Many fans probably didn’t even realize the Raiders had lost six consecutive preseason games, but they’ll remember the night they broke the streak thanks to Terrelle Pryor.
If the Raiders’ coaching staff wasn’t thinking about putting in some specialty packages for the second-year quarterback out of Ohio State, they are now after Pryor led the Raiders to a 31-20 win over the Detroit Lions Saturday at O.co Coliseum.
Pryor scored on a 17-yard run and threw touchdown passes of 40 and 76 yards to rookie Juron Criner in the second half, setting up his scoring run with a 59-yard dash to put Oakland up 17-13 with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
The extra playing time came because backup quarterback Matt Leinart was held out with a laceration on the index finger of his right hand.
Before giving way to Kyle Newhall-Caballero at the two-minute warning, Pryor was 3-for-5 for 137 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 90 yards on five carries and a touchdown. One of the incompletions came on a drop by Criner which would have resulted in a first down.
Pryor, opened the second half in place of starter Carson Palmer, woke up a sparse crowd on the initial scoring drive, accounting for 76 yards of a 77-yard drive on back to back plays.
On the first run, Pryor rolled to his right, found a lane on third-and-6 and sprinted all the way to the 17-yard line. On the second, he spun out of a a sack attempt, then set sail for the right pylon. He just got there, with the help of a push block from Owen Schmitt.
The touchdown passes to Criner may have been even more impressive, because everyone knew Pryor could run the ball.
On the 40-yard score, Pryor threw the ball high down the right sideline and allowed Criner to do the rest, making a leaping catch and falling into the end zone and scoring.
Moments before, Pryor had an interception negated on an illegal hands-to-the-face penalty on Detroit.
Pryor’s second touchdown came as he broke right and found Criner in stride. Criner caught the ball with his fingertips in stride and raced to the touchdown despite a hold on Detroit.
— The Lions scored on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Kellen Moore to Alex Gottleib with 3:32 left. Detroit drove 69 yards in 10 plays for the score following the second Pryor-to-Criner touchdown.
— Detroit took a 13-10 lead on a 7-yard pass from Shaun Hill to Brandon Pettigrew with 9:33 left in the third quarter.
The score at the end of a 10-play, 72-yard drive was made possible by a roughing the passer penalty on Tommy Kelly on a play which had resulted in an interception by Matt Giordano.
— The Raiders piled up a 247-91 advantage in total offense, had 18 first downs to five for the Lions and had the ball for 18:21 to 11:39 yet held a three-point halftime lead only because Eddy Carmona boomed a 56-yard field goal at the gun.
Palmer orchestrated an eight-play, 34-yard drive in 57 seconds to put Oakland in position after a Detroit punt.
Included was a 5-yard Palmer pass to Rod Streater on third-and-3 to the Oakland 40, a pair of 7-yard passes to Brandon Myers and two 4-yard throws to Jones out of the backfield.
— Palmer was 17 of 26 for 181yards in the first half with two interceptions, although one was a well-thrown ball that bounced out of the hands of wide receiver Eddie McGee and into the hands of linebacker Stephen Tulloch.
The other, a forced screen into traffic that was stolen by defensive end Willie Young at the 7, ended up not being a factor because the Oakland defense held on downs.
Palmer’s best throw was a 41-yard strike to Darrius Heyward-Bey during their first-half scoring drive against Justin Miller. He gave way to Pryor to start the second half.
– Stafford did not return after an injury to his non-throwing hand in the first half, with Hill taking over with 6:18 left in the half. Stafford was 8-for-10 for 68 yards at the time of his departure.
— Wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who torched the Raiders for nine receptions, 214 yards and two touchdowns when the teams met last Dec. 18 at the Coliseum, had one reception for seven yards in the first half.
— Sure to attract the attention of the coaching staff during film review were four pre-snap violations in the first quarter, a pair of false starts by right guard Mike Brisiel and neutral zone infractions by defensive ends Matt Shaughnessy and Dave Tollefson.
— Players who made their preseason debut were Jones, tight end Brandon Myers, defensive end Jack Crawford and punter Shane Lechler. Lechler had a modest 41-yard punt on his first attempt.
Lecher’s second punt got better results _ Patrick Edwards called for a fair catch of a 46-yard punt at the Detroit 5-yard line.
Myers caught five passes for 41 yards.
— Those who did not suit up for the Raiders were Leinart, wide receiver Jacoby Ford (foot), wide receiver Denarius Moore (hamstring), linebacker Aaron Curry (knees), center Stefen Wisniewski (calf), tackle Ed Wang (shoulder), tackle Zach Hurd (head) and defensive tackle Richard Seymour (rest).