Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor suffered a concussion late in Monday night’s 37-21 loss to the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. The 24-year old was formally diagnosed by team doctors after the game, casting doubt over his future playing status. Pryor took a vicious hit from middle linebacker Wesley Woodward on a designed run inside the tackles near the end zone. He finished the drive, which ended with a turnover on downs at the Denver 1-yard line, but did not return.
Backup quarterback Matt Flynn finished the game, which was already out of hand. Pryor must pass a series of concussion-related tests mandated by the NFL before he’s allowed to play or practice. With a short week heading into Sunday’s home game versus Washington, his playing status is in serious jeopardy. “We’ll see,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “We will go in tomorrow and have an evaluation. We’ll get a better feel for where we’re at and go from there.”
Pryor did not speak to reporters after the game. Per NFL policy, concussed players are barred from talking to the press. His teammates know that losing Pryor for any length of time would hurt because he gives the Raiders a legitimate chance to win. “It’ll be a big blow,” Raiders free safety Charles Woodson said. “It’s a guy who is getting his chance, and each week he’s getting more comfortable. Terrelle did some good things, so it’ll be a tough blow for him and his development if he’s unable to shake it off and bounce back. We’ll see how that pans out.”
Cornerback Tracy Porter was also concussed on the final play of the third quarter. As he fought to bring Demaryius Thomas to ground after a 4-yard completion, Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston's knee made contact with the back of Porter's helmet. The secondary would be far weaker if he can’t go. Porter’s absence forced No. 1 corner Mike Jenkins into the slot, leaving young players D.J. Hayden and Phillip Adams on the outside.
Losing Pryor would be the real momentum killer. He played well against the Broncos, especially as the game wore on. He finished with a career-high 281 passing yards and had a touchdown and no interceptions. The injury negates much of the progress made against Denver, especially as a pocket passer.
Pryor was concussed on a legal hit. While there was moderate helmet-to-helmet contact, Pryor didn’t get speared and he certainly wasn’t defenseless. A quarterback is treated like any other ball carrier between the tackles, where he was running at the point of impact. “I couldn’t tell, and even if it was within the rules, it’s inside the tackle box,” Allen said. “But it was a pretty good hit.”
Matt Flynn stepped in and led the Raiders to a touchdown after Mike Jenkins recovered a fumble. It was Flynn’s first action after being demoted to a backup role after the preseason. “I’m always going to be ready and I’m always going to prepare,” Flynn said. “That’s part of the job. You always have to be ready to go in. Obviously the game didn’t go as we wanted. We just need to play better from start to finish.”
- Scott Bair, CSN Bay Area