Three and out: Raiders can't finish, defense responds well
Terrelle Pryor's bad knee took power off this throws and limited him to a career-low 19 rushing yards. (AP)
Programming note: Watch Monday's Raiders press conference with head coach Dennis Allen on CSN California and streaming live online here at 1 p.m.
What you need to know: Raiders free safety Charles Woodson asked permission to speak to his teammates before Sunday’s game and received it.
The veteran kept it short and sweet. He didn’t ask to win one for the Gipper. Woodson want to remind this young team to stay focused, to execute and understand the game’s importance during a season in the crossroads.
“I just stated the obvious,” Woodson said. “We’re running out of opportunities as a club to do the things we set out to do at the beginning of the season. Every loss takes us farther from our goal.”
Woodson’s speech fired up the team, but it wasn’t effective. The Raiders took a big step backward after a 24-20 loss to the beatable New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.
It’s the same old story. The Raiders can’t finish. They don’t come through in the clutch. They make costly mistakes that ultimately cost them wins. Add this one to a long list of games where the Raiders could’ve won and didn’t.
These re-runs have gotten stale. The Raiders are sick of losing, and long for better results.
“Time is flying by now,” left tackle Khalif Barnes said. “We’re halfway through the season. You have to take advantage of the opportunities we have, because we can’t get them back. They always come back to bite you in the butt. Teams are too good and wins are too hard to come by.” .
The Raiders are 3-6, all but out of contention for a playoff spot. The notion seems comically far-fetched, especially with an offense that takes field goals over touchdowns and a defense that blows late leads.'
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Frustration is starting to mount, slowly bubbling towards the surface. Another disappointing result and the Raiders might erupt.
“Knowing the potential we have on the team, it’s so disappointing when we don’t play well and we don’t win,” cornerback Tracy Porter said. “It’s a very frustrating issue.”
More on Pryor’s ailing knee: Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor downplayed the severity of his knee sprain leading up to Sunday’s game. Turns out the damaged medial collateral ligament was more of a hindrance than expected.
It took power off this throws and limited him to a career-low 19 rushing yards.
“My leg was very sore,” Pryor said. I was out there trying to do my best and it wasn’t doing anything. I wasn’t myself.” The knee got worse as the week went on – he fully participated in each practice – which gave Pryor pause.
I knew when I had pressure, I wasn’t going to be able to move the pocket,” Pryor said. “I knew that going in, especially when I woke up this morning. I knew I was going to have some trouble. It was definitely confirmed in the game.”
Pryor will try and rest it this week while preparing for the Houston Texans.
Play of the Game: Pryor threw a high, sailing ball intended for receiver Denarius Moore that cornerback Terrell Thomas intercepted and returned 65 yards downfield.
The Giants took their first lead three plays later and never looked back, a pivotal moment of a game that was there for the taking.
“He faked me out and made a great play,” Pryor said.
Player of the Game: Giants running back Andre Brown had a triumphant return from injury. He broke his ankle in the preseason, was removed from short-term injured reserve and rushed 30 times for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Brown was the first rusher to crack triple digits against the Raiders this season, which came at an inopportune time. He churned out steady yards that kept the Giants’ offense moving while the passing game struggled.
“We just couldn’t get off the field fast enough,” Raiders middle linebacker Nick Roach said. “They were able to run a bit more than we wanted them to, which extended some drives and put us in bad position.”
The longest yard: The Raiders had a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line in the third quarter and came away with a field. Unacceptable. The Raiders ran and the passed in unsuccessful attempts to cross the plane. Then Khalif Barnes was called for a false start that backed the Raiders up on third down.
That was the beginning of the end. Afterward, Pryor threw an interception and the Giants took a lead they would not relinquish.
“I believe that’s the difference in the game,” Pryor said. “We have to punch that in. We got three points and lose by four. The made a play and stopped us at the goal line. We have to convert there.”
Road woes continue: Raiders coach Dennis Allen has won just one road game in a season-and-a-half. It hasn’t come this year, not after four contests. Sunday’s loss was the 12th against teams from the East, a troubling trend that holds Allen’s Raiders back.
Time or place wasn’t responsible for this loss. The Raiders simply failed to execute in big moments.
Injury update: Allen said the Raiders didn’t sustain any significant injuries in the game, although several Raiders couldn’t compete. Guard/center Andre Gurode was active but didn’t play while rehabbing a quadriceps injury.
Linebacker Kaluka Maiava was inactive after being listed as questionable on the team’s injury report.
Quote of the day: “It’s tough anytime you feel that you not only could’ve won, but that you should’ve won. We have to give teams credit because they’re the ones who are finishing. We’re not. In the NFL, you’re going to get what you deserve.” -- Raiders middle linebacker Nick Roach on why the Raiders continue to struggle.
Looking ahead: The Raiders continue a brutal stretch of four road games in five weeks. They move on to play the Houston Texans, a talented team that has underwhelmed this season.
Houston lost a 27-24 decision to Arizona on Sunday, but received bad news beforehand. Star running back Arian Foster was ruled out for the season after deciding to have surgically repair a bulging disc in his back. Young quarterback Case Keenum has played well over Matt Schaub, although he doesn’t have many wins to show for it.