OAKLAND — Matt Flynn heard a smattering of boos during pregame introductions before his first start with the Oakland Raiders even started.
It was a full-fledged serenade by the time he took his seventh sack and lost a fumble that led to Washington’s clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter.
David Amerson returned an interception for a touchdown that helped erase Oakland’s fast start and the Redskins took advantage of the Raiders’ backup backfield to get their first win of the season, 24-14 on Sunday.
With starting running backs Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece sidelined for much of the game with injuries, Flynn was able to do very little in place of injured starter and fan favorite Terrelle Pryor, who has not recovered from a concussion.
Flynn heard all about it from a sellout crowd that hoped to see Pryor’s electric playmaking only to watch Flynn hold the ball too long in the pocket all afternoon.
“I mean it’s hard not to hear it,” Flynn said. You just try to focus on your job and do what you can, but it’s definitely hard not to hear.”
The crowd had plenty to cheer early as the Raiders (1-3) broke out to a 14-0 lead after the first quarter thanks to Rashad Jennings’ blocked punt that led to a touchdown by Jeremy Stewart and Flynn’s 18-yard pass to Mychal Rivera.
Oakland hadn’t lost a lead like that after the first quarter in 15 years and the fans sensed the change of momentum early in the second quarter when Amerson stepped in front of Denarius Moore for the interception he returned 45 yards for Washington (1-3) to cut the deficit to 14-10.
Flynn took six of his sacks in the final three quarters and the game essentially ended when Ryan Kerrigan had a sack-fumble recovered by Barry Cofield and Roy Helu Jr. ran it in two plays later from 14 yards to make it 24-14 with less than 7 minutes left.
“I don’t think he saw the field very good today,” coach Dennis Allen said. “He was part of some of the sacks that we gave up. It was a tough situation for him to go into it. The loss of McFadden and Reece didn’t help him out any, but offensively we didn’t get it done. That’s really the bottom line.”
Robert Griffin III threw a go-ahead touchdown pass late in the third quarter and the beleaguered Washington defense did most of the rest to reverse a rough start to the season.
The Redskins allowed 1,464 yards of offense through three games — the most through a team’s first three games since the 1951 New York Yanks gave up 1,494, according to STATS LLC. The Yanks folded after that season.
The Redskins held Oakland to 298 yards and scored as many points as they allowed to head into the bye week with a little bit of momentum.
“We needed that so bad,” Kerrigan said. “It really feels good. Seven was kind of the magic number today — we give up only seven points, we have seven sacks, scored seven points on defense. Great feeling right now.”
Even the usually reliable Sebastian Janikowski was off his game for the Raiders, missing a 52-yard field goal attempt wide left midway through the third quarter after Logan Paulsen lost a fumble.
Alfred Morris, bottled up most of the game, had three carries for 29 yards on the ensuing drive before leaving with bruised ribs. Griffin capped it with a 5-yard slant to Pierre Garcon that gave the Redskins their first second-half lead of the season.
The Raiders didn’t settle on a starting quarterback until Saturday night when it was determined Pryor could not go after sustaining a concussion last Monday in Denver.
Flynn got off to an early lead in his third career start with help from Oakland’s special teams when Jeremy Stewart recovered Rashad Jenning’s blocked punt of Sav Rocca in the end zone.
Flynn got into the act as well with an impressive 81-yard drive that featured a 34-yard pass to Denarius Moore and was capped by the 18-yard TD to rookie Mychal Rivera.
Washington’s defense took over after that, harassing Flynn all afternoon.
“They definitely handle themselves back there differently,” Raiders center Stefen Wisniewski said. “So we have to try to block differently. It’s tough to change at the drop of a hat, though. We found out last night we have a different quarterback so we have to adjust to that.”
NOTES: Redskins LB London Fletcher played in his 244th consecutive regular season game, passing Bill Romanowski for most by a defensive player since the 1970 merger. … Flynn’s seven sacks were the most for a Raiders QB since Andrew Walter was brought down nine times in 2006 at Seattle.