OAKLAND — The Raiders must have considered installing a revolving door on their sideline, considering all the personnel changes they had to make in their secondary Sunday. Of the four starters at cornerback and safety, three left the field with injuries at some point in the game.
Free safety Charles Woodson missed just one play, and left cornerback Mike Jenkins returned after sitting out about a quarter's worth of play. But strong safety Tyvon Branch, one of Oakland's defensive leaders, left in the first quarter after suffering what head coach Dennis Allen called "a significant injury" to his ankle while blitzing.
The replacements did well for the Raiders, signaling a greater degree of depth than they've had in the secondary for some time. Brandian Ross had a sack and three tackles subbing for Branch, and Phillip Adams was solid at the corner after Jenkins left.
"All of us can play, top to bottom, so we're not too fazed by injuries and things like that," Ross said. "We all can play together, we all can play different positions, so when one guy goes down, we make some adjustments and keep it going."
<b>O-LINE PLAN GETS NIXED<b/>
The Raiders' unheralded offensive line has been somewhat better than expected so far in 2013, especially considering the injury to starting left tackle Menelik Watson that reshuffled the deck shortly before the start of the regular season. One exception is left guard Lucas Nix, who has struggled in the first two games.
Nix had trouble staying in front of pass rushers Sunday, including one third-quarter play on which Jacksonville's Jeremy Mincey raced past him to sack Terrelle Pryor. Then Nix added injury to insult, leaving with a sore ankle.
Allen admitted afterward that Nix's poor play figured into Andre Gurode's being inserted into the lineup.
"I'm not sure when he hurt the ankle, but obviously with some of the struggles we decided to get him out of the game, so we went in that direction," Allen said.
<b>PUT THE RABBIT BACK IN THE HAT</b>
The Raiders' most creative offensive play Sunday worked like a charm — possibly because they broke the rules to make it happen.
After nosing into Jaguars territory on the opening drive of the second half, quarterback Terrelle Pryor pitched right to Darren McFadden, who stopped and threw an overhand, cross-field lateral to Pryor. The QB then threw a dart downfield to Rod Streater for 27 yards. The crowd loved it, but the offense was flagged for an illegal formation because no one was on the line outside of left tackle Khalif Barnes.
The Raiders managed a field goal on that possession, but Pryor sounded frustrated by the flub.
"I thought that was a big play in the passing game," he said. "When you're a quarterback, you never want to have flags on a pass play — or on a run, but especially on a pass play. It was a big play, a big gain, so definitely unfortunate."
<b>QUOTE OF THE DAY</b>
Rookie linebacker Sio Moore, on jumping the wall into the welcoming arms of the Black Hole after the Raiders' 19-9 victory: "I didn't know it was that high. I almost got stuck a little bit. I had to get pulled in there a little bit."