A week after blowing a 14-point first quarter lead, this time the Oakland Raiders were able to hold on and earn a victory against the division rival San Diego Chargers.
The Raiders were without running back Darren McFadden, offensive linemen Stefen Wisniewski, Tony Pashos, Menelik Watson and safety Tyvon Branch.
The game was moved to 8:30 P.M. due to the Oakland Athletics’ game the night before, but it did not deter the Raiders who turned in their most complete effort of the season.
Terrelle Pryor’s Future
Pryor’s first pass of the night was a 44-yard strike to wide receiver Rod Streater that almost coincided with the news that free agent quarterback Josh Freeman was signing with the Minnesota Vikings.
It was speculated that the Raiders were interested in making Freeman the new starting quarterback if he was signed.
However, the Raiders did not sign the former Bucs quarterback and Pryor enjoyed a night where he was 18/23 for 221 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 31 yards on the ground.
A week after gaining job security with the performance by former Raider Matt Flynn, Pryor was once again vindicated in his role as the future for the Raiders.
The outside linebacker had himself quite a night with 14 tackles (12 solo) and a sack. Burnett has been a bright spot for the defense this season with 38 tackles (32 solo).
Burnett also forced the fumble that led to Charles Woodson’s record-tying touchdown in the third quarter. This comes one week after Burnett recovered a fumble against the Washington Redskins.
The Raiders hope Burnett can keep up the pace and provide a solid contributor at the outside linebacker position.
After going four games without an interception, the Raiders picked off Philip Rivers three times on Sunday night.
Usama Young got it started on the first drive after Rivers overthrew his receiver. The pick led to Pryor’s 44-yard touchdown pass on the next play.
Rookie D.J. Hayden got his first career interception late in the fourth quarter. Hayden slipped up before recovering and stepping in front of the Rivers pass in the endzone.
Charles Woodson finished the night off with an interception on a desperation throw by Rivers. Woodson also recovered a fumble and scored a touchdown earlier in the game.
The Raiders defense continues to improve and should be creating more turnovers in the coming weeks.
Raiders’ running backs
A week after having McFadden and Marcel Reece go down to injuries, the Raiders now have a third running back with health problems. McFadden was inactive for the game and Reece was able to play.
Rashad Jennings left in the first half with a hamstring injury after 10 carries for 41 yards. Reece finished the game in the backfield with seven carries for 32 yards.
The Raiders will look for McFadden to return and hope that Jennings’ injury is not too bad; however, they do need more production from whoever lines up in the backfield next week.
Ford has handled the kickoff return duties and done a respectable job, but he has yet to become a threat in the offense this season.
Ford had two catches for 15 yards on Sunday increasing his season total to six receptions for 44 yards. The wide receiver showed so much promise early in his career, but has been slowed by injuries.
It is not for sure if Ford is still bothered by the Lisfranc injury that cost him the 2012 season, but he is nowhere to be seen on offense.
With Denarius Moore and Streater becoming viable threats, Ford should be able to become a weapon in the slot and hopefully he can begin to develop a relationship with Pryor.
The Raiders had eight penalties for 85 yards on Sunday night. The penalties did not end up costing the team, but can become a problem in future games.
The penalties were spread around with false starts, illegal formations, personal fouls, pass interference and an illegal touching penalty that took away a Moore touchdown.
The Raiders must clean up their act if they want to to continue to win games and be a competitive team.