Upon Further Review: Raiders Week 2

September, 16, 2013
9/16/13
12:00
PM ET
An examination of four hot issues from the Oakland Raiders19-9 victory Sunday over Jacksonville:

[+] EnlargeTyvon Branch
AP Photo/Ben MargotRaiders coach Dennis Allen called safety Tyvon Branch's ankle injury "significant."
A quick start: True, the Raiders were set up with the good fortune of fantastic field position to start the game after Phillip Adams returned a punt 30 yards to the Jacksonville 38-yard line. But Oakland’s offense did what it was supposed to do –- cash in. Going 38 yards in five plays, taking 2 minutes, 45 seconds off the clock, the Raiders scored a touchdown –- Marcel Reece ran it in from 11 yards out -– on their first offensive series for the first time since the final game of the 2011 season, or, to put it another way, for the first time with Dennis Allen as coach and Reggie McKenzie as general manager. Early scoring sets the tone, of course, but it's especially true for a rebuilding team.

Branch’s ankle: Allen called strong safety Tyvon Branch’s ankle injury “significant,” and the last time he referred to an injury as such, the Raiders lost offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom for the year with a foot issue. This is not to suggest Branch is done, but if he is out for a significant amount of time, it’s a blow for a retooled defense that has nine new starters. Brandian Ross and Usama Young performed admirably in Branch’s absence, but with all due respect to Charles Woodson, the younger and faster Branch is the one who makes the secondary go. If Branch is out, does Woodson move to strong safety with Young starting at free?

Pryor’s arm: There’s no question that Terrelle Pryor’s passing is the part of his game that needs the most polishing. But Sunday he turned into a game manager, so to speak. Sure, he completed just 15 of 24 passes for a relatively meager 126 yards while taking three sacks. But Pryor did not throw an interception a week after being picked off twice in the red zone. “There weren’t a lot of opportunities for throwing the ball today,” Pryor said. “We were running the ball well so, as a quarterback, I didn’t have a lot of opportunities. But at the end of the day, we got a win.”

Of "explosive" plays II: And now for our weekly tracking of “explosive” plays, defined by Allen as a play that gains at least 16 yards through the air or 12 yards on the ground. The Raiders had eight such plays against the Jaguars (six runs and two passes) while Jacksonville had seven (all passes). In two games, the Raiders have 17 explosive plays (nine runs, eight passes), though none have ended in a touchdown. Oakland’s opponents, meanwhile, have 15 explosive plays (three runs and 12 passes), with a touchdown each way.

Paul Gutierrez

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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