The big plays are starting to pile up for Santonio Holmes almost as quickly as muffs on punt returns.
Regarding his three muffs or fumbles on punt returns over the past two games, "that's football," Holmes said. "It happens."
The big plays, likewise, are no big deal.
And nothing the Steelers' No. 1 pick hasn't expected from himself all along.
"They drafted me for a reason," Holmes said. "I gotta get out here and play when they put me on the field."
The same goes for guard Chris Kemoeatu and cornerback Bryant McFadden, two second-year players who have gotten their first taste of starting in the NFL this season.
The on-the-job training for all three figures to continue to some degree on Sunday against the Raiders.
Holmes had been alternating with veteran Cedrick Wilson in two-wide receivers sets since the Steelers' 23-13 loss on Oct. 8 in San Diego.
Last Sunday in Atlanta, Holmes took over in the third quarter after Wilson tweaked a groin late in the second. Wilson still played in extra-receivers formations in the second half, but Holmes played more with the first-team offense than he had all season and finished with career-high totals of five catches for 91 yards.
One of them went for 36 yards down the sideline late in the second quarter and set up a touchdown, as his 50-yard reception had on Oct. 15 against Kansas City.
Holmes also has produced a 24-yard punt return and a 42-yard kickoff return over the last two games.
"The more opportunities I get, those guys (quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch) are starting to gain a lot of trust in me," Holmes said. "And I'm working my butt off so those guys can gain trust in me, so they can throw me the ball when they need a big play."
A similar rotation is developing at right guard.
Kemoeatu, a former sixth-round pick, filled in for veteran Kendall Simmons (foot) against the Chiefs, then split time with Simmons in Atlanta.
Coach Bill Cowher has said he might continue to use both players at the position in Oakland.
With Simmons available again in Atlanta, Kemoeatu said he was surprised he played against the Falcons.
He also didn't think his strong showing against the Chiefs had anything to do with it.
"I don't know if I showed them something," Kemoeatu said. "I'm at practice every week. They know what I can do."