A weekly analysis of the Raiders’ quarterback play.
Rewind: Terrelle Pryor was not the electric playmaker against Jacksonville he was in the Raiders’ season opener at Indianapolis. Then again, he did not have to be. Not with running back Darren McFadden taking over and rushing for 129 yards. Oh sure, Pryor broke off a 27-yard run against the Jaguars, but he was more in game-manager mode in completing 15 of 24 passes for a relatively pedestrian 126 yards. What was huge for him, though, was this: no turnovers.
Fast-forward: Against the Colts, Pryor was 1-for-7 on passes of at least 20 yards. Against the Jags, he was 2-for-6 on passes of more than 10 yards, according to Pro Football Focus. The Broncos don’t figure to let him beat them with deep passes either. They just picked off New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning four times and would love to dare Pryor to beat them downfield after Manning was just 1-for-7 on throws of more than 20 yards. Per ESPN Stats & Information, Denver is averaging twice as many passes defended or intercepted per game this season (5.0) than last year (2.5) when rushing four or fewer player. That allows the Broncos to spy on Pryor and his running game as well.
Feeling the pressure: Against Jacksonville, Pryor was pressured 12 times in his 31 drop-backs, per PFF, and he was sacked three times, took off running four times and threw five passes, with three completions and two balls thrown away.
Prediction: The bright lights of "Monday Night Football" and competing against a future Hall of Famer in Peyton Manning will have Pryor antsy. How well he handles his nerves will go a long way in determining his personal success, even if the Raiders’ fortunes ultimately reside on the defensive side of the ball.