Allen: 'I expect to be back'
The Raiders defense had no answer for Peyton Manning as the Broncos rolled to a blowout win in Oakland. (USATSI)
OAKLAND – Raiders head coach Dennis Allen didn’t have to do much to keep his job. He had to show progress of some kind this season to continue guiding this team in transition.
The easiest way was wins, and prevailing thought was that he needed to better that last year’s 4-12 mark to make a case. A win could’ve come against the Titans or Cowboys or Jets or Chiefs or Chargers or Broncos.
Allen couldn’t secure a single one. Sunday’s 34-14 loss to Denver at Oakland Coliseum ended the 2013 season on a six-game losing streak. His Raiders have lost eight of their last nine and looked bad doing it. This awful stretch puts Allen’s job in real jeopardy, especially considering the last three games – all against AFC West teams – were lost by an average of 19.3 points.
Now Allen and his staff must hope owner Mark Davis shows mercy and patience following an 8-24 record in two seasons at the helm.
Allen could’ve made Davis’ decision easy. Now it becomes incredibly complicated.
The Raiders struggled mightily against Denver because defensive struggles were paired with an offense that could do nothing right. That unit had just 255 yards of total offense and seemed disjointed with Terrelle Pryor at the helm. He did throw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, one to Rod Streater and another to Nick Kasa, but it came far too late to compete against Denver.
It became clear on Sunday that the quarterback of the future is not on this current roster, and it’s uncertain whether Allen will usher in a new era free of salary-cap constrictions.
Quarterback Peyton Manning staked his Broncos a 31-0 nothing lead, which in essence secured home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Manning was pulled in the second half in favor of Brock Osweiler.
Denver’s offense wasn’t the same, but Pryor could do nothing to chop into that lead.
Pryor out of sync: Raiders started Pryor for the first time since Nov. 10, and looked out of sync from the outset.
The Raiders said they wanted to evaluate Pryor further, but the 24-year old didn’t put much good on tape. He was 21-for-38 for 207 yards and two touchdowns, a stat line that includes several sloppy, inaccurate passes. The entire offense looked out of sync with Pryor behind center, but it picked up the pace in the fourth quarter, with the game firmly out of reach. Pryor threw both touchdown passes late but they were far better than his early showing.
Prior to the fourth quarter, Pryor showed the same problems that he had before being benched in favor of undrafted rookie Matt McGloin, including inaccuracy, delayed decision making and decreased production as a rushing threat. He had just 49 yards on the ground, although he ended up breaking the team record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season.
Also, his touchdown pass to Streater was his first in 152 passes, a run dating back to an Oct. 13 loss to Kansas City.
Manning breaks another record: Manning broke the NFL record for passing yards in a single season on a touchdown pass near the end of the second quarter.
Manning had 266 yards passing and four touchdowns in the first half and was pulled for Osweiler in the second. It was just one yard over a mark set by Drew Brees in 2011. Manning broke the NFL record for touchdown passes in a season last week, and padded that total against Oakland.
1983 NFL champs honored: The Raiders honored the 1983 team, which beat the Washington Redskins to win Super Bowl XVIII, at halftime. A large contingent of that squad was in attendance to celebrate the 30th anniversary of that historic achievement.
Sitting it out: Raiders cornerback Mike Jenkins missed Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury after being listed as questionable on the team’s injury report. Tracy Porter played through a hip injury despite a similar designation.
The rest of the Raiders inactives were healthy. That list includes receiver Jacoby Ford and offensive tackle Menelik Watson.
Special teams standout Taiwan Jones injured his ankle and was carted off the field. He did not return.
What's next: The season wrapped up with another embarrassing loss, and now Allen’s job status takes center stage. Allen is 8-24 in two seasons at head coach, which has tested patience in the front office.
The Raiders are expected to take some time making a decision, anywhere from a few days to over a week.