By: Malaika Bobino
Oakland, CA – The beginning of pre-season was looking pretty bleak for the Oakland Raiders. Coming into today game, the offense was a big concern. The lack of cohesive play and Carson Palmer’s continued streak for interceptions per game has become alarming.
But after the Raiders 31-20 victory over the Detroit Lions, the fans came breath a sigh of relief. Third string quarterback Terrelle Pryor proved the offense is moving in the right direction.
“My time management in the huddle improved today, I could get out earlier than before and that helped a lot,” said Pryor. “I could see the defense better and didn’t have to rush the ball. This week I worked on memorizing the plays better and didn’t mess up. I studied really hard and prayed a lot.”
By the end of third quarter he was the leading rusher in the game. Terrelle waisted no time proving his ability to be the back-up quarterback to Palmer. He opened up the second half with a scramble for 59-yards for the first down and followed with 17-yard touchdown after shaking off a sack. In a 77-yard drive on back-to-back plays, Pryor was responsible for 76-yards.
Not bad for the former Ohio State standout who hadn’t played in year prior to Oakland’s first exhibition game almost two weeks ago. He threw two touchdowns passes of 40 and 76 yards to rookie Juron Criner in both the third and fourth quarters. Going 3-for-5 passing for 137 yards, Terrelle feels there’s room to become better and he is on the right path in getting that done.
“I thought he managed the huddle a lot better in this game,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “That was an area of improvement we were looking for, he’s still a work in progress and I thought he made some strides today. There’s a lot of things we need to get corrected on offense and defense.”
Carson struggled again in getting into the end zone and with passes being picked off. He threw two interceptions and completed 17-of-26 passes for 181 yards. The offense had no spark to start the game. Sebastian Janikowski missed a 30-yard field goal and later left after straining his groin while kicking a 66-yard kickoff return. Oakland averaged 11.2 yards on five kickoff returns and 4 yards on three punt returns.
It’s obvious the offense needs to improve, with two weeks away from the start of the season, the Raiders see no reason to panic. There were some advantages despite Palmer’s poor performance. Darren McFadden crossed the goal line before fumbling the ball after getting hit. Coach Allen challenged the call and officials overturned the play to rule in favor of the 1-yard touchdown which gave the Raiders a 7-3 lead.
The Lions didn’t go down without a fight, back-up and third string quarterbacks Shaun Hill and Kellen Moore had a lot of ground to pick up after losing Matthew Stafford to a hand injury in the first half. Both back-ups threw a touchdown each.
Hill threw a 7-yard pass to Brandon Pettigrew in the third quarter for Detroit’s first touchdown, he finished with 7-for-15 for 68 yards. Moore was 10-for19 for 87 yards with a touchdown pass to Alex Gottlieb in the fourth.
“It’s disappointing when you get to this point in camp, with roster cuts coming up, guys trying to make a good impression,” said Lions coach Jim Schwartz. “We need to play better than that under those circumstances.”