If you worked on Monday morning, it's likely you weren't up at 2:38 a.m. Eastern time when the clock ran out on the Raiders' win over the Chargers.
You missed a heck of a performance by Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor. But fear not. The way he played, it seems there will be many more opportunities to watch Pryor do his thing.
He was considered incredibly athletic and unpolished as a quarterback when the Raiders took him out of Ohio State in the 2011 supplemental draft. And, for better or worse, he still is both of those things. But his raw skills are spectacular enough to be an effective player while he learns to play the position.
Pryor completed his first 10 passes against the Chargers, finished 18-of-23 for 221 yards and two touchdowns and added 31 rushing yards in the Raiders' 31-21 win.
He's just 24 years old. Not only is Pryor well on his way to erasing the debate of whether the Raiders should pick a quarterback in the top 5 of the 2014 draft, if he keeps playing this way the 2-3 Raiders aren't going to be picking in the top 5 at all.
Pryor isn't the kind of quarterback who can sit in the pocket, go through his reads and pick a secondary apart. But he can buy time, which is a must behind his flawed offensive line, and when he gets outside of the pocket he can either run or use his outstanding arm. That puts a lot of pressure on a defense. He still has a lot of room to learn the nuances of the position. He has a clear chance to earn a lot more time as the starter if he continues to play well the rest of the season.
His most impressive moments weren't the flashiest, they just came at the most crucial time of the game. Philip Rivers started to get on a roll and cut Oakland's lead, which was 17-0 at halftime, to 24-17. The Raiders' offense stalled for a stretch in the second half, but on their next drive Pryor completed three passes, including a huge 20-yarder on third down and 14. On that play he scrambled around to buy time and eventually found a receiver near the sideline. A field goal pushed the lead to 10 points with less than five minutes left, practically putting the game out of reach. For a player making just his fifth career start, Pryor showed a lot of poise.
Pryor was supposed to become a NFL star when he was one of the most hyped high-school recruits in recent history. Maybe we're watching him get there, just a little later than expected.