After a game like yesterday I can think of only one quote and it is by the great Ron Burgundy, "Well, that escalated quickly!". The Raiders and Chiefs were still tied at 7 until late in the third quarter but then like some terrible nightmare the Chiefs took over and dominated the rest of the way.
There is plenty of blame to go around for the way that game ended.:
The offensive line has been absolutely decimated to the point where there are players that might not even be in the NFL if they weren't on the Raiders playing significant minutes.
Terrelle Pryor refused to throw the ball away and panicked into trying to run away from the manic rush on every play.
Darren McFadden was running into the backs of people like he was blind to them being there.
It all rolled into an ugly end to a game that held high hopes through much of it. That is part of why this game hurt as much as it did, the Raiders were very much in this game through most of it. Another reason why it hurt so bad was that it was the Kansas City Chiefs, and the last big reason for the pain is that the Raiders defense played very well but the offense hung them out to dry.
Something that is being a little overlooked in this though is how good the Chiefs are. Throughout this year they have played games like this, they hang around until the final quarter and then they use that conserved energy to dominate the end of the game. They are basically utilizing Muhammad Ali's "Rope-a-Dope" to tire out their opponents and then attack the weakened state of their opponent.
Also slightly overlooked was the performance of Kansas City's 12th man. No crowd in an open air stadium has ever been louder for an NFL game. The Raiders had an inexperienced quarterback playing behind an even less experienced (and far less talented) offensive line and then they essentially had to play deaf. It would've been hard to hear yourself think at 137.5 decibals let alone hear the QB trying to call out plays.
The Chiefs fans almost reached the decibal level of a jet engine which pumps out 140 decibals of noise. That is inconceivably loud and impenetrable for this Raiders team trying to communicate their calls through. This is something that a veteran QB like Peyton Manning MIGHT be able to handle but something that a player that is essentially a rookie in Terrelle Pryor could not.
There were very clear reasons why this game went south as quickly as it did. There is no quarterback in this league who wouldn't have been rattled by that defense which consistently looked like an unstoppable avalanche overcoming the Raiders offensive line. Once the Chiefs defense figured out that the O-Line could not stop them they were enraged with adrenaline, and their 10 sacks in this game was the direct result of it.
As much as none of us want to hear about it, Terrelle Pryor looked an awful lot like Matt Flynn yesterday. They both were overwhelmed by the rush and both panicked into being completely lost while blindly attempting to outrun the defense. They both were utterly ineffective when things went wrong and both had no answer in their bones for the questions facing them.
The difference is in how they responded to their bad performances. Matt Flynn was a defeated man by the time he even saw the field and afterwards he was defending himself when he should have been accepting the blame for his terrible performance. Terrelle on the other hand is showing exactly the type of reaction we want to see.
"It's unfortunate that we lost a couple key guys on the line." said Pryor after the game, "It's unfortunate that you don't get reps like that with the crowd noise. Its experience as a team, experience as offense. Defense played phenomenal. A lot of this falls on me. The loss is on me, and I'll take it. I'll make sure we get better. Me being the leader of the offense, I have to make sure that happens and it will."
Some fans get up in arms when people criticize Terrelle's play but when he played like he did yesterday he deserved the criticism. This was a game where he fell back into his old issues and he should be called out for that. It also should have been expected that he would take a step back some time this year.
Pryor has come so far that people forgot that he is still a work in progress. This was just a painful reminder that he is still molding himself into the player he hopefully will become. Is that really such a bad thing? We all learn from mistakes and from regressions, this is something that had to happen to make Terrelle a better player in the long run.
We all fall down from time to time, there is no use denying that Pryor is not immune to that as well. He had a bad game. He had the type of game many fans expected to be the norm before the season started. It happened, it's a fact. Now we get to see how he reacts to this type of performance, now we get to see if he is a beaten man from it and from the sounds of his own words he very much is not.
"There's a lot of things I did decent and there's a lot of things I did wrong. Like on the screen play, I broke on the first one that was a screen play and then I tried to take off and run on one of them and I ended up getting sacked by Tamba Hali. Playing them next time, I'm definitely looking forward to it. We'll be ready. At the same time, now I realize on the backside edge, you can't really see. He's very sneaky and strong. He's not like a lot of guys I've been playing. Once he grabs you, it's hard to get away from him, I'll give him that. At the end of the day, I have to make a play, throw the ball away. I take the loss. We'll be back. Like I said, I'll fall and get right back up. I'm standing right now."
Now we have two weeks to prepare for the Pittsburgh Steelers and to stew on this loss. The offensive line is decimated and failed in this game and the entire offense failed right along with them. Now they have to stand back up, dust themselves off and move forward. They have a leader in Terrelle Pryor who is already showing the team what they need to do, which is something we couldn't know for sure that the Raiders had until after a game like yesterday.
Pryor deserves to be called out for his play yesterday. It was a bad game and he knows as well as anybody that it is unacceptable. The good news is that mistakes teach us better than successes and TP will take this to heart and learn from it. He already has.