Raiders

Pryor: 'Oakland loves me, I love Oakland'

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Pryor: 'Oakland loves me, I love Oakland'

OAKLAND -- Did you see it, or did you blink?

Terrelle Pryor's much-anticipated 2012 season debut came and went in the course of four snaps of the ball and then, like Keyser Söze, he was gone. Not that Pryor was surprised…or outwardly upset.

"We had set just one series," Pryor said, "so that was a set. I would have the first series of the second quarter. So it’s a steppingstone, a step. I enjoyed the four plays or whatever it was. It’s a steppingstone, and I was excited to get in there at least."

Pryor took the field with 14:48 to play in the second quarter and, karma being what it is, was the victim of a false start, on right guard Mike Brisiel. Remember, in his lone "play" last season, Pryor himself was called for a false start.

Then, on 1st and 15 from his own 10-yard line, the third-string quarterback handed off to Darren McFadden, who ran for six yards, before giving the ball again to McFadden, for a two-yard gain.

On 3rd and 7, Pryor missed Darrius Heyward-Bey across the middle.

"I didn’t think I rushed it," Pryor said of his pass. "It was a progression. I got to the third progression, they covered up the tight end on the backside, to the left -- a slant to the boundary. The slant was covered. They doubled him, actually. So I saw a guy, I went to go pass it to DHB and I saw (Javier Arenas) jump it. He was about to jump-cut it, so I just threw it right underneath.

"That would suck if I went right in and threw a pick. But I saw the guy. I was running out of time and guys were getting by me so I just threw it in. Just moving forward, no pick, no interception, no bad play really. So, get better this week in practice."

To his growing legion of fans, though, it was the greatest incompletion in the history of incompletions…or somesuch.

"Oakland loves me," Pryor said. "I love Oakland. I was excited to get out there. There’s not much I can say. I only had four plays, so not much I could really pick apart about myself. The defense that was there on that third-down pass, wasn’t a great type of play for that defense. We weren’t expecting it.

"But you know, next play. That means practice, get ready in practice next week, and just keep pushing as I always do."

Pryor came off the field, Shane Lechler punted and the next time the Raiders offense took the field, Carson Palmer was back under center to close out the Raiders' 15-0 defeat of Kansas City.

"The plan was to get him in the first series of the second quarter and then kind of let the game play out from there," said coach Dennis Allen. "We went three and out in that series and I thought we were doing some nice things with Carson and nice things in the run game and we just stuck with the plan.

"It's been a while since he's played, so we'll look at that going forward. How much he plays? I don't have an answer to that, exactly, but we'll see on a game-by-game basis."

Of course, fans reacted positively when Pryor entered the game and were quizzical when Palmer replaced him.

On the day, Palmer moved into second place on the Raiders' single-season lists for both passing attempts (562) and passing yards (3,987).

"I thought he did good," Palmer said of Pryor. "He didn't get much of a shot, or an opportunity. I know he's been waiting a long time."

And yet, Pryor is not bitter. Again, at least, not outwardly. Bored? Perhaps. But not bitter.

"These are the cards I'm dealt and I love learning from the guy right here," Pryor said as he nodded at Palmer. "I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. When the time’s right, I’ll be ready. And I just love learning from (Palmer)."

Someone mentioned that many think the time is now for Pryor to play.

"Definitely, but this guy right here, Carson, he hasn’t did anything wrong," Pryor said. "I think he did everything he can to try to win this year. Obviously, we want to score points, but he hasn’t played bad at all. If you really go back and look at film, it’s either a guy ran short on a route or a missed block assignment, anything like that. It’s not on Carson. He plays great.

"You can’t just take a guy out that plays great like that. I just love learning from him, like I said, and I look forward to keep on learning from him."

Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the Patriots

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USATSI

Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the Patriots

MEXICO CITY – Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City:

1. So you’re saying there’s a chance?

The Raiders aren’t stacking wins as they’d like. Nobody in the AFC West is, either. The Chiefs lost another one, meaning the AFC West crown remains within reach. They’re two games back in the division and one back in the wild card race.

That, above all else, will keep the Raiders motivated after a disastrous loss to New England.

“We're professionals and to me, so long as you have hope, you keep your hope, you keep hope alive,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “So, we'll continue to scratch and claw and fight for everything we can.”

The Raiders can harken Lloyd Christmas from “Dumb and Dumber.” So you’re saying there’s a chance?

The Raiders will only stay in it if they start a prolonged winning streak. There’s a chance do that on an upcoming two-game home stand. They play Denver and the New York Giants, respectively, in Oakland over the next fortnight. Those teams have five wins between them.

Wins can’t be assumed with the Raiders. With their inconsistency and mistake-prone play, they can lose to anyone.

Fight remains in this group. They’ll continue to push, especially with a 9-7 record being a legitimate playoff contender. They haven’t played worthy of such consideration, but remain hopeful a switch gets flipped.

“We are who we are, we're not going to turn on each other, we're not going to turn on anything about what we do,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “Obviously, we know that our culture and everything that we do works, because we have seen it work.”

2. Receiver corps becoming a weak spot

The Raiders have a talented group of receivers lacking consistency and production. That was the case on Sunday, when pass catchers hindered offensive flow and scoring opportunities.

Seth Roberts was the biggest offender. He had a drop, a false start and lost a fumble near the goal line with the Patriots up 14-0 late in the first half. Roberts had 12 yards in his pocket but held the ball one-handed, away from his body fighting for more. Marquis Flowers knocked it free and Patrick Chung recovered.

That was the turning point, a true 10-point swing. The Raiders lost a chance to reach the end zone, and allowed New England to get a field goal as the half expired.

“That was a major turn of events,” Del Rio said.

The slot receiver wasn’t the only receiver who stalled the Raiders offense. That group had five drops, according to Pro Football Focus, including two from Michael Crabtree. Johnny Holton wasn’t credited with a drop, but he had a perfectly thrown deep ball clang off his helmet and shoulder pads.

It’s a bad night in a bad year for the Raiders receivers, who haven’t been producing.

3. Lopsided score keeps Marshawn from going Beast Mode

Running back Marshawn Lynch was the only player who had a good Sunday. The bruising back ran roughshod over New England’s front seven, right from the start. He totaled 67 yards on 11 carries, and seemed primed for a big day and a higher-than-usual carry volume.

He and the Raiders run blocking was consistent, allowing him to reach the second level on several occasions.

The lopsided score, however, meant the Raiders had to abandon the ground game.

“I thought we ran the ball well early,” Del Rio said. “I would like to have ended up with 30-plus rush attempts in the ball game, but you got to stay within reasonable amount of the score in order to stick with the run.”

The Raiders were down two touchdowns in a flash, and were three scores behind at the half. That forced Derek Carr to chuck it towards an unreliable receiver corps. That method proved inefficient and never created the big moments.

Lynch has run well since returning from a one-game suspension. He has 25 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. If there’s a positive to take from Sunday’s beat down, Lynch’s efficiency might be it.

Del Rio calls out NFL for Raiders losing home games to go abroad

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AP

Del Rio calls out NFL for Raiders losing home games to go abroad

MEXICO CITY – The Raiders have played in Mexico City the last two years, and have given up a home game to do it.

You already know head coach Jack Del Rio’s stance on the matter. He doesn’t like it. Not one bit.

The NFL announced Sunday morning that Mexico City will host games annually through 2021. The Raiders will be on the short list to return during that span.

“They’ve done a nice job for us over the last two years,” Del Rio said. “If it was a road game, I’d enjoy it. If they stop making (international contests) our home games, we’ll be fine.”

Hate to be the bearer of bad news Jack, but the Raiders will keep giving home games away. That’s expected each year until the Raiders formally move to Las Vegas.

The Raiders might not come back to Mexico for a third straight season, but could host a game in London next year. The NFL sent four games to the United Kingdom this year.

The Raiders have a massive fan base in England and Mexico, which makes them an attractive option to play abroad.

It might make financial sense for the team and the league to expand its base beyond borders, but the football people don’t find it fun.

The Raiders had more fans watching Sunday’s 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots at Estadio Azteca, but it’s no substitute for playing in Oakland.

“I think the crowd down here is pretty excited for the Raiders, so we appreciate that,” Del Rio said. “When you travel four-and-a-half hours, you’re not at home. We appreciate the hospitality and the good people who came out and supported us, but it’s hard to call it a home game.”

This one, especially. The Raiders had overwhelming support last year’s game against Houston, but Patriots fans were a large and vocal minority. They had plenty to cheer, as the Patriots waxed the Silver and Black over four quarters.

It’s hard to say the Raiders had a home crowd this time around, with plenty of noise when they were on offense.

“You know what, traveling down here, I think it was like four hours or something like that, and getting here, I think that hospitality was great, but it really wasn't, it wasn't the Coliseum,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “It didn’t have that feel. Now, we loved playing here, we loved coming down here and playing, but it felt more neutral.”