Ben Roethlisberger's only complaint about trips to the West Coast is "the batteries on the computer don’t last that long."
But there's something different about this trip to the West Coast: After the Steelers play the Oakland Raiders, they'll play the following week at New England. The last time the Steelers had back-to-back road games on opposite coasts was the 1976 playoffs then they won at Baltimore, and then lost a week later at Oakland in the AFC Championship game.
In the only instance to date in franchise history in which the Steelers went to the West Coast before playing on the East Coast was in 1961, when the Steelers lost at the Los Angeles Rams and then lost at Philadelphia a week later.
The Steelers might be 2-4, but they're 2-0 in October, and that mirrors their modern history.
Since the merger, no team has more than the Steelers' 116 wins in the month of the pumpkin. In that time the Steelers are 116-59 in October (.663) and 290-203-2 (.588) the rest of the regular season.
Roethlisberger, by the way, is 27-8 (.771) in October starts and 62-35 (.639) in the rest of the regular-season games.
Heath Miller's touchdown catch last week was the 40th of his career. He needs two more to tie Buddy Dial for fourth place in franchise history, and 11 more to tie Lynn Swann for third. The top two are Hines Ward with 85 and John Stallworth with 63 touchdown catches.
LaMarr Woodley is riding a streak of five consecutive games with a sack, and for the the third time in his seven-year career Woodley has 5 sacks after 6 games. With 4 sacks in 3 career games against Oakland, Woodley's hoping to extend those numbers.
Woodley has 57 sacks in his career, seventh on the team's all-time list, with Keith Willis (59) and Joey Porter (60), James Harrison (64) and perhaps even No. 3 Joe Greene (66) within reach this season.
Jason Gildon (77) and the late L.C. Greenwood (73.5) are the franchise leaders.
Cameron Heyward was asked what he learned from his father, Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, before he died the summer before Cam entered his senior year in high school.
"I was a teenager," said Heyward. "Nobody listens to their dad when they're a teenager."
The more mature Heyward said his mentors have been Troy Polamalu, Brett Keisel, Aaron Smith, Chris Hoke and Ziggy Hood.
"I think they have helped me learn so much about this defense and more about myself," Heyward said. "It's made me a better player because of it. I'm very critical of myself. They explained to me how I need to do it better. I think the best way to learn is either doing by yourself or learning from someone who's been great at it. To have those teachers in front of me has really helped."
WESTERN PA OL
Raiders coach Dennis Allen on the two Western Pennsylvnians he has playing left guard and center, Pitt's Lucas Nix and Penn State's Stefen Wisniewski:
"Both of them have done a good job for us. Obviously, [Wisniewski] is coming off the injury. He’s getting back to being healthy and he’s been kind of a rock inside for our offensive line. He does a great job of targeting the right people in the run game, getting us in the right protections. He does a great job of communicating up front. He comes from a long line of outstanding football players. He’s done a really good job for us. Nix has been a guy that’s come in as a young guy and he continues to improve on a week-in and week-out basis. I think as long as he continues to get the opportunities to get out there and play, he’s going to continue to get better. I’ve been pleased with both of those guys."
Much has been made of Mike Tomlin's alleged interest in drafting Jeanntte, Ohio State and Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the 2011 supplemental draft. But the transcript isn't all that convincing:
"Mike said, 'Hey, I’ll draft you if you want to play here,'" Pryor said. "But he gave me a story when he was down in Tampa Bay about a quarterback that was there and he ended up being in the same hometown as his NFL team and it was just hard for him. He ended up cutting out because of all the distractions around him. But he did say, and I’ll remember this, he said, 'When the time comes and we play you, I’m coming after you. I’m blitzing you.' So, I remember that and I’ll giggle with him when I see him on the field and I’ll be waiting for it."