- Paul Gutierrez, ESPN Staff Writer
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oh yeah, Matt Flynn heard the boos and catcalls.
How could he not? They grew louder with each sack (seven in all), miscue (a pick-6 interception that turned the tide) and fumble (try two).
Coming into the game, his biggest perceived sin was that he was not the ultra-popular Terrelle Pryor. After the 24-14 loss to Washington, in which the Raiders blew a 14-0 lead, it was that he was anything but, ahem, Flynn-tastic.
Just Flynn, baby? Not on this day.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s hard not to hear it,” a deflated Flynn said of the hisses and jeering emanating from the sold-out O.co Coliseum crowd announced as being 53,549.
“You just try to focus on your job and do what you can. But it’s definitely hard not to hear.”
True, Flynn’s performance -- an 83.7 quarterback rating on 21-of-32 passing for 227 yards with a touchdown and interception -- was not anything a $6.5-million QB should write home about.
But let’s play Devil’s Advocate for a minute.
The game quickly turned into a perfect storm for Flynn, who learned just Saturday night that he would be starting under center against Washington, despite taking the lion’s share of reps in practice this week.
Not only did the Raiders lose breakaway threat tailback Darren McFadden in the first half with a hamstring injury, Oakland was also without Pro Bowl fullback Marcel Reece after the first quarter due to a knee injury.
“No question, those two guys are the heart and soul of the offense,” Flynn said. “Two great players. I still feel like we ran the ball well after that, but that was definitely a big blow for us.”
Flynn’s security blankets were gone and it was on him to be something he is not -- an electric playmaker. It quickly became obvious that Pryor has made the offensive line look good, even if Flynn suffered from a serious lack of pocket presence.
“I don’t think he saw the field very good today,” said coach Dennis Allen. “I think he was obviously part of some of the sacks that we gave up in the game. It was a tough situation for him to go into and obviously, with the loss of McFadden and Reece, that didn’t help him out any.
“Offensively, we didn’t get it done, and that’s really the bottom line.”
Especially with some curious play-calling by offensive coordinator Greg Olson that did not move the pocket in an effort to try and buy Flynn some time.
But Allen had no issue with the play-calling. That whole next-man-up philosophy, right?
And yet ...
“I felt like I was seeing things fairly well,” Flynn said. “There were a couple of times on some play-actions where there was a big jump on the line of scrimmage and I had a hard time making sure there were guys open, so I didn’t want to force it by making any bad throws.
“I didn’t think I wasn’t seeing the field. I just didn’t make the plays.”
As the boos would attest.
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