Darren McFadden knew his quarterback had taken a beating Sunday.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
Hed seen Terrelle Pryor pick himself off the turf time and time again, yet McFadden, Oaklands star running back, still couldnt believe it when he heard how many sacks the Raiders gave up 10 in the Chiefs 24-7 victory.
I didnt know it was that many, McFadden said. Thats a hard pill to swallow. You dont 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 didnt know it was 10, Johnson said with a smile. Everybodys trying to eat around here, everybodys hungry and everybodys 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.
Its the coaches, I promise, Hali said with a laugh, referring to the difference between this years team and last years group, which went 2-14. Because its the same team we had last year, minus a couple of guys, and were 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.
Hes an athlete, can do a lot of things with his legs, Hali said. We didnt want him to beat us with his legs, so we had to make sure he throws the ball. Sometimes he scrambled, but thats 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, didnt 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 offenses struggles.
Defense played phenomenal a lot of this falls on me, Pryor said. This loss is on me, and Ill take it.
Allen said Pryor should use Sundays game as a learning experience.
Hes 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, dont take a hit and dont 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, hes 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 wasnt 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, its huge. We get a W. I get three sacks and we go home with smiles on our faces. Three sacks without a win? Thats not happy.
To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.