Terrelle Pryor didn't look out of place as an NFL starting quarterback Thursday night in the Raiders' exhibition finale at Seattle and that was quite important to find out. Many, many other quarterbacks have looked far worse, and among that list I include Matt Flynn just last week.

Looking like a normal quarterback — that was the barometer, at least I think that was the barometer. I'm not exactly sure what precise criteria Raiders coach Dennis Allen is using to decide his quarterback for Week 1 and beyond. It's all an inexact science, anyway, at this point.

Seattle Seahawks’ Jaye Howard (94) pressures Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) in the first half of an NFL preseason football game on
Seattle Seahawks' Jaye Howard (94) pressures Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) in the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Guess work. Gut feel. The Raiders aren't winning a Super Bowl this season, or uncovering the next Brett Favre. They just want to settle on the quarterback — either the fleet and inexperienced Pryor or the veteran and often-shaky Flynn — that gives them their best shot at scoring points and maybe their brightest future.

So ... with Flynn out nursing tendonitis in his throwing arm ... it was Pryor's start, and his chance to seize control of this situation.

And ... Pryor looked OK. Yes, I'm grading on a curve, but it's the Raiders' quarterback situation, you have to grade on a curve.

Pryor looked relatively calm. He didn't look as exciting as he did last week, he made some mistakes, he certainly looks like he will wobble through nearly continuous growing pains.

He completed 3 of his 8 pass attempts, for 31 yards, threw an interception, which produced a paltry 9.9 passer rating. He also ran three times for 48 yards.

But this is one time that you have to throw out the passer rating — Pryor's number gets knocked down for throwing that interception, which is never a good thing, except that one was a deep heave for an open Jacoby Ford that he slightly under threw, and those kinds of deep picks are acceptable once in a while.

You go for the vertical passing game, you take risks. It does hurt the passer rating when you miss, no doubt. (And Flynn could not have made that throw — even for it to be intercepted. I don't want to blast Flynn, but this is not a quarterback who can even conceive of going vertical.)

Otherwise in his four-series outing, Pryor found Rod Streater for a couple of mid-range receptions on a 10-play drive to set up a field goal and didn't get obviously rattled by Seattle's crowd noise and defensive pressure.

Again, it's not like Pryor looked like he was ready to snap off a 24-for-29, 320-yard, 3-TD, zero interception stat line on the road any time soon. His receivers aren't showing that a night like that is possible, anyway.

If the Raiders are looking for a quarterback to follow a consistent game plan, that would probably be Flynn.

But I think Allen and his staff are close to concluding that Flynn just isn't talented enough to give them their best chance to win games.

Which led them to Pryor, this game, and the low-bar: Move the team, don't look scared, run the offense to some degree of efficiency. All graded on a curve.

So ... while last week Flynn very much seemed rattled by the pressure he was under (at home), Pryor showed (a bit) that he can deal with it — mostly because he can run, and also because defenses have to protect against him running so that slows down the all-out attack.

And Pryor doesn't look like he's just going to bolt at the first sign of trouble, either. He can move and look down field and throw. Again, not like Favre or Russell Wilson, but he's not just a jack-rabbit out there.

Side note: Rookie tackle Menelik Watson got his first playing time of the preseason, it was at the very important left tackle spot, and he didn't do poorly at all. Very physical, maybe a little raw, but not bad.

In my mind, I think this all means that Pryor is going to be the Raiders' starter next week in Indianapolis, whether Allen makes that official tonight after the game or whether the coach decides to delay the announcement for a little while longer.

I'm not saying Allen and his staff have to go ga-ga over Pryor and I know they might hesitate on this, at least for a few days.

But I can also see a way for Allen to do this reasonably: Announce that Pryor's starting next week, but that Flynn's injury was a partial factor (he couldn't practice!), and that Flynn will be back competing for the job in practice.

That the Raiders have all the confidence in the world in Pryor, but that Flynn is still a co-No. 1, in case Pryor falters or the Raiders just want another look at QB — whether it's within a game or from game to game.

I still think Pryor is the best choice and the natural choice. If this truly was a competition and these quarterbacks are being measured by performance, it has to be.

At least for Week 1.

Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami. Contact him at tkawakami@mercurynews.com.