INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 08: Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Oakland Raiders runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 8, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Oakland Raiders' Performance Against Colts Is a Step in the Right Direction

Sep 8, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) scrambles from Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis (98) at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts defeated the Raiders 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 8, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) scrambles from Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis (98) at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts defeated the Raiders 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


The Oakland Raiders played a very good game last Sunday, almost good enough to beat the Indianapolis Colts.

Oakland led almost every positive category:  rushing, receiving, first downs (20-18), 3rd down efficiency (7-13 to 6 of 10 for the Colts).

On the flip side, they led in negative categories as well: turnovers (2), and penalties (8 for 51 yards, which is a major improvement) The Raiders even led in the fourth quarter, 17-14 with 5:20 to go in the game.

With the whole team needing a makeover, parts of the team are still in shambles.  Yet, the Raiders took one small step towards bringing the program back to its winning ways and hopefully will continue to improve with time and experience.

The secondary will play as good as the pass rush will allow. Against the Colts, Andrew Luck was sacked four times and hit in the mouth several times during the game.

With that said, in the beginning of the game, Luck completed eight passes in a row with ease. The secondary looked confused and dazed; wide open receivers would validate that point.

Charles Woodson didn’t have much of an impact in his first game back. Cornerback Tracy Porter was beaten for one touchdown after slipping in the end zone. Tyvon Branch was a little more effective, and did get one of the Raiders’ four sacks.

With nine new starters on defense, you expect for there to be chaos, but with experience, it should disappear as fast as it appeared. An example of the Raiders’ chaos: Mychal Rivera, a sixth-round draft pick, caught two passes for 26 yards, but he was also called for too many men on the field during Oakland’s final drive.

The Raiders’ running game was non-existent in 2012 with the zone snooze. It was just as sad and pitiful in the first game of the 2013 season — in the power mode, if you will. Darren McFadden scored the team’s only rushing touchdown, but was otherwise shut down, cut off and not allowed to participate in the game. He had 48 yards on 17 carries for just a 2.8-yard average. McFadden’s stock has dropped, and resigning him should be on a performance-based criteria. Yes, it is game one, but if there is a pattern here, McFadden is a non-factor.

One aspect of the game that was a surprise was the kicking game. Sebastian Janikowski misses his first field-goal attempt of the season, a 48-yarder that is a chip shot for him. That miss was larger than life, as it forced the Raiders to have to go for a touchdown rather than a potential go-ahead field goal on the final drive. Let’s not forget that the Sea-Bass is working with a different holder in Marquette King.

Speaking of King, the Raiders’ new punter played well with two explosive kicks to show off his range, and some so-so kick that exposed his lack of direction on directional kicks.

Oakland is still in its infancy of being what was once a dominant empire, starting nine new players on defense and a QB that has only started one other NFL game. The fact is the Raiders had won only one of its previous 10 season openers.

With all that being said, the Raiders were in position to pull off what would have been a stunning upset and become the talk of the NFL.

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Tags: Oakland Raiders

  • Daniel

    Pryor definitely showed everyone he has really improved in his 3rd year. The statement about “learning how to throw” this off season was not a joke. He looks much more confident and poise as a QB. Don’t get me wrong, Pryor was running for his life in most cases vs. Indy because of the poor OLine protection. Raider fans and their management needs to have patience with Pryor. They also need to build around him. Get quality OLinemen to protect him. Get talented play makers around him to utilize his ever improving skills. Oakland, Pryor can be our CK7, Russell Wilson, RG3,…I think he can be a more accurate passer than Cam Newton and bigger strong version of Michael Vick who tends to get beat up because of his size.

    Getting a healthy Velhdeer and Watson. Drafting more quality OL. Get a #1 WR and bringing in another RB to handle the duties. Jeremy Stewart is barely NFL worthy RB. There’s no upside to him. Rashard Jennings is a career journeyman. He doesn’t have what it takes to “be the man.” McFadden is on his last leg in Oakland. A make it or break it year. Poor RB draft selections in Taiwan Jones and Latavius Murry have hurt Oakland chances of developing a Franchise RB. We should have had someone pushing McFadden all these years. Either to play better or move aside.

    • Blu Spikes

      Latavius Murry is still an interesting draft choice. A big hard running back that is not playing right now.
      OL has been a problem for many year, Robert Gallery was one of the most talented Off. lineman to play for the Raiders. (Not the best just very talented) He had five position coaches in five years that would drive a nun to drink. Not counting on Velhdeer, Watson can make a impact if he can stay healthy.

      The running game has disappeared. Last year with Palmer it was a two headed dragon run or pass. When Run DMC got hurt it was all pass. Pryor helps this story line because he can run or pass. Palmer could throw but run, not a chance.

      a opportunity to win a game this week. The game is not for Pryor and the Raiders to win, but not to lose!
      thanks for posting.