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Oakland Raiders: Five Things We Learned from NFL Week 1 Against Indianapolis Colts

Despite Loss, Plenty of Things to Be Excited About for Raiders

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | The Oakland Raiders started the season 0-1 once again, only this time the loss didn't feel as bad.

With the exception of a few die-hard Raider fans, nobody thought they had any chance at beating the Indianapolis Colts.

On the scoreboard, Oakland lost 21-17, and at the end of the day, a loss is a loss no matter how you look at it. But the Raiders had several victories within their Week 1 loss.

At the same time, there are still plenty of things they need to work on. Let's take a look at five things we learned about the Raiders after Week 1:

The offense revolves around Terrelle Pryor

Without a doubt, Terrelle Pryor stole the show for the Raiders. His passing skills were questionable before the season started, even after he made great strides in the offseason.

Pryor finished 19-for-29 for 217 yards and threw one touchdown and two costly interceptions. He also finished with 112 rushing yards and, as of Monday afternoon, was the NFL's leading rusher.

Pryor constantly had the Colts defense on its toes, and made plays happen when all hope was lost. He made plays that Matt Flynn would not have been able to make, and with Darren McFadden struggling to gain yards on the ground, Pryor was there to help right the ship.

He was critical of his performance after the game, especially when he talked about the two interceptions he threw. But Pryor was the reason the Raiders were relevant on offense, and he looks like the new man in Oakland.

Darren McFadden needs to get going

Although it was only Week 1, Darren McFadden did not have an impact on the Raiders' ground game.

He finished with only 48 yards on 17 carries, good enough for an average of 2.8 yards per carry.

With teams planning for Terrelle Pryor, McFadden is sure to get more touches and become more of a threat. He saw very little action in the preseason, but McFadden will get back into a rhythm once he's able to gain more chemistry with his continuously changing offensive linemen.

The defense can play, but still needs work

In the beginning, it looked as if the Raiders defense was going to get absolutely shredded when Andrew Luck led the Colts an early 14-0 lead. He started the game 8-for-8 for 113 yards and two touchdowns, and it looked as if Indianapolis was going to run away with the game.

Then, Oakland's defense got going.

The Raiders shut out Indianapolis in the third quarter and held the Colts to just 274 yards all game. Not to mention they sacked Andrew Luck four times and slowed down the Colts once-unstoppable offense.

However, the Raiders let Vick Ballard rush for nearly five yards per carry, something that needs to improve. You can't let a mediocre running back run like that on you and expect to be very good.

Oakland's defense looked absolutely dismal in the preseason, but did a pretty good job making Andrew Luck look somewhat human by holding him to less than 200 yards.

Rod Streater looks like he could be the No. 1 wide receiver

Rod Streater and Terrelle Pryor developed some pretty good chemistry against the Colts.

Streater caught five passes for 70 yards and was Pryor's favorite receiver in the game after he targeted him a team-high eight times. Nobody outside of Oakland knew who Rod Streater was last year, but it looks like they'll get to know him soon.

Head coach Dennis Allen said he was content not having a true No. 1 wide receiver before the season started, but Streater looks like the one who will emerge as the main guy.

Things are looking up for the silver and black

It's difficult to see how a team will fare after Week 1, but the Raiders have something to be excited about entering their Week 2 home-opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Oakland went toe-to-toe with a team that went 11-5 a year ago. The Raiders held the lead in the fourth quarter after trailing 14-0 to start the game, Terrelle Pryor looks exciting, and the defense played with serious heart.

The team stayed competitive, and did so with $50 million in dead money.

Nobody gave Oakland a chance against Indianapolis, yet the Raiders played hard and scored 17 unanswered points against a playoff team. With more chemistry, experience and less dead money, the Raiders will have something great to look forward to.

But for now, it's all about the Jaguars.

Steven Slivka is a freelance writer for the Oakland Raiders. You can follow him on Twitter @StevenSlivka.

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