Saturday, August 25, 2012
Observation deck: Raiders-Lions
By Bill Williamson
A look at the Raiders’ 31-20 home victory Saturday night:
Oakland's first preseason win came courtesy of some late-game offensive explosions.
Terrelle Pryor can run and he’s exciting. There’s no doubt. He lit up the stadium with a 59-yard run and a 17-yard touchdown jaunt, totaling 90 yards rushing on five carries. But most importantly, he made some nice passes and hit rookie Juron Criner for two touchdowns (39 and 76 yards) in the fourth quarter. Pryor finished 3 of 5 passing for 137 yards. If he can throw the ball consistently, he could have a future. Saturday was a promising day for Pryor, who has struggled this summer.
As for Criner, it was a nice show for the home fans after impressing his teammates in camp all summer.
Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer’s uneven preseason continued. He had his moments, but he also threw two interceptions. Palmer has thrown four interceptions in the preseason; he threw 16 picks in 10 games last season. Again, that is Palmer’s biggest area of concern.
Palmer did engineer a long scoring drive in the first half -- a promising sign.
Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski suffered a groin injury and left the game after trying to make a tackle on a 79-yard kick return. It is not known how long Janikowski -- the best kicking weapon in the NFL -- will be out. His replacement, rookie Eddy Carmona, drilled a 56-yard field goal, and perhaps he’d kick if Janikowski’s injury lingers into the regular season. Still, Oakland needs Janikowski to have a quick recovery.
Oakland’s special teams need some work. They are usually stellar, but have been a little sloppy this preseason. The Raiders have had key injuries on special teams and I don’t think it is an issue yet.
Oakland’s defense played solidly again. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford went down with a hand injury in the second quarter; he had been pretty successful before getting hurt. His backup, Shaun Hill, took over and had some success.
Undrafted rookie receiver Rod Streater had five catches, giving him 18 for the preseason. He started Saturday because of injuries, which is a major accomplishment for an undrafted rookie. It looks like he will get a chance to contribute when the regular season starts.
The Raiders had some early penalty problems after being pretty clean in the first two games. They had four pre-snap penalties and were penalized a total of nine times for 59 yards. Cutting down on penalties has to be a priority for Oakland, which set NFL records for penalties and penalty yardage in 2011.
Oakland reserve running back Taiwan Jones had a nice game with 50 yards on 10 carries. He will be a key factor behind starter Darren McFadden.
Fellow Raiders back Mike Goodson had 18 yards on seven carries. But he didn’t fumble after fumbling twice last week.
Oakland allowed just one sack all game.
Young defensive linemen Jamie Cumbie, Jack Crawford and Christo Bilukidi all looked good and all have promise.