Behind an injury plagued offensive line, Pryor was sacked 10 times and threw three interceptions as Oakland dropped to 2-4, looking the part of a potential playoff contender in another couple years.
After the game, Pryor made it clear that Oakland hasn't given up on chasing Kansas City and Denver for divisional superiority.
Oakland has a long ways to go as both the Chiefs and the Broncos stand as the NFL's two remaining undefeated teams at 6-0. Denver appears invincible, except when playing Jacksonville, while Kansas City is playing sound, fundamental football. Even on off days, both teams are still able to win despite making several mental mistakes, something Oakland has yet to show.
"We have to come together and start creating," Pryor said. "We'll be back; 2-4; we'll get to the playoffs."
All of Oakland hopes for a surprise playoff berth depends on the arm and legs of Pryor. In the one game Pryor didn't start, Oakland lost 24-14 to a very vulnerable Washington when former backup and current free agent Matt Flynn couldn't move the ball.
Now, in addition to leading the offense, Pryor is stepping up and becoming the mental leader Oakland desperately needs. His comments show that he's trying to become the one who inspires his teammates and never gives up, a sign of his growing maturity.
"This loss is on me," Pryor said. "I'll take it. I'll make sure we get better. As the leader of the offense, I have to make sure it happens. It will."
Just as the former Ohio State star believes in his current team, the Raiders are starting to believe in him.
“This is not a one-man thing," left tackle Khalif Barnes said. "Everybody played a part in this. We all have things he could’ve done better. We have to learn how to play together. He’s done well for us. He needs to keep his head up and get back to work.”
Oakland has plenty of holes on both sides of the ball. The playoffs may be out of reach this year since Kansas City and Denver will likely take one playoff slot and a team from the AFC North or AFC East will take the final opening.
Hopefully, Pryor is able to bounce back from his poor performance and use the upcoming bye to prepare for Pittsburgh in two weeks. On the bright side, Oakland is finally watchable with a young passer to start building around, especially one whose last name isn't Russell.