Rapid Reaction: Oakland Raiders
October, 7, 2013
By Paul Gutierrez | ESPN.com
OAKLAND -- A few thoughts on the Oakland Raiders' 27-17 win over the San Diego Chargers:
What it means: The Raiders rode an emotional wave early, thanks in part to the late start time (8:35 p.m. PT) and had just enough to hold off the Chargers. A running attack behind a patchwork offensive line and featuring Rashad Jennings early and Marcel Reece late kept San Diego’s defense honest, and the Raiders’ defense pitched a first-half shutout and had just enough to hold on. Five takeaways -- including their first three interceptions of the season -- by Usama Young, D.J. Hayden and Charles Woodson -- helped the Raiders overcome injuries and personnel shortcomings and to hold on after leading 24-3 entering the fourth quarter.
Stock watch: Rising: Terrelle Pryor. His improvement from week to week as an NFL quarterback has been stunning. Pryor, playing for the first time since suffering a concussion at Denver two weeks prior, completed his first 10 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns, including a 44-yard scoring strike to Rod Streater on the Raiders’ first offensive play of the game. He seemed to be playing backyard football in the first half, when he had a perfect passer rating of 158.3. In the second half, though, with the lack of a credible running attack, he fell victim to three sacks. Until their late scoring drive, the Raiders had only one second-half first down on the first play after halftime. Pryor’s ability to make plays while rolling to the right was the difference.
C-Wood makes history: Woodson was signed not just for nostalgia; he was supposed to provide leadership and a blueprint for professionalism. Five games in, he’s the Raiders’ best player. Period. His 25-yard fumble recovery late in the third quarter not only gave Oakland a 24-3 lead, but it was his 13th career defensive touchdown, tying him with Rod Woodson and Darren Sharper for the most in NFL history.
What's next: The Raiders (2-3) travel to Kansas City to take on the unbeaten and untied Chiefs (5-0). Oakland has won eight of the past 11 meetings, including six straight in Kansas City.