DENVER — Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor has seen the scores. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos have put up 40-plus points in their first two games and made offense look easy.
As Pryor heads into his fourth NFL start when the Raiders play at Denver on Monday night, Pryor knows the temptation will be to put more on his shoulders, to try to match the Broncos score for score all by himself — to try to out-Peyton Peyton.
In his short time in the league, Pryor has already figured out that's no way to approach this game.
"When you do that, you'll come up short because Peyton is a great quarterback," the third-year veteran said. "It reminds me of Tiger Woods, when his competitors were kind of going against him and they kind of folded because they pressed. I've got to stay away from doing that."
If the Raiders (1-1) are going to have any chance, it figures to come on the strength of their league-leading rushing offense (198.5 yards per game) and a defense that finished Week 2 tied for the NFL lead in sacks with nine.
Pryor, who won the starting job over offseason pickup Matt Flynn, had 162 yards rushing in the first two games — most among quarterbacks in a league featuring Michael Vick, Colin Kaepernick and RG3 — though he insists running is only a last option.
"I know if I have pressure and guys get in, that's when I think about running," said Pryor, a third-round selection in the 2011 supplemental draft, who goes down in history as the last pick made by Al Davis. "I'm not going to take hits, but if I have a pocket that's open and I know that I can set there and go through all my progressions, I'm going to do it. But if I can't, of course, I'm going to use my God-given ability."
Manning's God-given ability, of course, is throwing the football. Last week, he joined Brett Favre and Dan Marino as only the third NFL quarterbacks to surpass the 60,000-yard mark for his career.