Pryor: 'Oakland loves me, I love Oakland'

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Pryor: 'Oakland loves me, I love Oakland'

OAKLAND -- Did you see it, or did you blink?

Terrelle Pryor's much-anticipated 2012 season debut came and went in the course of four snaps of the ball and then, like Keyser Söze, he was gone. Not that Pryor was surprised…or outwardly upset.

"We had set just one series," Pryor said, "so that was a set. I would have the first series of the second quarter. So it’s a steppingstone, a step. I enjoyed the four plays or whatever it was. It’s a steppingstone, and I was excited to get in there at least."

Pryor took the field with 14:48 to play in the second quarter and, karma being what it is, was the victim of a false start, on right guard Mike Brisiel. Remember, in his lone "play" last season, Pryor himself was called for a false start.

Then, on 1st and 15 from his own 10-yard line, the third-string quarterback handed off to Darren McFadden, who ran for six yards, before giving the ball again to McFadden, for a two-yard gain.

On 3rd and 7, Pryor missed Darrius Heyward-Bey across the middle.

"I didn’t think I rushed it," Pryor said of his pass. "It was a progression. I got to the third progression, they covered up the tight end on the backside, to the left -- a slant to the boundary. The slant was covered. They doubled him, actually. So I saw a guy, I went to go pass it to DHB and I saw (Javier Arenas) jump it. He was about to jump-cut it, so I just threw it right underneath.

"That would suck if I went right in and threw a pick. But I saw the guy. I was running out of time and guys were getting by me so I just threw it in. Just moving forward, no pick, no interception, no bad play really. So, get better this week in practice."

To his growing legion of fans, though, it was the greatest incompletion in the history of incompletions…or somesuch.

"Oakland loves me," Pryor said. "I love Oakland. I was excited to get out there. There’s not much I can say. I only had four plays, so not much I could really pick apart about myself. The defense that was there on that third-down pass, wasn’t a great type of play for that defense. We weren’t expecting it.

"But you know, next play. That means practice, get ready in practice next week, and just keep pushing as I always do."

Pryor came off the field, Shane Lechler punted and the next time the Raiders offense took the field, Carson Palmer was back under center to close out the Raiders' 15-0 defeat of Kansas City.

"The plan was to get him in the first series of the second quarter and then kind of let the game play out from there," said coach Dennis Allen. "We went three and out in that series and I thought we were doing some nice things with Carson and nice things in the run game and we just stuck with the plan.

"It's been a while since he's played, so we'll look at that going forward. How much he plays? I don't have an answer to that, exactly, but we'll see on a game-by-game basis."

Of course, fans reacted positively when Pryor entered the game and were quizzical when Palmer replaced him.

On the day, Palmer moved into second place on the Raiders' single-season lists for both passing attempts (562) and passing yards (3,987).

"I thought he did good," Palmer said of Pryor. "He didn't get much of a shot, or an opportunity. I know he's been waiting a long time."

And yet, Pryor is not bitter. Again, at least, not outwardly. Bored? Perhaps. But not bitter.

"These are the cards I'm dealt and I love learning from the guy right here," Pryor said as he nodded at Palmer. "I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. When the time’s right, I’ll be ready. And I just love learning from (Palmer)."

Someone mentioned that many think the time is now for Pryor to play.

"Definitely, but this guy right here, Carson, he hasn’t did anything wrong," Pryor said. "I think he did everything he can to try to win this year. Obviously, we want to score points, but he hasn’t played bad at all. If you really go back and look at film, it’s either a guy ran short on a route or a missed block assignment, anything like that. It’s not on Carson. He plays great.

"You can’t just take a guy out that plays great like that. I just love learning from him, like I said, and I look forward to keep on learning from him."

Patriots pummel Pittsburgh, return to Super Bowl to face Falcons

Patriots pummel Pittsburgh, return to Super Bowl to face Falcons

BOX SCORE

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Tom Brady redemption tour is headed to the Super Bowl.

After beginning the 2016 season suspended for four games for his role in the "Deflategate" scandal, the New England quarterback relentlessly carried the Patriots to an unprecedented ninth appearance in the title game, and his seventh. Brady threw for a franchise playoff-best 384 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-17 rout of the helpless Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in New England's seventh consecutive AFC championship game.

The Patriots are early 3-point favorites heading to face Atlanta in two weeks in Houston, seeking their fifth NFL title with Brady at quarterback and Bill Belichick as coach. Belichick's seventh appearance in a Super Bowl will be a record for a head coach.

Brady was banned by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell when New England (16-2) went 3-1 to open the schedule.

Since his return in Week 5, the only defeat came at home to Seattle, and Brady, 39, had one of the best seasons of a Hall of Fame-caliber career. He punctuated that in dreary weather similar to the 2014 conference title game that precipitated the deflated footballs investigation by flattening Pittsburgh's secondary.

Chris Hogan was his main weapon. The previously unheralded receiver found open spaces everywhere on the field against a leaky secondary. Hogan caught nine balls for 180 yards and two scores.

Top wideout Julian Edelman added eight receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown as Brady tied Joe Montana's playoff record with nine three-TD passing performances. Brady also had his 11th 300-yard postseason game, extending his NFL record, completing 32 of 42 throws.

Pittsburgh (13-6) lost star running back Le'Veon Bell late in the first quarter to a groin injury. It didn't seem to matter much in a record 16th conference title match for the Steelers, who made mistakes in every facet of the game. The franchise that has won the most Super Bowls, six, and the most postseason games, 36, never seemed likely to challenge in the misty rain.

Hogan's second touchdown came on a flea-flicker and he easily beat safety Mike Mitchell to the corner of the end zone. At that point, Hogan had seven catches for 117 yards and the first multi-touchdown game of his four-year career.

His first score made it 10-0 and came after Brady could have taken a nap before throwing, a common occurrence against a nonexistent pass rush. Hogan was all alone in the back of the end zone for the 16-yard score.

Pittsburgh had drawn to 10-6 on DeAngelo Williams' 5-yard run to cap an 84-yard drive. Veteran Williams is a nice security blanket in the backfield, though he's no Bell these days.

Still, he contributed on a 70-yard drive toward the end of the second quarter that appeared to be capped by Jesse James' TD reception. But video review showed James down at the 1, and the Steelers couldn't get into the end zone, Chris Boswell connecting for a 23-yard field goal.

The Steelers never threatened to get back into it.LeGarrette Blount punctuated the romp with a bruising 18-yard run on which he carried nearly the entire Pittsburgh defense with him. He then scored from the 1.

By the end, the crowd was chanting "Where is Roger?" and celebrating yet another Super Bowl trip for the Patriots.

BIG LEG:

Stephen Gostkowski's 31-yard field goal to open the scoring set a franchise record with 27, surpassing Adam Vinatieri's 26. Gostkowski is fourth all-time. He made a 47-yarder in the third quarter, a 26-yarder in the fourth, but he missed an extra point.

Boswell, who set an NFL mark with six field goals in the Steelers' 18-16 win at Kansas City last week, missed an extra point wide left and made a 23-yard kick.

INJURIES:

Steelers: Bell's early departure left him with 20 yards on six carries and no receptions.

Patriots: DB Nate Ebner left with a head injury.

UP NEXT:

After winning the AFC East with the conference's top record, New England defeated the Texans 34-16 and the Steelers to reach the Super Bowl. They will take on Atlanta, which beat Green Bay 44-21 for the NFC crown. Super Bowl 51 will be in Houston on Feb. 5; New England won the 2002 and 2005 Super Bowls after beating Pittsburgh for the AFC championship.

Reports: Former Raiders QB expected to join Cal's coaching staff

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AP

Reports: Former Raiders QB expected to join Cal's coaching staff

It looks as though Marques Tuiasosopo is heading back to the Pac-12, again. The former Rose Bowl MVP and Washington quarterback has reportedly been added to the coaching staff at Cal under new head coach Justin Wilcox.

The news was first reported by Bruin Sports Online and later followed up by Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports, via Twitter.

Tuiasosopo is no stranger to coaching in the Pac-12. After spending 12 seasons in the NFL, Tuiasosopo returned to his alma mater to take on a role as assistant strength coach for the Washington Huskies in 2009.

After two years in that role, he joined the UCLA coaching staff as a graduate assistant in 2011 and took on a role as tight ends coach in 2012 under Jim Mora. The following year, in 2013, Tuiasosopo returned to Washington to be the quarterback coach to work for Steve Sarkisian. 

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