After losing their first two preseason games, the Oakland Raiders hosted the Detroit Lions. The third preseason game is usually the most important one because the starters play for about 2 1/2 to 3 quarters of football.
The Raiders began the game at their own 18 and the offense went right to work with an impressive drive. Darren McFadden ran for 13 yards and Carson Palmer hit Rod Streater for 17 and again for 13. On 3rd and 6 from the Detroit 35, Palmer hit Darrius Heyward-Bey for 14. A false start penalty set up 3rd and 8 at the Detroit 19. Palmer found McFadden, but the Raiders came up one yard short. In another vexing moment, Coach Dennis Allen decided to kick the field goal on 4th and 1 from the 12. I keep saying preseason is the time to gamble. In an even more vexing moment, Sebastian Janikowski missed the 30 yard chip shot. Seabass has had a couple of very bizarre misses from easy range this preseason. 6 minutes of solid offense moved the team 70 yards, but with zero points to show for it.
The Lions took over at their 20 and Matthew Stafford looked good early on. On 3rd and 4 from the Detroit 36, he hit Tony Scheffler for 9. Another toss to Scheffler for 17 had Detroit at the Oakland 37. The drive would stall, but old reliable Jason Hanson made his 41 yard field goal and the Lions led 3-0.
The teams would exchange punts, and early in the second quarter the Raiders took over at their own 14. Taiwan Jones had a couple good runs of 10 and 12 yards. Palmer then hit David Ausberry for 10 yards. The ghost of Al Davis had to be smiling on the next play. Despite the new dink and dunk West Coast offense that Dennis Allen has instilled, Palmer went deep to speedster Heyward-bey for a 41 yard gain. From the 12, McFadden ran for 4, caught a pass for 4, and on 3rd and 2 from the 4, got 3. A couple of weeks ago the Raiders could not score a touchdown on 1st and goal from the 1. This game was just as challenging.
McFadden got nothing, Palmer failed to sneak across, and McFadden got stopped again. This time on 4th and goal at the 1, Coach Allen decided to go for it. McFadden got the carry, fumbled, and the Lions recovered. However, Coach Allen this time decided to challenge the call. A week earlier he failed to challenge a call, and this time he got it right. McFadden did break the plane of the goal, and the ruling was reversed. 12 plays, 6 1/2 minutes, and 86 yards, with the final yard coming the hard way. The Raiders led 7-3.
Return man Greene took the kickoff and returned it 80 yards to the Oakland 21 in what has not been a good preseason for the Raiders special teams. Shaun Hill came in at quarterback for Stafford, who hurt his non-throwing hand on the prior series. On 3rd and 1 from the 12, Hill threw incomplete. JCoach Jim Schwartz also decided not to gamble, and Hanson made the 30 yard field goal to have the Lions within 7-6.
With 5 1/2 minutes left in the half, the Raiders faced 3rd and 11 at their own 16. Disaster struck as Palmer was intercepted, giving the Lions a gift at the Oakland 8 yard line. On 3rd and goal Hill found Megatron Calvin Johnson for 7 yards. On 4th and goal at the 1, Coach Schwartz decided to go for it. Hill threw for Johnson, but it was incomplete. The offense created a hole and the defense executed a fantastic goal line stand to preserve the lead.
From the 1, the Raiders reached the 16 by the 2 minute warning. On 3rd and 8, Jones gained 10. Palmer hit Myers for 13, and the Raiders faced 2nd and 5 at their own 44. Palmer went deep again, and this time he was intercepted again at the Detroit 37. Yet Detroit went 3 and out while taking only 20 seconds off of the clock. The Raiders got it back at their own 28 with one minute left. On 3rd and 3, Palmer hit Streater for 5. Several dink and dunk passes got the Raiders to the Detroit 38 with 5 seconds left. Backup kicker Carmona came in for a 56 yard try. Despite a tough preseason, Seabass is not going to be cut. Yet Carmona will definitely succeed as a kicker somewhere in the NFL, and he drilled the long one to have the Raiders leading 10-6 at halftime.
The Lions began the second half at their own 28 and Hill led a long drive. On 3rd and 4 from the 34, he scrambled for 8. On 3rd and 3 from their 49, he hit Nate Burleson for 16. On 2nd and 2 from the 27, Hill was intercepted by Matt Giordano. Yet unnecessary roughness instead gave the Lions the ball at the Oakland 13. On 3rd and 4, Hill hit Brandon Pettigrew for the 7 yard touchdown as the Lions led 13-10.
Palmer was done for the night, and with Captain Checkdown Matt Leinart down with another one of his injuries, Terrell Pryor got to play the entire second half. He has not looked good so far, but this game was different. He did complete a 22 yard pass to Sessions, although the Raiders would punt on his first drive of the half.
The Lions would punt it back, and the Raiders soon faced 3rd and 6 at their own 27. We know Pryor can run, but the question is if he can pass. Well he scrambled for a 59 yard gain to the Detroit 14. Then on 2nd and 13, Pryor scrambled again for a 17 yard touchdown as the Raiders led 17-13. This still does not tell us if he can throw, but we know he is definitely athletic.
Early in the fourth quarter after a punt, the Raiders took over at their own 45. Goodson ran for 7 and 4. Pryor did try to throw the ball deep and was intercepted. Yet illegal use of hands gave the Raiders a second chance. Pryor took advantage by going deep again. This time he hit Criner for a 39 yard touchdown. Apparently Pryor can throw the ball as the Raiders led 24-13 with 12 minutes left.
The Lions would punt twice and the Raiders once, as the Raiders took over at their own 24 with 6 minutes left. One play was all Pryor needed as he went deep to Criner for a 76 yard touchdown. The ghost of Al Davis made Pryor his last draft pick before his death, and the greatest Raider of them all had to be smiling. As for Dennis Allen, even his West Coast Offense cannot hide the talent of the deep ball his quarterbacks possess. The Raiders led 31-13, and the game was pretty much over.
Moore came in as the 3rd string quarterback for the Lions, and he quickly led a scoring drive to get the game back to within 11 points. Yet when the Lions got the ball back on their own 25 with 1:41 to play, Moore was intercepted to seal the win.
Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen got their first preseason win with the Silver and Black. While Pryor looked impressive, Palmer is still the starter. The interceptions need to come down though. Seabass will stay and Carmona will succeed somewhere. Again, for the third straight game, the Raiders drastically cut down on the penalties.
The Raiders play their final preseason game against Seattle, and the Raiders seem to be jelling as a team.