Injuries along the Oakland Raiders offensive line finally caught up to the team in their 24-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor was able to use his athleticism to hide the deficiencies up front in earlier games, but it all fell apart in Sunday's loss.
It is not a surprise the offense line had so many struggles. The Raiders two best options were out of the game. Center Stefen Wisniewski is dealing with a knee injury that has cost him the last two games. Their starting left tackle Jared Veldheer tore his triceps in the preseason and hasn't seen a snap all season. He will still need some time after the bye week before he can return. To go along with Veldheer and Wisniewski out, right tackle Tony Pashos left Sunday's game after re-injuring his groin. Andre Gurode, who was starting in place of Wisniewski, also left the game with a knee injury. Rookie second round pick Menelik Watson has yet to suit up this season with a calf.
“I’ve been in this a long time and you never know what is going to happen,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “I’ve been in situations where you lose your corners; I’ve been in situations where you lose your offensive line. Really, what we have to do is evaluate where the injuries are and make adjustments. But we have a team of 53 guys, that’s what the NFL allows us to have, and we have to go out and do a job with those players, and injuries are a part of the deal.”
Because of the rash of injuries and ineffective depth, the Raiders allowed the Chiefs to sack Pryor 10 times. Every play, the Chiefs were able to get pressure especially in the second half. As a young quarterback, Pryor did not handle the constant beating and breakdowns well. He started to really press and make bad decisions and bad throws. The crowd noise only increased with every sack and Pryor hit, leading to more communication issues and penalties along the patch work offensive line and Pryor. In the end, Pryor threw three interceptions in a game he can grow leaps from.
“Its experience as a team, experience as offense,” Pryor said. “Defense played phenomenal. A lot of this falls on me. The loss is on me, and I’ll take it. I’ll make sure we get better. Me being the leader of the offense, I have to make sure that happens and it will.”
Attention will turn to the bye week and getting some healthy bodies on the offensive line. Despite the Chiefs having a great defense and terrific pass rushers, it was clear some of the Raiders back-up offensive lineman don't belong playing in the NFL. Oakland will take this time and try desperately to find some health and answers along the line.
“The bye week is coming at a good time to get some guys healthy, get some guys rested,” Allen said. “Hopefully the injuries that did occur on the offensive line today are not serious and we’ll be able to get Wiz [Stefen Wisniewski] and Menelik Watson back out there, if not the bye week, then hopefully the Pittsburgh game. The big thing for us is to get rested up and healthy.”
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