What seemed to be the inevitable ascension of Matt Flynn as the Raiders starting quarterback is now an open question.
Terrelle Pryor thrust himself into the conversation Friday night by bringing the Raiders back from the dead in a 34-26 preseason loss to the Chicago Bears at O.co Coliseum.
Pryor scored on a 25-yard scramble and hit a clutch 19-yard touchdown pass to sixth-round draft pick Nick Kasa as the Raiders rebounded from a 27-3 deficit to get within 27-20 after three quarters.
By the time Matt McGloin took over in the fourth quarter, Pryor had given coach Dennis Allen and offensive coordinator Greg Olson something to think about, as much by Flynn’s struggles as by Pryor’s playmaking ability.
Asked afterward if he would consider Pryor as the potential Week 1 starting quarterback, Allen said, “I think we’ll have to take a look at it. I don’t think Matt played well. Terrelle came in and gave us a spark. I’m not going to make any decisions tonight.’
Flynn was 3-for-6 for 19 yards, had two interceptions _ both on throws that weren’t close _ and was getting resounding boos from the home crowd.
“That’s the game of football,’’ Flynn said. “That’s what happens when you have passionate fans that expect a certain level of performance.’’
Pryor had 37 yards rushing on three carries and completed 7 of 9 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Upon entering the game with 6:52 left in the first half, Pryor also initially struggled. He threw high for for Streater on a third-and-11 play to Rod Streater that should have been intercepted by Bears safety Chris Conte, who dropped the ball.
Late in the half, Pryor’s 26-yard completion to Mychal Rivera set up Sebastian Janikowski for a 58-yard field goal.
In the second half, against the Bears’ second-team defense, Pryor scrambled to his left and lofted a 19-yard jump pass to Streater for a first down. He later raced around right end for the 25-yard score.
Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 30-yard field goal after a Josh McCown fumble got the Raiders within 27-13, and then the former Raiders quarterback threw an interception to Joselio Hanson, setting up more Pryor heroics.
Sacked for an 11-yard loss earlier in the series, and faced with third-and-16, Pryor threw a perfect seam pass to Kasa at the goal line for the touchdown.
“I just want to go out and compete,’’ Pryor said. “To me, that’s just what I do. That’s how I expect to play. My teammates stepped up and made a lot of plays for me.’’
Neither quarterback was interested in entering a debate as the Raiders begin a short week heading into their final preseason game at Seattle Thursday night.
Flynn, who was the presumptive starter in Seattle last season only to lose the job to Russell Wilson, was asked if he had jeopardized a potential starting position with the Raiders.
“I’m not sure,’’ Flynn said. “I’ll go out, keep busting my tail and look t oplay better. Week No. 3 in in the preseason is not going to affect me in the long run.’’
Said Pryor: “I’m not looking to get into who is going to start. We’ve got a lot of things to fix and we’re going to fix them together.’’
In trailing 27-3 at the end of the first half, the Raiders were actually worse than they were the week before in New Orleans, where they were down 23-7 at halftime. Chicago outgained the Raiders 252 to 92 and a 14-4 edge in first downs.
Quarterback Jay Cutler was 12 of 21 for 142 yards and a 32-yard touchdown to Matt Forte, and Forte also rushed for 76 yards on six carries. Former Raider Michael Bush had scoring runs of 10 yards and one yard.
The first-half highlight for the Raiders was the return to action of cornerback D.J. Hayden, who had not played since last November after rupturing a blood vessel to his heart in a practice at Houston.
Hayden gave up his first completion (a 22-yard pass to Brandon Marshall), made his first tackle and broke up his first pass.
“No question he was rusty,’’ Allen said. “It was good to get him on the field. He got a lot of firsts out of the way tonight.’’
– McGloin, who played the fourth quarter, was 7 of 14 for 128 yards, a 5-yard touchdown to Jamize Olawale and two interceptions.
– Streater went out with a concussion on the 15-yard catch from Pryor in the third quarter. Brice Butler and Usama Young left the game with hamstring strains, and Hanson had a groin injury.
– Janikowski kicked a 58-yard field goal off the dirt at the end of the second half and was wide right in the first half from 49 yards.
– Jacoby Ford raced 62 yards with a kickoff return after Josh Cribbs mishandled his first attempt and fumbled the second, with the Raiders recovering.
– Running back Darren McFadden has a minor shoulder injury and could have played if it were a regular season game, Allen said.