The Raiders faced the Chicago Bears in their third preseason game of the season and lost 34-26. There were many disappointing moments, but there were also a few nice performances.
Matt Flynn started the game for the silver and black, but the quarterback really struggled. The offensive line had yet another weak performance, struggling to protect the quarterback and give him time to throw the ball or make plays happen. Before being pulled late in the second quarter, Flynn went 3-6 for only 19 yards while throwing two interceptions. Flynn made a few nice passes and picked up some ground on his own, but overall did not play well.
As Flynn had a poor performance, Pryor shined. He entered the game and created a spark on the field. With his athleticism and running threat he was able to dodge the pressure and make plays happen both by rushing and throwing. Pryor finished the game going 7-9 passing for 93 yards including a nice touchdown pass to rookie tight end Nick Kasa. Rushing wise, he had four carries for 37 yards including a 25 yard touchdown run. Pryor was able to lead the Raiders to 20 points in five drives compared to Flynn’s four drives that resulted in zero points. There’s no doubt that Pryor was able to create some excitement at the Coliseum Friday night as he helped get the Raiders back in the game, but even his performance wasn’t enough to overcome the Raiders poor first half.
The defense had trouble stopping the Bears offense, especially their run game. Matt Forte and ex-Raider Michael Bush combined for 95 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries in the first half. Even with the return of Vance Walker and Lamarr Houston, they were able to expose the Raiders poor rush defense.
Overall the defense gave up 27 points in the first half as the Raiders trailed the Bears 27-3 at halftime.
DJ Hayden made his Oakland debut and did rather well. The Bears seemed to test Hayden early, and he did have a missed tackle that led to a 22-yard Chicago gain, but Hayden brushed it off and made up for it later. He broke up a pass intended for Brandon Marshall that was nearly intercepted, but went through the hands of Jason Hunter. Hayden had a nice debut, especially considering the fact that it was his first game since his life-threatening surgery.
The Raiders didn’t have a big rushing game this week as Darren McFadden sat out due to a shoulder injury he suffered last week against the Saints. He practiced during the week, but head coach Dennis Allen wanted to take it easy with McFadden to avoid further injury, so he played it safe and sat him this week.
After missing the whole 2012 season, Jacoby Ford returned and proved just why he was missed last season. He had a 62 yard kickoff return to put the Raiders in great field position. He has the ability to be an explosive player and can be a big play maker. The Raiders just need him to stay healthy. Josh Cribbs on the other hand had another okay game and did nothing to secure a roster spot.
The punting competition has become quite intriguing as well. Both Marquette King and Chris Kluwe have had a nice camp and preseason, but King has the stronger leg and has proven that through the first three games. One concern is who holds the ball for Sebastian Janikowski for field goal attempts. Janikowski missed a 49 yarder that King was holding. They have both been practicing holding in camp, but in the first two games Kluwe has been the one to hold for Janikowski.
One of the biggest injury concerns for the Raiders is the concussion wide receiver Rod Streater suffered after making a nice play going up to grab a high throw by Pryor. Streater will have to pass the post concussion tests before returning to practice. Usama Young and Brice Butler also suffered mild hamstring strains, and Joselio Hanson had a groin strain.
The Raiders have not played well the last two weeks and have a lot of tough decisions to make before the regular season kicks off. This was just another disappointing game with a few bright spots.