OAKLAND Moving the ball hasn't been a problem for the Raiders' offense in the preseason. The starters took another step forward Saturday over the goal line for the first time in three games and Terrelle Pryor came in after halftime and turned the O.co Coliseum into his playground.
The Raiders got head coach Dennis Allen his first win sort of and shed a six-game preseason skid by beating the Lions 31-20, but until Sept. 10 rolls around it's all about improving. And after the Raiders' offense left a few more promising drives unfinished in the first half, that remains an area to address.
"It's been the theme for us in the preseason. We've talked a lot about finishing," Allen said. "We were able to finish a drive today down on the goal line, and we've got to continue to do a better job at that.
"We're not clean in all three phases right now. We've still got a long way to go, but I saw some progress tonight."
Darren McFadden got the starters' first touchdown with a second-quarter, one-yard dive on fourth-and-goal originally ruled a stop for no gain before officials reviewed it and overturned the call.
That finished the first-team offense's best drive of the day 12 plays for 86 yards, with the big strike being a 41-yard pass from Carson Palmer to Darrius Heyward-Bey down the sideline to the Lions' 12.
It also allowed the Raiders to avoid revisiting last week when they couldn't score after a first-and-goal at Arizona's 1.
"We definitely made some progress," Palmer said. "Need to clean some things up once we get down there on the goal line. You like to get in without having to make that decision between a field goal and going for it "
The Raiders had 247 total yards and 18 first downs in the first half, but only led 10-6, and that after backup kicker Eddy Carmona's 56-yard field goal as time expired.
The Raiders had a 12-play drive end in a missed field goal. Two possessions ended on interceptions. The first came on a screen pass from Palmer intended for Taiwan Jones that Lions end Willie Young tipped to himself, and the second when Eddie McGee lost control of a Palmer pass that linebacker Stephen Tulloch grabbed.
Before Pryor came in, he said, Palmer went up to him and said: "It's 'TP' time."
And indeed, with Matt Leinart not playing, it became Pryor's show in the second half.
Pryor showed his speed on a 59-yard run in the third quarter. Two plays later, Pryor escaped pressure in the pocket and ran 17 yards for a score.
Pryor, who blamed himself for the Raiders' 3-0 loss to Dallas in the preseason opener, also hit rookie receiver Juron Criner for touchdown passes of 39 and 76 yards. He had a passer rating of 143.8.
"This whole week I didn't miss one word on any of the plays," Pryor said. "I was praying on it, getting help from Carson, and I didn't mess up at all today. (I was) very confident."
Pryor credited his time management in the huddle with allowing him to get out with time to break down the defense before the snap of the ball, something he's been encouraged to work on.
"He's still a work in progress, but I thought he made some strides today," Allen said.
The starting defense looked sharp again, allowing 91 first-half yards, albeit with Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford sidelined halfway through with a left hand injury.
Matt Giordano's interception on Detroit's first drive of the second half was negated when Tommy Kelly was flagged for roughing the passer. The Lions would score on the drive.