Paul & Kate -- Pryor hungry for more
Terrelle Pryor was 13-of-28 for 150 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in his first career NFL start. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN DIEGO -- Terrelle Pryor had his first start as an NFL quarterback, as well as his first extended playing time, and he showed why he is so intriguing. And, so frustrating, in the Raiders' season-ending 24-21 loss to the San Diego Chargers.
With Carson Palmer out due to a bruised lung and cracked ribs, Pryor was leapfrogged over backup Matt Leinart and after a couple of three-and-outs, led a long, 12-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Pryor hitting Darrius Heyward-Bey for the receiver's career-high fifth touchdown of the season.
Pryor also had a 76-yard drive in the fourth quarter that ended with him running the ball in for a three-yard score.
Other than that, there were some moments both breathtaking and, well, breathtaking in a bad way, such as his rainbow pass that was intercepted in the end zone. But what would you expect from a guy playing his first meaningful game since college two years ago?
Pryor threw for 150 yards on 13 of 28 passing with two TDs and a pick. He also rushed for 49 yards on nine carries.
"He's raising eyebrows the way he's playing here," Raiders radio analyst Greg Papa offered in the first half. "He's playing well."
Coye Francies blocked a punt late in the fourth quarter, the Raiders recovering at the Chargers' 11-yard line. Pryor later hit Denarius Moore in the back of the end zone for the score. The Chargers, though, recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.
Michael Spurlock got the Chargers going by returning the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, after the Raiders had won the coin flip and deferred.
New starters galore: With injuries playing havoc, the Raiders had four new starters from a week prior -- Pryor, Tony Bergstrom at right guard, Mike Mitchell at strong safety and Brandian Ross at cornerback. Bergstrom actually split time with Lucas Nix, who was active for the first time this season.
Giving up points in bunches: The Raiders gave up 443 points this season, the second-most in franchise history. Only the 1961 team, which surrendered 458 points, was scored upon more. The 2004 team gave up 442 points and last year's Raiders team gave up 433 points.
Offensive player of the game: Undrafted rookie receiver Rod Streater took a vicious hit to the back from Eric Weddle in the fourth quarter but returned to the game with a key 38-yard reception down to the three -yard line. Streater finished with four catches for a game-high 77 yards.
Defensive player of the game: Third-year defensive end Lamarr Houston continued his ascent by disrupting not only the Chargers' running game but also their passing attack. Houston had 1 1/2 sacks and a game-high nine tackles.
Lechler's swan song?: If this was indeed six-time Pro Bowl punter Shane Lechler's final game as a member of the Raiders, he gave a glimpse of what once was in Oakland. The leading punter in NFL history, and most highly-paid at $4 million per year, had a booming 58-yard punt but finished with an average of 44 yards on the day.
Next year's opponents: With a third-place finish in the AFC West, the Raiders learned they will travel to the third-place team out of the AFC East next season -- the New York Jets, meaning the Raiders will play at New York/New Jersey twice in 2013 as they also travel to the New York football Giants. Oakland's other non-divisional road games next season -- Houston, Dallas, Indianapolis. The Raiders' non-divisional home games in 2013 -- Jacksonville, Tennessee, Philadelphia, Washington and Pittsburgh.
Up next: The Raiders (4-12) have the third selection in the 2013 NFL draft, behind Kansas City (2-14) and Jacksonville (2-14). But will general manager use the pick, or trade down to get more picks. As it stands now, the Raiders are without selections in the second (Carson Palmer trade) and fifth (Aaron Curry) rounds, though it stands to reason Oakland could get a compensatory pick or two for losing free agents Michael Bush, Jason Campbell, Quentin Groves and Samson Satele.