HOUSTON – Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor was back in the Bay Area on Sunday morning nursing illness and a sprained knee, watching backup Matt McGloin lead his team to victory.
Must’ve been a pretty sight. Until reality set in.
McGloin was so good during a 28-23 win over the Houston Texans that undrafted rookie might’ve taken Pryor’s job.
[Instant Replay: McGloin shines in Raiders 28-23 win over Texans]
While head coach Dennis Allen wouldn’t say whether he did or not, there’s no doubt the Raiders have a quarterback controversy on their hands.
“Here’s what I’m going to do; I’m going to enjoy this win,” Allen said. “Then we’ll go back and we’ll evaluate. Matt definitely did a very good job today.”
That’s hard to argue. The undrafted rookie from Penn State was 18-of-32 passing for 197 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 105.9 quarterback rating in his first NFL start.
“This is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” McGloin said. “I’ve been prepared for a while now to get in there. My team really supported me. That’s one of the big reasons why I prepared as hard as I could this week and gave it everything I had.”
The offense rallied behind him and ran smooth. The Raiders scored a season-high 28 points and showed uncharacteristic life in the second half. McGloin wasn’t perfect, but his Raiders were far better than Pryor’s in recent weeks.
Pryor has one touchdown, eight interceptions and a paltry 46 passer rating over his past four games. His last was played at less than 100 percent, hindered by the knee sprain that forced him out of Sunday’s game.
While injured quarterbacks typically travel, Pryor was sick and Allen didn’t want the virus spreading. That prompted him to leave Pryor home with other injured players formally ruled out of Sunday’s game.
There’s no telling if Pryor will be healthy enough to play next week against Tennessee, or whether he’ll have the chance to do so functional knee or not.
McGloin’s play created this sideshow. He ran the offense efficiently. He threw with confidence, accuracy and zip. He added touch and timing rarely seen from this passing game, with a quick release that largely negated the Texans’ vaunted pass rush.
Questions remain: Will one quality start from an unproven rookie mark a changing of the guard. How much will Pryor’s recent struggles play into Allen’s decision? What about Pryor volunteering his knee hindered him during a loss to the New York Giants after keeping his coach in the dark?
There are several factors at play here, but none would warrant consideration without McGloin’s promising play.
McGloin wouldn’t say whether he earned another start, and said Pryor remains the offensive leader.
“We have a healthy relationship, Pryor and I,” McGloin said. “You know, this is his team. Film work, what to expect, how to handle situations, he was really there for me the whole way. I’m happy to be playing quarterback with him.”