for this game

Raiders pick off Roethlisberger, Steelers

Oct 30, 2006 - 12:38 AM OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Ben Roethlisberger avoided getting knocked out, but it's a game he probably wishes he can forget.

Roethlisberger was intercepted four times, two of which were returned for touchdowns, as the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers suffered a 20-13 loss to the Oakland Raiders.

The Steelers (2-5) lost for the fifth time in six games, and fell to 0-4 on the road.

"Interceptions and two returns for a touchdown, it's hard to overcome," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "Yet we still had some opportunities at the end of the game and just couldn't put it in.

"It's one of those days that Ben had and he's got to bounce back from it."

Meanwhile, Oakland (2-5) won for the second straight week after opening the season with five consecutive losses during which it was outscored, 126-50.

"There are not a lot of teams out there that can say they are the Super Bowl champions and we played them today and we played great and we won," Raiders safety Stuart Schweigert said.

While Roethlisberger completed 25-of-37 passes for 301 yards, much of it came after the Steelers were trailing by 14 points in the fourth quarter. He was also sacked five times, coming on the heels of last week's loss to Atlanta in which he was knocked unconscious.

"Give them a lot of credit, they played great defense," Roethlisberger said. "I'm proud of the way my guys played. The linemen and the receivers - and I'm embarrassed by the way I played."

Although there was speculation that Roethlisberger would not play after suffering his second concussion in just over four months, he said his health was not an issue.

"I felt good, I practiced all week and I wanted to come out here and do the best I could," Roethlisberger said. "Right now I'm letting the whole team down. It just seems like one guy makes a mistake and that's me."

The youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, Roethlisberger certainly looked shaky at the start, getting picked off twice in the first quarter, including one that was returned 24 yards for a touchdown by Nnamdi Asomugha with 6:12 left.

The biggest mistake, though, came early in the fourth quarter when Chris Carr stepped in front of Roethlisberger's pass and brought it back 100 yards to give the Raiders a 20-6 lead with 9:32 to play.

"I've been working hard on defense and I studied a lot of film so when that play came, I knew it was coming," Carr said. "I didn't get lucky. I just didn't rely on my athleticism, I knew it was coming."

It continued an all-or-nothing season for Roethlisberger, who has 10 interceptions and six touchdowns. In his first three games, he threw seven picks and didn't have a TD pass, but he seemingly righted himself with five scoring passes and no interceptions the last two weeks.

Roethlisberger did rally the Steelers, hitting running back Willie Parker on a 25-yard scoring pass to cut the deficit to 20-13. He then drove the Steelers to the Raiders 1 with 2:59 remaining.

But on fourth down, Roethlisberger misfired on a pass into the end zone, and the Steelers' last gasp ended on a desperation pass caught by Nate Washington at the Oakland 4 as time ran out.

Oakland won despite a dismal offensive performance. Andrew Walter completed just 5-of-14 passes for 51 yards and an interception.

"Our defense won the game, bottom line. The offense played terrible," Walter said. "I think it was pretty pathetic the way we played on offense. It was one of those games where our defense played great and you just didn't want to screw it up for them. And we almost did."

Jeff Reed kicked a pair of field goals in the second quarter and Sebastian Janikowski answered with one for the Raiders to make it 10-6 at halftime.

Janikowski added a 41-yarder in the third quarter to make it 13-6, but the Steelers seemed poised to tie it until Carr's interception.

"We've been having fun all year long, we just didn't have the victories to show how much fun we've been having," Raiders middle linebacker Kirk Morrison said. "We made some mistakes in the first five games but now we're showing what kind of team this really is."

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