The Oakland Raiders squared off with the New York Giants Sunday in a game which showcased both teams’ strength and weakness.
The Raiders’ weaknesses ultimately wore down as they fell 24-20 to Eli Manning in East Rutherford, N.J.
Their defense continued to kill the run and force turnovers, while Terrelle Pryor (11-for-26, 122 yards, 1 INT) made it three straight games without a touchdown pass.
Pryor did have a short touchdown run however, which followed a would-be score from running back Rashad Jennings that was ruled down at the goal line.
Jennings, who started for the injured Darren McFadden, was effective with 88 rushing yards on 20 carries and another 19 yards on two receptions.
Following the game, Pryor said his play was affected by the knee injury he suffered last Sunday against the Eagles and struggled through all week.
Backup quarterback Matt McGloin never entered the game, and has never started in the NFL. Pryor called the game “very winnable,” adding:
“I’m not discouraged, today my leg was very sore and I was out there just trying to do my best. … I just knew that when I was being pressured, I wasn’t able to push the pocket, move well and escape.”
Pryor ran the ball only twice, for 19 yards, though with Jennings’ performance, he didn’t need to.
Slashing and carrying defenders on his back, Jennings was the only really productive member of the Raiders offense. Wide receiver Denarius Moore was only able to reel in three passes after being targeted nine times and was the receiving leader with a meager 45 yards.
It wasn’t nearly enough and the Raiders fall to 3-6, just two weeks after Pryor told the media that getting four wins would be easy. Head coach Dennis Allen said:
“We have to be able to execute in the passing game. … A play here, a play there, is the difference between winning and losing. … We gotta be able to throw the football to have success.”
He stopped short of placing blame on anyone and quickly deviated to praising the run game, but did credit costly penalties for the loss. There were eight of them, relinquishing 65 yards to the Giants.
Though Oakland didn’t have much success, there were some big-time highlights.
The opening drive began with a Sebastian Janikowski kickoff that was forced from the hands of a Giants return man by Taiwan Jones and caught in mid-air by Andre Holmes. Two plays later, Pryor leaped over the pile for six points, the only offensive touchdown of the game for Oakland.
The Raiders didn’t hold the lead for long.
Just five minutes after the one-yard touchdown run, the Giants’ Cooper Taylor ran in a blocked punt, knotting the score at seven, a gut punch to the Raiders’ quick start.
The Raiders took the lead two more times and perhaps the most electrifying play was the latter.
Cornerback Mike Jenkins jumped a short inside route by Victor Cruz, intercepting the Manning pass and taking it to the house. Not only did the packed Metlife Stadium crowd turn from a roar to a distraught silence, the defense that had just allowed 49 points a week before, was re-energized.
Jenkins’ interception was just one of many defensive play for Oakland, which has been a strong suit for most of the season. Sio Moore, Usama Young and Vance Walker all had one sack. Allen said of the defense:
“It was good to capitalize and go up seven nothing. … Obviously the blocked punt for a touchdown, that takes away all the momentum.”
Oakland (3-6) visits the Houston Texans (2-7) before returning home to face the Tennessee Titans. The Raiders then fly to Dallas for a Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Cowboys.