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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.