Dennis Allen picked up his first win as a Raiders coach thanks to a strong second-half comeback. (Getty Images)

If the Raiders reach the playoffs, they’ll point to Sunday’s 34-31 win over Pittsburgh as the day they saved their season. The Raiders were 0-2 and coming off an embarrassing 35-13 loss at Miami. They were facing Ben Roethlisberger and one of the NFL’s top passing attacks without starting CBs Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer. Somehow the Raiders found a way to overcome two 10-point deficits in the second half and beat the Steelers, giving rookie coach Dennis Allen his first win.

Offense: A

When it mattered most, QB Carson Palmer was at his best. The Raiders scored on every possession in the second half and converted 7-of-8 third-down attempts as Palmer completed 18 of 24 passes for 172 yards and two TDs. For the game, Palmer completed passes to nine different targets, including a 15-yard strike to TE Brandon Myers and a 17-yard throw to WR Derek Hagan on the game-winning drive. RB Darren McFadden -- and the zone blocking scheme -- finally got untracked. He rushed for 113 yards on 18 carries and scored on a 64-yard run in the first quarter.

Defense: C

The Raiders gave up 31 points, and Roethlisberger torched their their depleted secondary for 384 passing yards and four touchdowns, posting a passer rating of 123.2. Considering FS Michael Huff made his first career start at corner and CB Pat Lee his third start, Roethlisberger's success can not be considered unexpected. The Raiders’ defense, though, held Pittsburgh to 54 rushing yards on 20 carries. DT Desmond Bryant forced a second-quarter fumble, setting up a touchdown, and Lee forced a fourth-quarter fumble, leading to a Sebastian Janikowski field goal that tied the game 31-31. That was more than enough for a passing grade.

Special teams: B

Janikowski drilled a 32-yard field goal to tie the game with 6:30 left then nailed a 43-yard game-winner as time ran out. Mike Goodson was listed as questionable for the game with a hamstring injury, but he returned a kick early in the second half 51 yards -- his career long -- to the Steelers’ 48, setting up a touchdown. The Raiders’ coverage units didn’t give up any long returns, thanks in part to multiple flags that nullified Antonio Brown’s 72-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Coaching: A

Dennis Allen had his team playing with passion, confidence and discipline, no small feat after getting routed the week before by Miami. The Raiders were penalized only three times for 25 yards compared to 10 for 81 for Pittsburgh. In a three-point game, that, alone, made the difference. Allen was aggressive throughout, even calling for an onside kick at one point. It didn’t work, but it sent the right message. Facing fourth-and-2 from the Steelers’ 6 late in the first half, he had his offense line up. The Raiders, thanks to a quick shift, drew a neutral zone infraction on Steelers DE Ziggy Hood, and they went on to score a touchdown.

Follow Raiders reporter Eric Gilmore on Twitter @CBSRaiders.