Taking the majority of the blame for that loss is Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer. The San Jose Mercury-News reports that Palmer said this to the media following the game: "We had a great game plan, and I let the team down, I let the fans down. Making the mistake I made was crucial. It's my fault."
Palmer did go 23-of-33 for 353 yards, a touchdown and an interception. His interception against the Falcons was only his third of the season.
Yet, despite this, the question that the Raiders are likely asking themselves is whether Terrelle Pryor could turn it around for Oakland this season. The Raiders are entrenched in a tie for third place in the AFC West behind the first-place San Diego Chargers and the second-place Denver Broncos. They already have a loss to San Diego in Week 1.
The answer to the Terrelle Pryor question is a simple one: the only way Pryor could turn the tide would be to drag Oakland down to the worst record in the NFL, so that he may be replaced by West Virginia standout Geno Smith or USC quarterback Matt Barkley.
Should Oakland bench Carson Palmer for Terrelle Pryor?
But, as for 2012, Pryor is far too big of a gamble to play. Pryor still has yet to start an NFL game and has only made one appearance in an NFL game. Remember, he was a late edition to the Raiders roster last season as he arrived in the supplemental draft, which is partially why the Raiders didn't go to him last season after they lost Jason Campbell to injury.
Pryor could provide the Raiders with a great running offense when paired with Darren McFadden in the backfield. But would it be similar to what the Broncos got when they went to Tim Tebow last season? In schemes, yes, but not so much in result. While Pryor does have a much better arm than Tim Tebow, Oakland’s running game is struggling as it is, only running for an average of 60.8 yards per game.
Offense hasn't been Oakland's problem this season, especially not when it comes to passing the ball. Oakland's main issue has been defense, as they're allowing teams to gain on average 411.5 yards per game while scoring 31.3 yards per game.
While Oakland's running game is struggling, you can't say the same for their passing game. Wouldn't you want your quarterback to have a 61.1 completion percentage while throwing for 1,434 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions through the first five games? Most teams would, and with a credible defense Oakland would contend.
Calling for Pryor is a huge mistake. Oakland's defense has to step up and perform if the Raiders are to have a chance to win, regardless of who the quarterback is. While Carson Palmer shows great leadership in taking the blame for their loss to the Falcons, the defense is to blame for what has been a terrible season thus far in Oakland.