Friday, April 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Raiders seek consistency on defense

Tyvon Branch, Dexter McCluster

Oakland Raiders defensive back Tyvon Branch (33) tries to wrestle the ball from Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dexter McCluster (22) during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

ALAMEDA — Jamaal Charles had nowhere to run, Brady Quinn was under pressure all day and the Oakland Raiders defense posted its most statistically dominating performance in decades.

Coach Dennis Allen said that kind of game proves what the Raiders are capable of defensively when they play to their ability. The key now is doing that more often.

“We’ve proven that we can do it at times, but we’ve got to be more consistent at it,” Allen said Monday. “That will be our challenge moving forward.”

So far the Raiders (4-10) haven’t proved much more than they can shut down the lowly Chiefs (2-12) and Jaguars (2-12). In three wins against the NFL’s two worst teams, Oakland has allowed 13 points and 209 yards allowed per game.

Against the rest of the NFL, the Raiders have given up 33 points and 414.9 yards per game.

But Allen is less worried about the quality of opponent than the gaudy numbers his defense delivered. The Raiders held Charles to 10 yards rushing on nine carries, sacked Quinn four times and allowed just 119 yards of total offense — the fewest for the team since 1975.

It all added up to Oakland’s first shutout since the 2002 regular season finale.

“I think it’s important any time you get that opportunity. It’s tough to shut anybody out in this league,” Allen said. “To get the shutout, to hold the team to 10 yards rushing which is a franchise record, a team that was a top-five rushing team in the NFL this year. I think that was huge for our defense. I think that was a good confidence builder. Now we have to continue to build on that.”

The Raiders have two more chances to duplicate that kind of performance as they end the season with trips to Carolina and San Diego.

Oakland also hopes that its running game can build on one of its best performances after rushing for a season-high 203 yards against the Chiefs. The Raiders had 45 carries in the game — their most in more than two years — with Darren McFadden running for 110 yards on 30 carries and Mike Goodson getting 89 on 13 runs.

That’s the formula Allen wants the Raiders to follow each week.

“I think we all saw that when we execute that game plan the way that we feel like we’re capable of executing it, we have a chance to win games,” he said. “I thought our defense played outstanding yesterday and I thought we were able to run the ball effectively against them. So that will be a key for us moving forward.”

The game also marked the season debut for third quarterback Terrelle Pryor. The former Ohio State star had been on the field just once in his first two seasons, committing a false start before the snap on his only other chance last season.

Pryor came in to start the second quarter and after a false start before the first play, Pryor handed off twice before throwing an incomplete pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey.

“The biggest thing is we wanted him to get into a game,” Allen said. “He got in a game last year for one play, there was a false start penalty and really wasn’t able to run a play. I wanted to be able to get him in an NFL football game during the regular season and get him a little bit of experience and we’ll see where we go from there.”

NOTES: CB Phillip Adams left Sunday’s game with his second concussion in three games. He will need to go through the protocol before he is able to return to practice. … WR Juron Criner (hip), TE Richard Gordon (biceps) and S Mike Mitchell (stinger) all left the game with injuries and will be evaluated Wednesday.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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