SAN DIEGO -- The Raiders ended the season the way they started it, losing to the San Diego Chargers and then professing hope for the future.

Rallying from a 24-7 third-quarter deficit and losing 24-21 at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday enabled the Raiders to feel a little better about themselves, although their 4-12 season was the fourth in the last 10 years, the same as under Bill Callahan in 2003, Norv Turner in 2005 and Lane Kiffin in 2007.

"It says a lot about some of the guys in this locker room," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "There's no quit in these guys. They continued to compete, and we gave ourselves an opportunity and a chance in the game. We just didn't get it done."

Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor looks to pass against the San Diego Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 30,
Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor looks to pass against the San Diego Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor did enough to whet the Raiders' appetite as a keeper for next season by throwing touchdown passes of 9 yards to Darrius Heyward-Bey and 5 yards to Denarius Moore to go along with a 3-yard touchdown run.

The last score came with 1:52 to play after Coye Francies blocked a Mike Scifres punt, with Kaelin Burnett recovering at the San Diego 11-yard line.

Mike Spurlock, who opened the game with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, then ended it by recovering Sebastian Janikowski's onsides kick. With the Raiders out of timeouts, the Chargers kneeled on the ball until time expired to finish the season 7-9.

"When I saw the blocked punt, I thought, 'We're going to win the game,' " Pryor said. "It didn't go that way, but I commend everyone for not stopping."


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Pryor was 13 of 28 for 150 yards with two touchdown passes and an interception by Quentin Jammer in the end zone on the first play of the third quarter when the Raiders had driven to the San Diego 28.

The second-year player from Ohio State had some issues with accuracy, although Raiders receivers dropped at least three relatively easy passes and couldn't come up with a few that would have been difficult plays.

Pryor, in addition to his 3-yard TD run, effectively managed the game in terms of getting his team in and out of the huddle.

The Raiders played well defensively for the third straight game, giving up just 210 yards of total offense and stuffing the Chargers running game (31 carries, 70 yards). The lone blemish was surrendering an 81-yard, 14-play drive capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Antonio Gates that took 9:23 off the clock in the second quarter.

In the end, Spurlock's game-opening kickoff return and TD passes by Rivers to Gates and an 34-yard strike to Danorio Alexander and a 30-yard field goal by Nick Novak proved to be enough in what is reportedly Turner's last game as San Diego's coach.

"I don't think my opinion matters," Turner said. "We are going to meet tomorrow with the team, and I'm sure they'll start looking for a new coach."

Allen, one year into a four-year contract, would seem to be safe in that regard.

"I don't want to comment on any type of speculation," Allen said. "I'm ready to try and get this team going better into the future."

With that in mind, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and Allen will begin the process of identifying which assistant coaches and players fit into the future following a season they hope paid dividends in terms of a foundation that didn't show up in the won-loss record.

"We have to continue to do the same things that we're doing and the same things that we believe in," Allen said. "We have to try and get the right people. We're looking for guys that love football, that are willing to work and willing to put the team first. We're going to get as many of those guys as we can."

Center Stefen Wisniewski, asked if a foundation for success had been laid, was having a hard time getting past the bottom line.

"I know it would be hard to look back on the season and say it was a success," Wisniewski said. "I would think to lay a solid foundation would be to win more games than that, play a little bit better than we did."

Left tackle Jared Veldheer said, "We progressed in some areas. There's a lot we have to get better at. But we never came apart, no one talked behind people's backs, we didn't come unglued. I realize it's hard for people to see that."

For more on the Raiders, visit the Inside the Oakland Raiders blog at ibabuzz.com/oaklandraiders. Follow Jerry McDonald on twitter at Twitter.com/Jerrymcd.