Though the Raiders got beat down by their divisional rival Denver Broncos, they still never gave up in this game. That does mean something, it means they believe in themselves. Seeing them still holding their heads up high and giving their all despite overwhelming circumstances means they have a lot of heart and that they are playing for more than just the money.
Unfortunately they ran into a buzz saw in Peyton Manning last night. The guy is 37 years old and is still playing at such an elite level that it seems nearly impossible. Its hard not to laugh when you see how amazing Manning is because it just seems so unbelievable. Manning is simply on another level, age be damned this man is utterly defiant to the laws of nature.
At least the Raiders finally got their first turnover of the season but it came too late to make a difference. Lamarr Houston came around the blind side for a strip sack on Peyton which was a thing of beauty even if it came in a losing effort. Lamarr has taken his game to the next level and is ready to be a legendary Raider as soon as Reggie signs him to his well deserved long term contract extension. Raider Nation is more than ready to celebrate his next contract making him officially a lifelong Raider, he has earned the right to only wear the Silver and Black in his playing career.
Terrelle Pryor still has a long way to go before anybody can talk about him deserving to be a lifelong Raider but he took another stride forward last night. This was his best performance of his NFL career as a passer because it was his best performance inside the pocket. He was moving around and standing tall in the pocket for the first time this season and he looked really comfortable doing it.
As TP gets more games under his belt I have no doubt that he will continue to develop as a thrower. In order for him to be the QB of the future he needs to continue and thankfully we saw that last night. He is growing leaps and bounds with his mechanics and it is relieving to see he won't always have to rely on his legs.
We all saw exactly why we don't want to overly rely on his legs last night when he got completely engulfed on an option run in the redzone. A lot of people were screaming for a helmet to helmet hit on him but unfortunately when the QB is running he loses his protection which made that hit completely legal. Terrelle's running leaves him vulnerable to big hits and he finally experienced one of those big hits.
The big hit left him with a concussion and now we will have to wait and see if he is ok to play next Sunday. Do we need any more proof that having a running QB is dangerous? That's not saying the QB should never run but having a running QB is putting your most important player in excessive danger. That makes Pryor's development inside the pocket imparitive which is why it was so nice to see his pocket presence improve last night.
If Pryor can't play then we will see Matt Flynn next Sunday. It was nice to see that he was ready to go even if it was just a couple plays against the Broncos. He lost his starting job two years in a row and that could have ruined his confidence but he still appears ready if he gets his chance. I sincerely hope we don't need Flynn and Pryor will be able to play next Sunday but it's important to know that Matt is still capable of coming in and playing confidently.
Speaking of confidence, hopefully Darren McFadden's didn't take too much of a hit. He was smashed just about every time he touched the ball. His best two plays came on HB Pass plays, that's about all that needs to be said about his performance. That really was a beautiful pass from him to Marcel Reece for his first passing touchdown of his career though.
As hard as I have been on McFadden in the past, I put far more blame on the playcalling in this one. They just kept running him into the middle of the pile over and over again. I don't know why it is so hard to realize that DMC performs best when in space and that he is way more productive on outside runs over sending him up the gut. The line was getting no push and OC Greg Olson just kept sending Darren up the middle anyway when everybody watching knew that play call wasn't working. That is on Olson far more than on DMC in my mind.
There is no getting around the fact that the Raiders didn't play as well as they needed to last night and the scoreblard reflects that. We all wanted to see a better game and many expected a much better game, sadly it is what it is. I still did not see the team give up and that is what they will need to use to get better from this. Hopefully this game was more of a hiccup than what we will see from the Oakland Raiders moving forward.