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Terrelle Pryor impressive as Raiders roll past Chargers

For the second time in three weeks, quarterback Terrelle Pryor served notice in a nationally televised game that the Oakland Raiders will not be a pushover this season. 

Pryor completed his first 10 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns as the Raiders raced out to a 17-0 lead that would ultimately result in a 27-17 victory over the San Diego Chargers in the latest start time in NFL history.

Rivaling Russell Wilson for the toughest quarterback to corral in the pocket, Pryor toyed with Chargers' defenders throughout Sunday's first half. He was composed, kept his eyes downfield, showed great touch on deep balls and continued to burn defenses that allow him to roll out to his right.

Although Pryor managed just one first down for the majority of the second half, he came up big with the game on the line and Philip Rivers charging late in the fourth quarter. Pryor escaped pressure to convert a key third down that put Sebastian Janikowski in range to widen the lead to two scores and essentially close the door on the Chargers.

More than any quarterback in the league, Pryor has altered the narrative surrounding himself as well as his team in the season's first month. If he can string together more games like his last two, the Raiders' brass will have to initiate discussions about Pryor as the quarterback of the future. Here's what else we learned Sunday night:

  1. Credit San Diego coach Mike McCoy and coordinator Ken Whisenhunt for resurrecting the aerial attack. Rivers went over 400 yards for the third time in five games and completed more than 73 percent of his passes for the fourth consecutive week. The offense just made too many mistakes, though. Rivers tossed three interceptions, Antonio Gates dropped a touchdown, Vincent Brown had a 30-yard score nullified by an illegal formation penalty, and Danny Woodhead was stuffed on a fourth-down goal-line carry and lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown.
  1. Even before Ryan Mathews left with a concussion in the second quarter, the Bolts found no room to run on the ground. They need to get left tackle King Dunlap and left guard Chad Rinehart back from injuries.
  1. The Chargers were shut out at halftime after scoring in the first and second quarter of every game this season. Credit an Oakland defense that has been stingier than expected this season. Defensive end Lamarr Houston has played at a Pro Bowl level, and linebacker Kevin Burnett is still playing at a high level.
  1. Charles Woodson turned back the clock with an interception and a fumble recovery that was returned for his 13th career defensive touchdown. He's now tied with Rod Woodson and NFL Network's Darren Sharper with the most defensive scores in NFL history.
  1. Even with starting center Stefen Wisniewski and right tackle Tony Pashos inactive, the Chargers failed to generate much of a pass rush on Pryor. With Dwight Freeney out for the season, this will be a long-term issue.
  1. The Chargers' wide receiver corps is better than anticipated. Keenan Allen has played like a third-roundsteal the past two games, and Brown's eight catches for 117 yards would have been a 9/147/1 line if not for the nullified touchdown. Allen also had a touchdown overturned when it was ruled that his second foot didn't come down in bounds.
  1. The late start wasn't the only first in this game. Until early Monday morning, we had never seen a blocked field goal picked up and advanced for a first down. Chargers tight end Ladarius Green pulled off that feat in the third quarter.
  1. Chargers outside linebacker Jarret Johnson and Raiders running back Rashad Jennings were both forced out of the game with hamstring injuries.
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