It's off to the races for Raiders' Pryor
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders' offensive script called for a read-option run on their first play when they took the field Sunday against the Steelers, just seconds after the opening kickoff.
Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor knew what play was coming, but he had no idea he was about to make NFL and franchise history.
On first down from the Raiders' 7, Pryor faked a handoff to running back Darren McFadden, bolted around right end and raced untouched 93 yards for a touchdown.
Pryor's touchdown run was the longest by a quarterback in NFL history. He snapped the mark that former Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart set on Dec. 22, 1996, against Carolina when he raced 80 yards for a TD. Pryor also set a franchise record for the longest run from scrimmage, regardless of position. He broke Bo Jackson's mark of 92 yards set on Nov. 5, 1989, against Cincinnati.
Pryor, a former Jeannette High School star, set a lifetime personal record, too.
“I think that was the longest run I've ever had in my life,” Pryor said after the Raiders' 21-18 win over the team he loved while growing up.
Pryor threw for only 88 yards on 10 of 19 passing. He was intercepted twice and didn't throw a TD pass. But he rushed for 106 yards on nine carries and jump-started the Raiders with his history-making run.
When he came to the line of scrimmage, Pryor was “reading” Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Pryor faked a handoff to McFadden, who powered up the middle, and Woodley bit on the fake, crashing in from the outside. Almost every other Steelers defender was fooled, too.
Pryor got a block from wide receiver Rod Streater on safety Troy Polamalu, and saw nothing but open field.
“The guy bit down that I was reading,” Pryor said. “I came out, Rod made a phenomenal block, and it was off to the races.”
After drawing so much attention, McFadden was able to enjoy Pryor's run.
“Man, to see a guy go 93 yards, not many people can do that,” McFadden said. “Being able to see him go 93 yards just makes you very happy, knowing you have a great quarterback right there. I talked to one of their defensive players, Ryan Clark. He told me that he worked on tackling me in the middle all week.
“That's what he was trying to do, and Terrelle just stepped around the end.”
Pryor savored the win, which improved the Raiders' record to 3-4, but he said he took no added pleasure in beating his hometown team.
“It's another team, another road block,” Pryor said. “They have a phenomenal coach, coach Tomlin, a phenomenal defense, a phenomenal offense and great players over there.
“I pay big respects to them. They fought back well. It's just another game. If you really think about it like that, you get too excited and things don't go well. So in my mind, it was just another game, a team that we had to beat.”
Eric Gilmore is a freelance writer.