The Oakland Raiders beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 19-9 to move to 1-1 in Week 2. Teams are judged by wins and losses in the NFL, so the Raiders will take a victory any way they can get it, but in many ways, their Week 2 performance against the punchless Jaguars was worse than their Week 1 loss on the road in Indianapolis.
A big difference between the two performances was the play of quarterback Terrelle Pryor. If you were to just look at the raw stats, you might wonder what happened to Pryor considering the strength of the opponent in Week 2.
Instead of putting up huge numbers on the ground and a solid game through the air like he did in Week 1, Pryor's numbers were very pedestrian against the Jaguars. He was able to avoid turnovers, but only at the expense of offensive output and moving the chains.
If the Raiders want to have any chance of competing with the Denver Broncos next week on Monday Night Football, they are going to need better play from Pryor and the rest of the offense. Specifically, the Raiders will need Pryor to be more effective in the passing game while avoiding turnovers.
Some of Pryor's lack of production in Week 2 was his own doing, but just as much had to do with Jacksonville's defense and the lack of help he was getting from his wide receivers. All the issues combined forced Pryor to rely on other players to make plays, limiting his production.
Unlike his performance against the Colts in Week 1, Pryor had many more accuracy issues in Week 2. He was 15-of-24 against the Jaguars, which was good for a completion percentage of 62.5 percent compared to 65.5 percent last week.
Even when Pryor was completing passes, he wasn't as accurate as he was against the Colts. On several occasions, receivers had to go up and get passes or adjust to passes that were behind them.
Pryor got quite a bit of help just to get to 126 yards passing.
That's unspectacular yardage considering he had 24 attempts and 15 completions. Pryor had very good yards-per-attempt and yards-per-completion numbers in Week 1, but his Week 2 performance wasn't up to the same standard.
Pryor's yards per attempts dropped 2.2 yards and 3.0 yards per completion compared to last week. That's between 35 and 40 percent less productive in the passing game, and he didn't exactly make up for it with his legs.
The Raiders offense had trouble making big plays through the air, opting to take the conservative approach rather than attempt to put the Jaguars away early. As a result, the Jaguars stayed close in a game where they had no business hanging around.
Denarius Moore Struggles
In the passing game, the Raiders' big-play threat is wide receiver Denarius Moore, but he was targeted two times with two drops and no receptions against the Jaguars. Moore was also responsible for an illegal formation penalty.
If Pryor isn't going to get much help from Moore in the passing game, he's going to have to rely on his running backs and tight ends to get more involved. In fact, more of Pryor's completions in Week 2 went to running backs and tight ends than wide receivers.
Of Pryor's completions in Week 2, seven of the 15 went to wide receivers. Last week, 12 out of Pryor's 19 completions went to wide receivers. That's a difference of five completions to wide receivers; Moore had five receptions in Week 1.
Rod Streater, Jacoby Ford and Brice Butler were all similarly productive in Week 1 compared to Week 2. Pryor needed Moore's big-play ability in Week 2, but Moore was nearly invisible when he wasn't making mental mistakes.
Maybe the Raiders were taking the conservative approach after jumping out to an early 7-0 lead against a bad team, but the general feeling was that they just played poorly. Pryor wasn't particularly sharp, Moore wasn't productive and the offensive line continued to have issues.
The Jaguars defense didn't let Pryor beat them with his legs like the Colts, limiting him to just 50 yards on nine carries on the ground. That's still a respectable 5.6 yards per carry, but down from his 8.6 yards per carry in Week 1.
Unlike the Colts, the Jaguars placed an emphasis on containing Pryor and forcing Oakland's other players to make plays. In theory, any adjustment the opposing defense made would create other opportunities in the run game or passing game, but that wasn't 100 percent true against the Jaguars.
The Jaguars' adjustments did create plenty of opportunities in the run game. Oakland's running backs combined for 176 yards on 25 carries, good for 7.0 yards per carry; Darren McFadden led the charge 129 yards on 19 attempts.
"That's why D-Mac got 120-something yards," Pryor said, via Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle. "Our other running back busted a big run, and that's why I believe (McFadden) had a great day.
"Guys were over-shifting big-time on me. But hey, we got a win."
While the Raiders averaged 6.4 yards per rushing attempt overall, Pryor wasn't any better throwing the ball, averaging only 5.3 yards per passing attempt. If the Raiders want to win consistently, they will have to be more productive in the passing game. It's not every day you can win with a more productive running game than passing game.
A Concerning Performance
The Raiders played well enough to beat the Jaguars, but there might not be another team in the league they could beat playing the way they did.
The Raiders were just 1-of-5 in the red zone and 4-of-14 on third down, and Sebastian Janikowski missed another field goal. Pryor fumbled twice and Darren McFadden fumbled once, although only McFadden's was lost.
The Raiders can't waste opportunities and give extra chances when they play better opponents. It's not like the Raiders will be able to build a huge lead with the ground game and field goals every week.
Overall, the Raiders proved they can do a lot of things well, but not all at the same time. There is also still concern about Pryor's ability to win a game with his arm if a defense takes away the ground game or the Raiders fall behind.
Pryor must play better going forward for the Raiders to win more games, but he's not going to turn into Peyton Manning overnight. Pryor needs help from his wide receivers because he's still very much a work in progress.
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