Feel free to point to the absences of linebacker James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu, but the Steelers have long succeeded at plugging in reserves without skipping a beat. They were beaten at the line of scrimmage Sunday and allowed Palmer to comfortably move the ball in an offensive scheme that hasn't always been a great fit for him.
Palmer completed 23 passes for 209 yards to nine targets. Darren McFadden continued a strong early season with 113 yards on the ground, including a 64-yard touchdown burst. The numbers weren't outlandish, but the way Oakland pressed in on Pittsburgh's defense in the second half has to be a concern for coordinator Dick LeBeau.
The Steelers surrendered 31 points to the Denver Broncos in the opener after giving up 29 to the same team in last year's playoffs. They played physical football against the New York Jets a week ago, but what we saw in Oakland raises questions. Because the Steelers have been so good for so long, it's too early to sound the alarm -- but this defense needs to do more to keep the team alive in the AFC North.