EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor was hurting in more ways than one.
His voice was barely a whisper, and Pryor's usual eye contact and confidence were not in evidence in the aftermath of a 24-20 loss to the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
The Raiders got their first look at what happens when Pryor can't do what he does best, and it was not a pretty sight. He completed 11 of 26 passes for 122 yards, albeit with a few dropped passes. There were four sacks and a late lost fumble with the Raiders down by four points.
Pryor finished with 19 yards rushing on five attempts, his lowest output of the season.
Worst of all, Pryor had a killer interception that Terrell Thomas returned 65 yards to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Andre Brown. That turnover was the biggest single mistake in a game that had lots of them by both teams.
Pryor occasionally was able to pivot and evade pressure, but it was clear his movement was restricted from what he revealed was a right MCL strain that happened last week in a 49-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
"When I woke up this morning, I knew I was going to have trouble," Pryor said. "It was definitely confirmed in the game. It was confirmed in warm-up sessions."
Pryor said that as the week in practice went on, his knee got sore, but Raiders coach Dennis Allen seemed surprised.
"I think we could all watch from the sideline and tell he didn't have the same explosiveness, but it wasn't something that we noticed during the week," Allen said.
Pryor's ability to not only run the ball but drive the ball with authority in the passing game were compromised.
"I was out there trying to do my best, and it wasn't doing anything," Pryor said. "I wasn't myself. With more treatment, hopefully this thing cures up fast."
The Raiders had better hope so, unless they consider going with undrafted free agent Matt McGloin an enticing option.
With the Raiders at 3-6 and looking into the abyss of another season of double-digit losses, a lot of things are on the line.
Allen said during the week Pryor has not "regressed" in terms of his passing, even though Pryor has failed to complete more than 54 percent of his passes in any of the past four games with one touchdown pass and eight interceptions.
The company line, and there is some truth to it, is that there are a lot of factors that go into the passing game including route running, sure-handed receivers, pass blocking and timing.
But Pryor, after some early promise, isn't looking anything like an NFL-quality passer of late, and the Raiders must determine whether he's a viable option as the quarterback of the future.
If Pryor can't play or doesn't play well, and the losses pile up, the seat for both Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie gets warmer.
Raiders owner Mark Davis is on the record as wanting "progress," and heading into another offseason at 6-10 or worse with only an upgraded defense to show for it isn't what he had in mind.
Davis could pressure McKenzie to change coaches or sweep them both out. CBS.com reignited the Jon Gruden-to-the-Raiders scenario Sunday, saying the ESPN Monday night analyst was likely headed to Atlanta or Oakland should he return to coaching in 2014.
No on-the-record sources, of course, but it's one game past midseason, and the rumor mill will only gain strength if the Raiders continue to lose.
Pryor, lauded by teammates for creating a spark when he became the starter, showed little sign of it after the Giants loss in his voice inflection but is still saying the right things.
"We've just got to go back to work and stay with each other," Pryor said. "Don't listen to the outside influence. Obviously I didn't have a great game, but the defense played well. A lot of fingers could easily be pointed at me, and I understand that. We just have to move on to next week."
Raiders (3-6) at Houston (2-7), 10 a.m. CBS