Oakland Raiders Come Close, But Not Close Enough


Sep 8, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore (17) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts cornerback Darius Butler (20) at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeats Oakland 21-17. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

What a first game for the Oakland Raiders: the offense and defense played well, stepping up to the plate and delivering a base hit. No matter how you look at this game, the Raiders showed improvement and displayed some character that will enhance their chances of winning in the 2013 season.

However, despite the way the Raiders played, and how impressed the Nation is, the fact of the matter is the Raiders only got close. Remembering a former coach talking about playing close this comes to mind: “Close only counts in horseshoes, blackjack, and nuclear warfare.” What he meant was you don’t have to hit the target to win — you just have to come close.

Oakland was so close; the Raiders even took the lead midway through the fourth quarter with a team that started the day with nine new defensive starters and no announced starting quarterback. Indeed, what a sweet victory it would have been.

Terrelle Pryor frustrated the Colts all game long. In just his second career start, the Raiders’ starting quarterback went 19 of 29 for 217 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions on the day. Pryor also set a franchise record for yards rushing by a quarterback.

Pryor, the former Ohio State star, ran the ball 13 times for 112 yards, breaking the mark (85 yards) set by former league MVP Rich Gannon in 2000 (Note to self, the Raiders have never had a running QB…Stabler, Gannon, Lamonica, Palmer, Collins, Plunkett). The closest QB in Raider history to be a runner was Vince Evans. It is a record, and Pryor deserves the accolades .

Pryor did well, yet still made inexperienced mistakes. He threw two interceptions, both in the red zone (Carson Palmer-ish) and took a 16-yard sack with 68 seconds to go after Oakland reached the Colts’ 8-yard line.

Two plays later, he was picked off by Antoine Bethea at the Colts’ 4-yard line, which sealed the Raiders’ fate.

The offensive line played well, allowing only one sack for 16 yards. Pryor was a one-man gang, creating plays and showing off his agility.

Darren McFadden was almost absent from the game, toting the rock 17 times while producing 48 yards. For someone wanting to re-sign with the Raiders, the production says something else

The receivers for the Raiders were not absent, as Rod Streeter collected 70 yards on the day as Denarius Moore went for 43 yards.

Offensively, the Raiders did everything but win the game. Oakland out-rushed the Colts 171 yards to 127 and out-threw the Colts 201 yards to 147.

Again, close.

Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck was sacked four times and hit plenty of times, as the Raiders’ defense was blowing up the Colts after allowing touchdowns on Indy’s first two series. The Raiders frustrated Luck and the Colts the rest of the day.

Jacksonville takes the flight to Oakland next week, and the Raiders should be able to turn “close” into their first win of the young 2013 season.