Terrelle Pryor was the best player on the field for long stretches of the Oakland Raiders’ narrow loss to a 2012 playoff team on the road in their 2013 opener, but it was Pryor’s comments after the game that may have been the most impressive part of the young quarterback’s repertoire on display Sunday.
Pryor’s dazzling performance during the Raiders’ 21-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts included nasty stiff-arms, breaking the all-time rushing record for Raider quarterbacks with 112 yards on 13 carries, and Pryor also threw for over 200 yards and a score.
Colts players acknowledged the dangers he posed in their post-game interviews, but the Raider QB was in no mood to accept praise after his second NFL start ended just short of a stunning upset on the road.
Still just 24 years old, Pryor is younger than Russell Wilson (last year’s Rookie of the Year), and more than a year and a half younger than Colin Kapernick. But being an NFL quarterback also means you’re a face of the franchise and must speak for your team. Pryor seemed to be hitting all the right notes after the loss.
I’m really proud of the offensive line, phenomenal job, every play I made was because of them.
This loss is on me. At the end of the day, I threw the ball away.
I did awful, I thought. Two interceptions. Could’ve won the game, had them on the ropes down there, winning the game is all that matters to me.
I’m disappointed in myself, for one, taking a sack in the red zone… Coach talks to me about that all the time and it’s unacceptable… … that’s the one I’d write down in your notepads.
We gotta get better, I gotta get better… we’ll get better next week.
These quotes may be true, especially if we pretend Pryor’s an All-Pro QB with 10 years of NFL experience, but it’s hard not to appreciate a young man assuming responsibility after only his second professional start (he also looked quite dapper while answering in a suit and tie).
And for those watching, Terrelle’s opening game didn’t look like a problem for anyone except the Colts’ defense, and Indy’s players testified that Terrelle’s tap dancing scared the bejesus out of them.
Five-time Pro Bowler Robert Mathis claimed he ran “about 5.3 miles” chasing the fleet-footed QB, adding: “That guy is fast. He definitely showed up to play today. He’s a problem. He’s a very athletic guy. He can make you pay with his arm, too.”
Last year’s No. 1 overall pick knows a thing or two about playing quarterback, here’s what Andrew Luck said: “I’ll tell you, Terrelle Pryor is a stud. He made some unbelievable plays… It’s not fun watching Terrelle Pryor run around and do his thing, I’m sure for everybody else watching, it’s pretty electric.”
“They did a nice job with their scheme,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “We knew we had a heck of a football player coming here, a talented guy, a great athlete.”
Rich Gannon was doing color on Sunday’s CBS broadcast, and the one-time Raider QB hasn’t always been kind when analyzing his former team. While he did nitpick Pryor’s passing, Gannon made it clear he was very impressed with his poise and playmaking.
Raider fullback Marcel Reece piled on: “He played good football. He played TP football and he gave us a chance to win. That’s what we want and that’s what we need. He gave us a chance to win.”
Dennis Allen acknowledged the positives but also seemed to be the one of the few people besides his young QB highlighting the mistakes, and like Pryor, the Raiders’ 40-year-old head coach wasn’t seeking moral victories.
He was late with the ball (on his first interception)… that’s one of those young mistakes that you make, hopefully he’ll learn from it and move forward…. it was under-thrown.
I thought Terrelle gave us a chance to win the football game.
Overall I was pleased with his performance, there’s still a lot of things that we’ve got to get cleaned up with him and that’s what, anytime you have a young guy, you’re going to have to make some corrections, and you’re going to have to have some things get cleaned up.
Pryor’s interview did have a couple moments that revealed his confidence, making it clear losing was simply unacceptable to him and his teammates — Terrelle also hinted he’ll be handing out candy in the home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars next week.
“At the end of the day,” Pryor said, “I learned a couple of things today, and I can put it in my bag of treats and bring it out for next week and keep learning.”
For the record, I thought Terrelle Pryor played amazing — just don’t tell him that.
See Pryor’s entire post-game interview here…