When the Raiders signed former QB Matt McGloin this offseason as an undrafted free agent rookie, the former Penn State walk on wasn’t intended to be one of the top 53 players, much less the starter this week versus Houston.
Coach Allen confirmed he wasn’t looking at McGloin as anything other than another arm in training camp, saying this week, “Listen, when he first got here he was just a camp arm, and he’s just gone about his business on a day-in and day-out basis and never has really let anything affect him.” He added, “Early on he wasn’t getting a whole lot of reps, and he just kept working his way up.”
McGloin got his first start, today, because of a knee injury to starting QB Terrelle Pryor and he made the most of his sudden start, leading the Raiders to a win in Houston 28-23 over the Texans. It was only the 4th game the Raiders have won this year and their first road win, as well.
McGloin looked good, too, by all accounts. He was a statistically decent but not great 18 of 32 for 197 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. However, that stat line was effected by a number of drops in the Raiders still-struggling receiving corps.
More importantly, McGloin looked calm and decisive. He did a good job dropping back and getting the ball out of his hand quickly to negate the Texans’ pass rush and as a result, he was sacked only twice for only 21 yards.
McGloin wasn’t the only backup that had a great day. Rashad Jennings, who has been behind McFadden on the depth chart since training camp, had a great day, running for 150 yards on only 22 carries, a 6.8 yard per carry average.
That average was dramatically bumped upwards by an 80 yard touchdown scamper that ended up being the final Raiders score and the deciding points in the game. Taking that one run out, Jennings averaged a more pedestrian 3.3 yards per carry. Still, Jennings ran hard all game, grinding out tough yards and pushing to get as far as possible before going down.
The Raiders defense did a good if not great job on the day. While they did allow a less than stellar 23 points, they did a great job of getting the Texans off the field on 3rd down, allowing only 2 3rd down conversions on 16 tries in the entire game. They also stopped Houston on their only 4th down conversion attempt.
More important, the defense came up with some key turnovers. They created a few fumbles – only one of which was recovered by the Raiders – and middle LB Nick Roach also intercepted a Case Keenum pass. The offense didn’t turn the ball over at all, so the Raiders were +2 in turnover differential on the day, which is often the biggest key to winning.
The game wasn’t always pretty – with the Raiders offense going through a long spell in the second half where they struggled to do anything other than go three and out – but it was a victory, which is always difficult to achieve in the NFL.
The Raiders will travel home and prepare to face the Tennessee Titans in the Black Hole next week. Dennis Allen wouldn’t commit to his starting QB immediately after the game, but it says here that McGloin should and will get another chance next week.