerpt

It's not referenced often because the Steelers lost the game, but Ben Roethlisberger had one of the best games of his career last season in Oakland when he threw for a season-high 384 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-31 loss to the Raiders.

The 384 yards were the seventh most in Roethlisberger's career and the ninth most in franchise history. He did it against a Raiders defense that was susceptible to the pass and finished the season 20th in the NFL in pass defense.

A repeat performance Sunday when the Steelers again travel to Oakland might be tougher to duplicate for Roethlisberger. The Raiders brought in veteran defensive backs Charles Woodson and Tracy Porter to stabilize the secondary and there are signs of improvement. Most notably, their ability to provide big plays is something the Steelers are guarding against as they prepare for the game.

Woodson, in his 16th season in the NFL, tied a league record with his 13th defensive touchdown earlier this month in a game against San Diego. Woodson tied former Steelers cornerback and Hall of Famer Rod Woodson and Darren Sharper in the record books.

"He's the leader of the group, the true veteran of the group," Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley said. "You don't see any fall-off in him. He's a legend. You have to believe he'll end up in Canton. He's one of those guys I describe as the ball just kind of comes to him. If you have a chance to ever get your hands on one of those types of defensive players, you try to get them on your team. When he gets it, he does some spectacular things a lot of the times. We have to not allow that to happen."

Woodson is in his first season back in Oakland, the team that drafted him, after seven seasons in Green Bay. Porter has three career defensive touchdowns, including one last season against the Steelers when he returned a Roethlisberger interception 43 yards for a touchdown in the season opener at Denver. Porter also returned a Peyton Manning interception for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIV. …

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