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  • Nhat V. Meyer San Jose Mercury News Raiders quarterback Matt Flynn is not pleased after throwing an interception that the Redskins' David Amerson returned 45 yards for a touchdown.

  • Nhat V. Meyer San Jose Mercury News Rashad Jennings blocks a Sav Rocca punt in the first quarter. Jeremy Stewart recovered it in the end zone for an Oakland touchdown.

Oakland quickly fades after a promising start

Boos rain down at Coliseum as Raiders blow 14-0 lead

Published: Monday, Sep. 30, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Sep. 30, 2013 - 7:44 pm

OAKLAND – What started as a potentially uplifting Sunday ended when the remnants of an announced home crowd of 53,549 vented its frustration upon the Raiders at O.co Coliseum.

"We let 'em down," safety Charles Woodson said after a 24-14 loss to the Washington Redskins. "You heard the boos. For any team in the league, to hear your home fans boo, that's hard."

Terrelle Pryor sat out the game to further recover from a concussion, and two other crowd favorites – running back Darren McFadden and fullback Marcel Reece – left in the second quarter with injuries and did not return.

Most of the boo birds were targeting quarterback Matt Flynn, who turned over the ball twice.

It started during pregame warmups, when Flynn was announced as the starter after coach Dennis Allen determined Saturday night that Pryor needed at least another week before playing.

But the house was rocking a short time later when Rashad Jennings blocked a Shav Rocca punt and Jeremy Stewart pounced on it in the end zone for a 7-0 Oakland lead with 10:40 to play in the first quarter.

It got even louder when Flynn found rookie tight end Mychal Rivera for an 18-yard touchdown pass with 3:06 left in the quarter.

Flush with momentum, the Raiders gave it all back and then some, with a gift interception from Flynn landing in the hands of David Amerson for a 45-yard touchdown return, pulling Washington within 14-10 with 11:09 left in the second quarter.

With the Raiders unable to move the ball and continually giving Washington chances, the Redskins got second-half touchdowns on a 5-yard pass from Robert Griffin III to Pierre Garcon and a 14-yard run by Roy Helu, sending the fans home disappointed.

"That one stung," Allen said. "The way we were able to start the game, block a punt, get it to 14-0 and have all the momentum … then we let 'em back in the game."

And while the usual protocol finds an NFL coach finding ways to spread the blame equally after a loss, Allen conceded, "Our defense and special teams, they held their own. They did some good things."

Flynn was 21 of 32 for 227 yards with one touchdown, the interception for a touchdown and two fumbles, one which he lost and the other which he recovered on a fourth-and-1 play and gave Washington the ball.

The Redskins had seven sacks, in part because Flynn was reluctant to let the ball go and because defenders came hard and fast knowing they weren't concerned with Pryor getting outside for big yardage.

The touchdown by Amerson, which Woodson said "let the air out of the bubble" while the Raiders were leading 14-3, was telegraphed from the start.

"When you lock down in that split, it's pretty obvious you know where he's going to run," Amerson said. "I just wanted to make sure I was close enough to the receiver and make a play."

In 12 possessions after the Raiders led 14-0, the closest they got to scoring was a missed 52-yard field-goal attempt by Sebastian Janikowski in the third quarter.

"We just couldn't get anything else going," Allen said. "Obviously, losing McFadden and Marcel hurt, but we've got to find a way to get some more offense going."

After an encouraging three games in terms of moving the ball with Pryor at quarterback, the Raiders were under 300 yards of total offense for the first time this season against a team that went into the game giving up 488 yards per game – the most in the NFL.

The Raiders were 5 for 17 on third-down conversions, and two of those came on Flynn passes of 6 yards to Brice Butler on third and 4 and 12 yards to Jennings on third and 8 on their 10-play, 81-yard touchdown drive.

"We started out pretty well," Flynn said. "They made some adjustments on defense; after that, we weren't converting third downs, and that was obviously the big issue."

Woodson had no issue with the fans booing and said, "If we continue to do what we did at points in today's game, we're going to hear those boos. It ain't going to stop."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jerry McDonald



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