Once a week throughout the 2013 season, we will focus upon on a player or matchup that could prove troublesome for the Giants in their upcoming game. This week’s spotlight is on Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
The Giants have been very good against the run this season. Entering Sunday’s game vs. Oakland, the Giants are allowing the fifth-fewest yards per carry and the ninth-fewest rushing yards per game in 2013.
However, the Giants have run into a few problems against clubs with mobile quarterbacks.
In Week Three, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton rushed for 45 yards and a touchdown on seven carries in Carolina’s rout of Big Blue. Overall, the Giants allowed a season-high 194 yards on the ground on 46 carries.
Two weeks later, the Eagles rushed for 140 yards in a victory against the Giants at MetLife Stadium. All but 10 of the yards came in the first two quarters, with quarterback Michael Vick racking up 79 yards on just seven attempts before suffering a hamstring injury.
On Sunday, the Giants have to deal with another solid ground game featuring a skilled rushing quarterback.
The Raiders, who visit MetLife Stadium Sunday, are fourth in the NFL in rushing yards per contest (147.8), fourth in yards per carry (5.0) and seventh in rushing attempts per game (29.6).
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who has started all but one game for the Raiders, has been a big part of Oakland’s rushing efforts. He leads the team in rushing yards (485) and is second in attempts (63). No quarterback has rushed for more yards than Pryor, who is sixth in the AFC in rushing.
Exactly one-fifth of Pryor’s rushing yards came on one play: a 93-yard TD sprint against Pittsburgh on Oct. 27.
On the play, the Steelers had all but one player — safety Ryan Clark — within eight yards of the line of scrimmage.
Pryor took a shotgun snap, then faked a handoff to running back Darren McFadden. The Steelers crashed the middle. This included Clark, who sprinted up toward the line.
To the right, Raiders slot receiver Rod Streater got a good block on Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. This created a big alley for Pryor.
Now, the Steelers were in big trouble. By the time Pryor passed Polamalu at around the Oakland 10-yard line, it was clear the Raiders’ quarterback was on his way to a long gain. It was a just a matter of whether the Steelers could catch him. Alas, they could not, and Pryor was never touched on his way to the long TD run by a quarterback in NFL history.
An exceptional athlete, the 6-foot-4, 233-pound Pryor’s mobility makes him dangerous in the passing game, too. He can keep plays alive with his feet and turn broken pass plays into positive run plays. Moreover, Pryor has shown good skill as a passer, too, completing 61.1 percent of his throws.
Pryor left Sunday’s loss vs. Philadelphia with a knee injury, though he reportedly indicated the ailment wasn’t serious. He was back with the team for a full practice on Wednesday.
Pryor’s unique talents can make the Raiders’ offense hum. If he plays on Sunday, the Raiders’ upset chances will be enhanced. Just ask the Steelers, who know all too well of Pryor's ability to tilt the game in Oakland's favor in a snap.