AFC West: 2013 Week 10 OAK at NYG

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A week after getting torched by an unheralded Nick Foles for seven touchdown passes, the Raiders defense showed up.

Albeit, in a 24-20 loss to the New York Giants.

“I was proud of the defense,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “I was proud the way they responded after last week's performance. I thought they responded positively.”

Oakland limited Giants quarterback Eli Manning to 140 yards on a season low-tying 12 completions in 22 attempts. They sacked Manning three times and cornerback Tracy Porter picked him off and returned it for a touchdown (Porter is the only player in league history to have a pick-six against both Eli and Peyton Manning), handing Manning his league-leading 16th interception.

The Raiders scored all 17 of their points in the first half off turnovers.


“They're all frustrating when you lose,” said safety Charles Woodson. “The way we lost last week was embarrassing and this week was a very winnable game and you don't make the plays you need to make.

“They hurt equally. This is the most recent, so that's the one that hurts the most.”

Especially with the Raiders limiting the Giants to 251 yards of offense, though running back Andre Brown did rumble for 115 yards on 30 carries in his season debut after recovering from a broken leg.

“I would have liked to see us stop the run a little better,” Allen said. “But we got in a situation where we weren't really allowing them to really throw the ball, and we weren't giving up explosive runs, per se. So I thought our run defense did a nice job of limiting what they could do offensively.

“A solid day by our defense.”

But another loss for a now 3-6 team full of woulda, coulda and shouldas against the likes of the Indianapolis Colts, Washington and the Kansas City Chiefs.

“We'll come in tomorrow and we'll gather our thoughts, lick our wounds a little bit and get ready to play next week,” Woodson said. “Guys are very prideful in our locker room and we'll be ready to play again next week.”

It's a road game, at the Houston Texans. And the Raiders are 1-11 on the road under the defensive-minded Allen, their lone win in that span coming at Kansas City last season.

Is Pryor regressing as a quarterback?

November, 10, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Has Terrelle Pryor regressed?

The numbers would seem to bear this out after he completed just 11 of 26 passes for 122 yards and committed two costly turnovers in the Oakland Raiders' 24-20 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday.

[+] EnlargeTerrelle Pryor
Al Bello/Getty ImagesTerrelle Pryor was sacked four times and threw a pick in the Raiders' loss to the Giants.
The question, then, is why?

“Whatever you saw,” Pryor said, without a hint of sarcasm, “you saw. I’m not going to lie.”

Pryor had just been told he did not seem the same on the field, that the right knee he tweaked a week earlier, seemed to still be bothering him. Indeed, Pryor said he has a sprained MCL.

Basically, he said, he could not get any push off from his right leg on passes and could not get any push off when he was cutting on runs. So if his legs are his strength, what’s next?

“I couldn’t explode in the passing game,” he said, “couldn’t explode in the running game.”

Pryor, who entered the game needing 44 yards to establish a new franchise single-season rushing record for a quarterback, was instead sacked four times and rushed for a career-low-for-a-start 19 yards. He played with a brace on the knee.

Raiders coach Dennis Allen intimated he was surprised Pryor appeared limited after a week of practice in which the knee was not a hindrance.

“We all could watch from the sideline and tell that it didn’t look like he had the same explosiveness,” Allen said.

Maybe that’s why his inexplicable slant pass to Denarius Moore, who was surrounded by three Giants, floated aimlessly into the arms of cornerback Terrell Thomas, who then returned the interception 65 yards to the Raiders’ 5-yard line.

“It was a route that they run a lot and I was waiting on it all game,” Thomas said. “They run two-by-two slants and coach put us in a great position and I was just happy to make a play for our defense.”

Two plays later, the Giants took a 21-20 lead with 2:15 remaining in the third quarter.

And maybe that’s why Pryor’s pocket sense was compromised late in the fourth quarter, when he was strip-sacked by Mathias Kiwanuka and lost the fumble at Oakland’s 45-yard line with 3:21 to play. Pryor had neither the ability nor the inclination to take off as the pocket collapsed around him and with the Raiders trailing by four points.

Oakland would not touch the ball again.

“We’ve got to get better in the passing game,” Allen said. “We’re not going to be able to win games without being able to pass the ball.

“It’s a work in progress and we’ve got to keep progressing.”

Allen was referring to his team in general, though he could have been talking about Pryor in particular.

Consider: In his last four games, Pryor has been intercepted eight times and thrown one touchdown pass while completing 61 of 120 passes (50.8 percent) for 719 yards. He has also been sacked 18 times for 110 yards.

So as much as the 24-year-old says he does not get tired -- “I get energized,” he said this week -- something is amiss that goes beyond a purported leaky offensive line and maddeningly inconsistent receivers.

“The protection, overall, was solid,” Allen said.

This is the most Pryor has played since 2010, when he was a junior at Ohio State.

Or maybe defenses have figured out that Pryor is most effective when he rolls out to his right, so they put a spy on him and flood the flat.

“I’m not discouraged,” he said. “But today my leg was very sore. I was out there trying to do my best and it wasn’t doing anything. I wasn’t able to be myself. With more treatment, hopefully this thing cures up fast.”

Locker Room Buzz: Oakland Raiders

November, 10, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Observed in the locker room after the Oakland Raiders' 24-20 loss to the New York Giants.

A speech for naught: Charles Woodson gave the team a pregame locker room sermon that was still resonating after the game. “Just stating the obvious,” he said in a somber room. “We’re running out of opportunities to do what we set out to do.” Sounds like the makings of another speech.

Say what? The question of the postgame media scrum was also asked of Woodson as someone wondered if, since the Raiders would be back at this same locale in a month to face the Jets, Woodson thought they’d have a better chance against them. “I’m not even thinking that far down the road,” he said. Interview over.

A solitary man: A fully dressed Terrelle Pryor sat at his locker for several minutes, alone with his thoughts, staring into space. He would address the media in a side room but seemed to be replaying the game in his head.

Bonding? The locker room was essentially cleared out by the time coach Dennis Allen’s news conference ended, but it was telling which position group was still together and bonding in a corner -- the linebackers.

Rapid Reaction: Oakland Raiders

November, 10, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the Oakland Raiders' 24-20 loss to the New York Giants:

What it means: As opportunistic as the Raiders were early -- all 17 first-half points came on Giants turnovers -- Oakland’s offense was just as inconsistent. One yard from going up 24-14 midway through the third quarter, the Raiders instead could not punch the ball in and had to settle for a field goal. As a result, Oakland’s losing streak in games played in the Eastern time zone reached 12, dating to Dec. 6, 2009, while it's gotten outscored by a combined 379-198. In fact, the Raiders are now 5-29 in games played three time zones away since Dec. 15, 2002.

Stock watch: Falling -- Terrelle Pryor. Yes, Pryor was playing on a bad wheel with his tweaked right knee. And the offensive line offered little help. Same with his receivers. But Pryor looks to have regressed. At halftime, Pryor was 3-of-12 passing for 27 yards. And his third-quarter interception -- he tried to squeeze a pass between three Giants to Denarius Moore -- was a backbreaker as New York returned it to the Raiders' 5-yard line. Pryor's decision-making has come into question as well, even before his lost fumble on a strip-sack in the fourth quarter. He finished 11-of-26 for 122 yards.

Porter owns the Mannings: Tracy Porter's 74-yard pick-six of Peyton Manning sealed the New Orleans Saints' Super Bowl XLIV victory over the Indianapolis Colts. And Porter’s 43-yard pick-six of Eli Manning gave the Raiders a 17-14 lead late in the second quarter. Porter is the lone NFL player to have returned interceptions for scores against both Manning brothers.

Jennings shows up: With Darren McFadden out with an injury, Rashad Jennings was a more-than-capable replacement. The hard-running Jennings finished with 88 yards on 20 carries. So it was strange to see the Raiders not call his number three straight times when they had a first-and-goal from the Giants’ 1-yard line in the third quarter.

What's next: The Raiders (3-6) play at the Houston Texans (2-6, entering Sunday) for the first time since the Immaculate Interception, when Oakland had a game-ending interception in the end zone with only 10 players on the field the day after Al Davis passed away. The Texans are expected to regain the services of coach Gary Kubiak for this game after he suffered a mini-stroke last week, though running back Arian Foster is reportedly headed to season-ending injured reserve on Monday.