Three starters on the offensive line had to leave the game with injuries, but it did not prevent the offense from moving the ball up and down the field against the Oakland defense.

Rookie center Maurkice Pouncey left the game in the second half with a knee injury. He was replaced by Doug Legursky.

Left guard Chris Kemoeatu and left tackle Jonathan Scott also exited the game, but each later returned. Trai Essex came off the bench to play guard and tackle at various times. He was a late scratch from the starting lineup and was replaced at right guard by Ramon Foster.

"I have to give a lot of credit to the guys who come in because they play really well," receiver Mike Wallace said.

Injuries along the offensive line have been a season-long issue for the Steelers, who already have lost tackle Max Starks for the season with a neck injury. The good news Sunday was that none of the injuries are considered serious. Pouncey reported some swelling in his knee, but said he was going to play next week against Buffalo.

[HIGH-LIGHT]Tomlin on Essex[/HIGH-LIGHT]

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin did not hold back when asked about the reason for benching Essex.

"It was based solely on performance," Tomlin said. "Trai was below the line. We felt like Ramon gave us a better shot. We like his tenacity. We'll assess his work and proceed from there."

[HIGH-LIGHT]Ben runs to daylight[/HIGH-LIGHT]

Roethlisberger rushed for a career-high 55 yards against the Raiders, including a 16-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Roethlisberger's previous career high in rushing yards was 49 against Cleveland in 2007.

"I was impressed with his running," Wallace said. "I never knew he had it in him."

[HIGH-LIGHT]No magic for Gradkowski[/HIGH-LIGHT]

Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski returned to his hometown and led a late comeback victory at Heinz Field last season when he threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns, including the winner with nine seconds remaining in a 27-24 victory. Gradkowski came on in relief of an ineffective Jason Campbell Sunday, but there was no magic for this Seton La-Salle graduate this time. Gradkowski completed his first five passes on his first drive of the game, late in the third quarter, but the march ended when he was intercepted by Troy Polamalu.

"You're always thinking positive things," Gradkowski said. "I was thinking that we scored 21 points in the fourth quarter last year, and we can do it again. We were moving the ball well. You always have to account for No. 43. Sometimes, you can't see him out there. He made some good plays. Against a good football team like that, you can't turn the ball over."


When Rashard Mendenhall scored on a 5-yard run in the second quarter it was his eighth rushing touchdown of the season, a career high. Mendenhall scored seven touchdowns last season. The club record for touchdowns in a season is held by Franco Harris, who had 14 in 1976.

Mendenhall fumbled for the first time this season late in the fourth quarter.

Wallace caught a touchdown for the third consecutive game. It was the first time a Steelers player has had touchdown receptions in three consecutive games since Hines Ward did it in 2005.