MAKING THE GRADE
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Here is how the Oakland Raiders (3-6) graded in their 24-20 loss Sunday against the New York Giants (3-6):
Passing offense: Other than a 23-yard hookup from Terrelle Pryor to Denarius Moore on a third-down play that wound up only leading to a field goal, it was a lot of nothing. Moore dropped at least two passes. Pryor was off-target (11 of 26, 122 yards) and threw an interception that was returned 65 yards by Terrell Thomas that swung the game in favor of the Giants for good. Starting wideout Rod Streater caught one pass for six yards.
Rushing offense: Rashad Jennings finished with 20 carries for 88 yards and had 9 carries for 55 yards in the first half. The only other ballcarrier was Pryor, who was hobbled with a right MCL sprain and carried five times for a season-low 19 yards. Jennings ran hard and well for the second straight week and deserves more carries even when Darren McFadden returns. The Raiders ran pretty well against a defense that had been stout against the run.
Pass defense: Whether it was the swirling wind or the swirling defenders occasionally at his feet, Eli Maning was 11 of 22 for 140 yards and one touchdown, a perfectly thrown 5-yard pass to Reuben Randle, who was actually covered pretty well by Mike Jenkins. Safety Usama Young, barely used against Philadelphia, had a sack and breakup. Tracy Porter became the first player to pick off both Manning brothers and take it to the house with a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Rush defense: Andre Brown, in his first game back after a broken leg, rushed 30 times for 115 yards. New York rushed for 133 yards overall but needed 38 carries to get them. Brown seemed to get a lot of yards after first contact. The Giants didn't exactly shred the Raiders but did manage eight rushing first downs.
Special teams: Taiwan Jones, one of the Raiders' best gunners in years, forced a Jerrel Jernigan fumble and then recovered it on the opening kickoff, setting up the Raiders first touchdown. The Raiders regrettably gave it back a short time later when an unblocked middle resulted in blocked punt and a Giants touchdown from Cooper Taylor. Jones was explosive on his two kickoff returns with a 38.5 average. The Raiders had a partially blocked punt as well. Blocked punt for touchdown spoils what could have been a top-line effort.
Coaching: The Raiders were ready to play, got a quick touchdown and effort was not a question. Defensive game plan was sound, but on offense, with Pryor not himself with an MCL sprain, the Raiders seemed to too often outsmart themselves instead of putting the game in the hands of Jennings. Hindsight says run the ball on second-and-goal from the 1 instead of failed play-action. Also left out was Marcel Reece, who never carried the ball and looked good when he caught it, particularly on a 16-yard gain on a screen pass.
-- JERRY McDONALD