The Oakland Raiders dropped to 4-11 on the season with a 17-6 loss to the Carolina Panthers. The team also lost starting quarterback Carson Palmer to a rib injury in the first quarter. His x-rays were negative, but he was unable to return to the game. Before the injury, Palmer was able to complete a 22 yard pass to third string quarterback Terrelle Pryor putting him over 4,000 passing yards for the year. He joins Rich Gannon as the only Raiders' quarterbacks in that club.
Without Palmer, the Raiders turned to Matt Leinart, instead of Pryor. Leinart struggled to move the offense completing 16 of 32 passes for only 115 yards and an interception. The interception came on a bad decision to throw into heavy coverage and the pass was intercepted by rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly. With all the success Oakland had rushing the ball last week, they struggled this week totaling only 47 yards.
The offense continues to settle for field goals in the redzone. They were next to last in the NFL in touchdown percentage in the redzone and came away with two Sebastian Janikowski field goals in two trips this week. Oakland has not scored a touchdown in two games.
Defensively, the Raiders put together a solid effort, but Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was able to make a few plays. Late in the first quarter, Newton found wide receiver Steve Smith down the sideline for a 23 yard touchdown. The referees missed an obvious holding call as Newton scrambled out of the pocket. The Raiders answered the touchdown with a field goal making it a 7-3 game.
Late in the second quarter, Leinart threw the interception to Kuechly, who returned it to the Oakland 29. Four plays later, Newton capitalized with a three yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 14-3 at the half. Newton finished with 170 yards on 18 of 29 passing one touchdown and one interception. He added 12 carries for 60 yards and a score on the ground.
In the second half, the Oakland offense continued their ineptitude. Their only score came after rookie Miles Burris intercepted a deflected pass. It was the first interception for Newton in 176 pass attempts and the first of Burris' career. He returned the turnover to the Carolina 18. With the help of a Panther's penalty, the Raiders moved the ball to the 3, where running back Darren McFadden found a hole and got in for the touchdown. The score was called back for a holding penalty on center Stefen Wisniewski and Oakland settled for a Janikowski field goal to cut the lead to one score at 14-6.
Oakland had a few chances to pull closer but were unable to convert two fourth downs, resulting in two turnover on downs. The Panthers added a Graham Gano 51 yard field goal with 2:46 left in the fourth quarter to end the Raiders chances.
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