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Chiefs rack up 10 sacks, keep Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor scrambling all day

Updated: 2013-10-14T15:17:25Z

By TEREZ A. PAYLOR

The Kansas City Star

Darren McFadden knew his quarterback had taken a beating Sunday.

He’d seen Terrelle Pryor pick himself off the turf time and time again, yet McFadden, Oakland’s star running back, still couldn’t believe it when he heard how many sacks the Raiders gave up — 10 — in the Chiefs’ 24-7 victory.

“I didn’t know it was that many,” McFadden said. “That’s a hard pill to swallow. You don’t want to get the quarterback hit that many times.”

To be fair, some of the sacks were of the scrambling variety, ones where the elusive Pryor took off and was corralled like a traditional running back. But 10 sacks remains a staggering number, one that not only matches the number they had in all of 2008, but also took Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson by surprise after the game.

“Ten sacks? I didn’t know it was 10,” Johnson said with a smile. “Everybody’s trying to eat around here, everybody’s hungry and everybody’s thirsty.”

In all, they racked up 14 quarterback hits, with seven different Chiefs finishing with at least a half-sack. But perhaps the biggest “eater” Sunday was outside linebacker Tamba Hali, who pushed his season total to 7 1/2 sacks with a 3 1/2-sack performance.

Hali credited the coaching staff for coming up with a strong game plan designed to rattle Pryor, who turned the ball over three times Sunday after doing so only twice in his first five games.

“It’s the coaches, I promise,” Hali said with a laugh, referring to the difference between this year’s team and last year’s group, which went 2-14. “Because it’s the same team we had last year, minus a couple of guys, and we’re having this much success.”

Hali said defensive coordinator Bob Sutton used some blitzes in an attempt to get to Pryor, who completed 18 of 34 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown but also threw three interceptions. However, the game plan also required discipline from the front seven, which did a good job of staying in its rush lanes and keeping Pryor in the pocket, though he did run six times for 60 yards.

“He’s an athlete, can do a lot of things with his legs,” Hali said. “We didn’t want him to beat us with his legs, so we had to make sure he throws the ball. Sometimes he scrambled, but that’s all right. We just had to make sure we could contain him in the pocket and have him running back and forth.”

The Raiders’ rash of offensive-line injuries certainly did Pryor no favors, as they were down to their third-string center after Andre Gurode — who was filling in for starter Stefen Wisniewski — was lost in the first half because of a knee injury. Starting right tackle Tony Pashos also left after halftime because of a groin injury.

“Some guys mixed and matched, playing different positions, which I thought led to some of the ineffectiveness we had on offense,” said Raiders coach Dennis Allen. “As good as they are on defense, you want to have all your weapons, all your guys up front to protect.”

Pryor, however, didn’t want to hear it. He singled out several of his linemen for battling through a difficult situation, as any self-respecting quarterback would, and took the blame for his offense’s struggles.

“Defense played phenomenal — a lot of this falls on me,” Pryor said. “This loss is on me, and I’ll take it.”

Allen said Pryor should use Sunday’s game as a learning experience.

“He’s under a lot of pressure for the majority of the day and he still has to learn when to take those risks, when to give up on the play, get rid of the ball, don’t take a hit and don’t take the sacks,” Allen said. “But those are things that, when we get a chance to go in and watch film tomorrow, are all teachable moments.”

At least one Chief thinks Pryor, a third-year pro who entered the game completing 68 percent of his passes, has plenty of good days ahead due to his athleticism and playmaking ability.

“Man, he’s special,” said safety Quintin Demps, who was one of three Chiefs to intercept Pryor. “The sky is the limit with him. Real talk.”

But it certainly wasn’t on Sunday, not against a pass rush like the Chiefs had.

“It feels good for me, personally, individually,” Hali said of his day. “But for the team, it’s huge. We get a ‘W.’ I get three sacks and we go home with smiles on our faces. Three sacks without a win? That’s not happy.”

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.

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