by Matt Kawahara
OAKLAND -- Terrelle Pryor said he felt noticeably more comfortable going into Saturday's game against Detroit. With backup quarterback Matt Leinart sidelined last week, Pryor worked in with the second-team offense in practice and got more reps than he normally would. Not that everything he did in the Raiders' 31-20 win over the Lions was scripted.
Pryor came in after halftime and turned O.co Coliseum into his playground with his feet and arm. He completed 3 of 5 passes for 137 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 143.8. He rushed five times for 90 yards, including a spectacular 59-yard run near the Lions' sideline and a 17-yard touchdown scamper after escaping a collapsing pocket. He quarterbacked five drives, three of which ended in touchdowns.
And yes -- deep breath -- he did all this against the Lions' defensive backups. In a preseason game. But it was a much different scene than two weeks ago, when Pryor sat at his locker after the Raiders' loss to Dallas -- his first real NFL experience -- shouldering all blame for the loss and simmering over his play, which he vowed would be better.
"Just so happy for him," said quarterback Carson Palmer. "He works so hard and puts so much time in. Proud of him."
Pryor had been 10-for-18 for 59 yards and an interception in two preseason games, getting his time after Leinart. Leinart hardly took any snaps in practice this week, though, and sat out Saturday's game with his lacerated right (non-throwing) index finger still in a bandage.
"When I was with the (third-team unit) I would get like 10 plays in practice," Pryor said. "That's not really enough for me that I can really get a feel for it. They say that you win games in practice, and I wasn't winning in practice with 10 plays. It's impossible.
"I'm not really getting the feel for the exact plays that I'm going to be running, whereas this week I kind of did. It was good to get extra reps behind Carson. It was great."
Pryor found rookie receiver Juron Criner for both of his touchdown passes. The first was a 39-yarder that Pryor acknowledged was underthrown, but that Criner hauled in over Lions cornerback Alphonso Smith, who was flagged for interference on the play.
Earlier on the drive, Smith had intercepted a Pryor pass intended for Rod Streater, but that was nullified when Smith was called for illegal use of hands.
The second touchdown was a better throw from Pryor, who had rolled out to his right, to Criner, who was crossing the field and slipped his defender for a 76-yard play.
Pryor credited better time management in the huddle with allowing him to get to the line with enough time to read the defense before snapping the ball, something the Raiders have been encouraging him to improve on.
"I thought he managed the huddle a lot better in this game," said head coach Dennis Allen. "He's still a work in progress, but I thought he made some strides today."
In doing so, Pryor helped the Raiders notch their first preseason win -- Allen's first as a head coach -- and snap a six-game losing streak in the preseason. And that should sit much better with Pryor as he continues to work behind Palmer and Leinart.
"I hate losing," Pryor said. "People don't like playing me in video games because I get mad. I'll throw and break the controller and have to go buy another one. That's just how I am. I'm fiery. ... I just hate failing."