The Oakland Raiders made a handful of good plays in Monday night’s loss to the Denver Broncos. Most of the time, however, the defense was trying unsuccessfully to chase down Peyton Manning while the running game in the offense was stuck in neutral most of the game.
The 37-21 loss drops the Raiders to 1-2 and leaves them two games out of first place in the AFC West.
Here’s a look at the full roster report card grades from the game in Denver.
It wasn’t the best night for Terrelle Pryor, but the young quarterback is continuing to show signs of progress.
He shook off a slow start and looked more comfortable staying in the pocket than he has at any point in his NFL career. Pryor’s 281 passing yards are a career high, and he also completed nearly 68 percent of his throws.
Per ESPN's Paul Gutierrez, Pryor suffered a concussion late in the game, however, and might be held out of next week’s game against Washington. Backup Matt Flynn completed one pass to set up a touchdown.
All you need to know about Darren McFadden’s day is wrapped up in this one small statistical note: He passed for more yards (16) than he ran for (nine).
Yes, he did make a nice throw on the touchdown pass to fullback Marcel Reece off a halfback option, but that was it as far as highlights go. He never did get anything going on the ground, and neither did backup Rashad Jennings.
Defenses will continue to stack the box and hone in on taking McFadden away until the Raiders prove they can win by throwing the ball.
Denarius Moore’s best game in more than two years was a much-welcomed sight for the Raiders after the team’s No. 1 receiver had been MIA for most of two weeks.
Most of Moore’s yards came on a 73-yard touchdown pass, but he showed some good elusiveness on two other passes as well. That was big because Rod Streater wasn’t as effective as he had been, and Jacoby Ford caught just one pass.
The day started off on a sour note when projected starter David Ausberry was placed on injured reserve, ending his chance at playing for the Raiders this season.
It didn’t get notably better during the game, either, as the tight ends continue to get less and less attention in this offense. Rookie Mychal Rivera, however, is starting to become more comfortable with quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Rivera caught two passes but was targeted three times. No other tight end caught a single throw.
It’s pretty simple, really. The running game never got going at all. Far too often Darren McFadden was taking his first hit on the Raiders’ own side of the line of scrimmage.
The pass protection was only marginally better. Andre Gurode started at left guard in place of injured Lucas Nix and played OK. Center Stefen Wisniewski high-snapped a ball that nearly went into the end zone. Little cracks that eventually became gaping holes.
There weren’t a lot of breakdowns, so to speak. It was often just a case of the Broncos being one or two steps ahead. Oakland put absolutely zero pressure on Peyton Manning for most of the game and was just as ineffective against the run.
Defensive end Lamarr Houston’s sack and forced fumble qualifies as the best play of the night for the Raiders front four. There just wasn’t enough of that on a consistent basis.
Pin the problems that happened against Denver’s running game on the defensive line, but the linebacking trio of Nick Roach, Kevin Burnett and Kaluka Maiava is equally liable.
Far too often the Broncos running backs would have huge lanes to run through. When the Raiders did get there on time to make a play, like Roach, they often missed a tackle.
Being without Tyvon Branch was a big blow to the defense, and Denver quarterback Peyton Manning was sure to see where his replacement, Brandian Ross, was on every play.
Ross wasn’t the only one on Manning’s radar, either. Manning ran a play-fake that caught veteran Charles Woodson off guard. Woodson bit on the play-fake and then watched Manning calmly drop back and throw a touchdown.
First-round pick DJ Hayden found out first-hand what it means to be a rookie cornerback in the NFL when it came to defending against Peyton Manning.
Hayden, a frequent target in the first two games, was once again in the crosshairs. He gave up multiple completions to the Broncos and was hit with a long pass interference penalty.
Tracy Porter didn’t do too much in the slot, and Mike Jenkins could fill up a DVD disc with all of the plays he’s failed to make so far this season.
Sebastian Janikowski thought he might get a shot at kicking a 68-yard field goal before halftime, but Dennis Allen ruled it out. That was about the extent of Janikowski’s night. He did kick three extra points, so it wasn’t a total wash.
Punter Marquette King was solid most of the game, as were the coverage units. The punt return team hasn’t done much at all this season, but kickoff returner Jacoby Ford looks like he’s close to breaking one for the distance.