EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Raiders have been competitive in most games, with fast starts keeping games exciting while leads slowly disappear.
That wasn’t the case on Sunday. The Raiders played from behind all day and couldn’t catch up in a 37-27 loss to the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium that was likely their best chance to win again this season.
The Raiders have lost three in a row and four of five en route to a 4-9 record, with only tough AFC West games remaining.
The offense got hot after a difficult start, and scored 24 points in the second half. The defense couldn’t stop rookie quarterback and the lackluster Jets offense ranked No. 31 in scoring.
While these Jets scored 20 points over their previous three games, they tallied four touchdowns – one came on special teams – and three field goals against a Raiders defense that wears down at the end of games due to a lack of quality depth.
Rookie quarterback Matt McGloin played well after an uneven first half that included an interception inside his own 10-yard line. The Jets took a field goal from that effort, but scored too many touchdowns in the second half for the Raiders to mount a serious comeback effort until it was far too late.
All told, McGloin was 18-for-31 for 245 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. Rod Streater also had 7 catches for a career-high 130 yards and a score.
Marcel Reece ran strong as the feature back, and was a highlight of a game where the Raiders once again struggled at critical times.
Pryor’s cameo: Quarterback Terrelle Pryor made a scheduled appearance on the Raiders third offensive series and orchestrated a field-goal scoring drive.
Pryor was 2-for-5 for 20 yards and had three carries for four yards running the read option. It was his first appearance since losing his starting job to McGloin. His last appearance was also at MetLife Stadium, where he played despite a sprained knee in a loss to the New York Giants. He kept the severity of his injury secret before kickoff, then mentioned it to the press when explaining his poor play.
He hadn’t played in three games, despite being active for the last two. He didn’t re-enter in a platoon situation despite an uneven first-half performance byMcGloin.
Marcel the feature back: Raiders fullback Marcel Reece was the primary ball carrier with three tailbacks out with injury. He made the most of this opportunity, totaling a career-best 123 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. He also had 2 catches for 38 yards. He’s started five games at tailback and has exceeded 100 yards total offense four times.
He ran hard after contact inside the tackles, and showed burst and speed on a career-long 63-yard run that made it 20-10 early in the third quarter. His effort proves he could be a tailback and should earn greater carries in the future.
Defensive back Taiwan Jones – a converted running back who moved back to offense this week – had 2 yards on 3 carries as a supplement to Reece.
Third-down struggles continue: The Raiders couldn’t hold strong on third-down in a Thanksgiving loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The team made critical downs a point of emphasis this practice week, and it didn’t help much.
The Jets converted 7-of-13 third downs, including a pair during a fourth-quarter touchdown drive that established a 37-20 lead.
The inability to get off the field on defense eliminated comeback hopes for an offense that got hot in the second half. That unit scored frequently, but they couldn’t make up ground with Jets continuing to score points.
King’s punt blocked: The Raiders punter had two blocks and a deflection this season. On Sunday, the Raiders had one blocked at an inopportune time.
Antonio Allen snuck through the interior front and made an easy block deep in Raiders territory that he recovered in the end zone that made it 20-3, a score that remained through the first half.
Sitting it out: Running back Rashad Jennings was not cleared for contact before Sunday’s game, and was ruled out with a concussion. He joined Darren McFadden (ankle) and Jeremy Stewart (knee, ankle) on the inactive list, leaving Reece and Jones to carry the load.
Right guard Mike Brisiel (knee) and receiver Denarius Moore (shoulder) and safety Tyvon Branch (ankle) missed the game with injury. Guard Lamar Mady was a healthy scratch.
What's next: The Raiders head home for a difficult matchup with AFC West rival Kansas City, which has lost three of the last four. The Chiefs (10-3) got back on track with a blowout road win at Washington and need to keep winning to keep up with the division-leading Broncos.
The Raiders showed little in a loss to the Jets, and are in danger of finishing the season with a whimper. They must show resolve after a brutal stretch of four road games in five weeks.