Early in the fourth quarter Sunday, the Raiders had the ball and trailed the Washington Redskins 17-14.
On the scoreboard, Oakland was still very much in the game.
To most of the Raiders fans who’d been watching Matt Flynn quarterback their team, however, it seemed hopeless out on the field.
“We’re down by 3 but it feels like a thousand,” tweeted one fan.
His words proved right on the mark, as the Raiders couldn’t rally and the previously winless Redskins pulled away for a 24-14 victory at O.co Coliseum to drop Oakland to 1-3 on the young season.
For Flynn, who was subbing for No. 1 quarterback Terrelle Pryor – ruled out before the game because of symptoms from a concussion suffered Monday night in Denver – the experience in broad daylight was a nightmare.
It was Flynn’s first start in a Raiders uniform and only the third of his career. He started two games for the Packers, in 2010 and 2011, and was presumed the Raiders’ starter this preseason, but lost the job to Pryor.
Though he started out fine, throwing a touchdown pass to rookie Mychal Rivera at the end of the first quarter to put his team up 14-0 (after the first TD came on a blocked punt), the afternoon went quickly downhill from there for Flynn and the Raiders.
Flynn threw an interception to Redskins cornerback David Amerson in the second quarter that Amerson returned 45 yards for a score. He fumbled twice, with Washington recovering one of them, and he was sacked seven times – reminiscent of the preseason – and showed that he has zero ability to keep plays alive with his feet or avoid the rush.
After being sacked in the fourth quarter and losing the ball, Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter tweeted: “Matt Flynn has no pocket awareness. I mean, none.”
Perhaps it would have been a different outcome if Flynn had help from running back Darren McFadden and fullback Marcel Reece, but both were knocked out of the game early with injuries and couldn’t return. That left the Raiders without their most explosive ballcarriers and made Flynn a sitting duck when he went back to pass.
Flynn finished the game 21-of-32 for 227 yards, but his ability to stretch the field with the deep ball wasn’t there. Eight of his completions were dump-offs to backup running back Rashad Jennings.
Now, at least, there will be no quarterback controversy. Pryor, clearly, is a better quarterback than Flynn based on on-field play this summer and fall. And if Pryor clears all concussion tests next week, he’ll be the guy behind center next Sunday when the Raiders host the Chargers, who pulled off a big win over the Cowboys Sunday.