MAKING THE GRADE
Grading the Raiders' 37-21 loss to the Denver Broncos on Monday night:
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor was 19 of 28 for 281 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown pass to Denarius Moore, and had a passer rating of 112.4. Much of his work came in the pocket, where he is an improving passer. Matt Flynn came in after Pryor had a late concussion and promptly threw a 19-yard strike to Marcel Reece to the 1-yard line. Darren McFadden threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Reece. Moore had six receptions for 124 yards.
Erase Pryor's 36 yards on four carries, including a 23-yard scramble, and the Raiders had 13 carries for 13 yards. McFadden had 12 carries and gained nine yards. The Raiders had two rushing first downs in a game where they had to stuff the Broncos to keep Peyton Manning off the field.
Manning was 32 of 37 for 374 yards and three first-half touchdowns. He had time to throw, and receivers broke free consistently. He also threw into tightly contested coverage and completed those passes as well. Cornerback Mike Jenkins got a finger on one pass and it ended up a 61-yard completion to Eric Decker (8 catches 133 yards).
With the Raiders tiring in the late going, Denver had little trouble controlling the action and gashing the Raiders with regularity. The Broncos had 164 yards on 35 carries with a long of 19 yards and the Raiders seldom got past the Denver line to do damage in the backfield. Ronnie Hillman had 66 yards on nine carries and Monte Ball 61 yards on 11 attempts.
Marquette King punted six times for a 52.5 average with a 43.5 net. Jacoby Ford attempted to run out the opening kickoff and only got as far as the 14-yard line. Trindon Holliday broke a 20-yard punt to aid Denver in its first scoring drive. The Raiders attempted no field goals and Denver had just one kickoff return for 8 yards.
Anyone else find it strange that Raiders coach Dennis Allen thought a Hail Mary into the end zone was a better chance play than a 68-yard field goal attempt by Sebastian Janikowski in the thin Denver air? Hoping for the pass interference, possibly. Really hard to imagine how coaching impacted this game. Oakland's players were simply beaten on both sides of the ball by better players on this night, both at the point of attack and at the skill positions.
-- JERRY McDONALD