The four straight three-and-outs were bad enough for the Oakland Raiders offense in the first half.
Quarterback Matt Schaub’s fumble on a sack on fourth down at the Green Bay Packers 26 late in the second quarter made the night even tougher for the Raiders.
After a promising start, it was another subpar preseason outing for Oakland’s first-string offense in a 31-21 loss Friday night at Lambeau Field.
Schaub finished 13 of 27 for 110 yards. Maurice Jones-Drew took advantage of a few missed tackles for a 40-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
That was it for the Raiders until the fourth quarter, when backup quarterback Matt McGloin threw for two late scores to Brice Butler against a defense littered with backups.
“When you go out and don’t get the job done as a team, each player needs to have a little self-reflection and see how they can be better,” said Schaub, the former Houston Texans starter.
The game was stopped for several minutes in the second quarter after Raiders linebacker Sio Moore was taken off the field, and coach Dennis Allen said “the initial word is really mostly a neck strain.”
Moore lifted a thumb to acknowledge a crowd that gave him a standing ovation while he was taken off on a stretcher. He had tests at a hospital before returning to Lambeau Field.
“I don’t know what kind of timeline that means, but obviously the most encouraging thing is that Sio’s fine,” Allen said.
Oakland also lost two other defensive starters to head injuries in cornerback Tarell Brown and linebacker Nick Roach.
A first-team defense that allowed three touchdown drives in four possessions in the first two preseason games had its ups and down against Aaron Rodgers, who finished 9 of 20 for 139 yards playing into the second quarter.
The 2011 NFL MVP’s completion rate would have been higher if not for a handful of drops. He connected on touchdowns to tight end Andrew Quarless and receiver Jordy Nelson.
Eddie Lacy just played in the first series, but the 2013 Offensive Rookie of the Year had the Raiders on their heels. He finished with six rushes for 36 yards and a touchdown.
DuJuan Harris, third on the running back depth chart, added 56 yards on 12 carries, and added 42 yards on two catches. Last year’s backup running back, James Starks, had nine yards on seven carries.
A Raiders defense that allowed an average of 89.5 yards over the first weeks allowed 78 in the first half.
“It’s a long season, so with three backs we should be able to stay fresh and be able to go fast the whole season,” Lacy said.
Jones-Drew tried to match Lacy score for score, but the Packers defensive starters held Oakland scoreless from there.
Julius Peppers had his first sack of the preseason, and stood up Raiders running back Darren McFadden in traffic for a short gain around left end. It was just the kind of big-play production that coach Mike McCarthy was hoping to get from Peppers when the Packers signed the former Chicago Bear as a free agent.
“Yeah, really our No. 1 defense, we had that big play we gave up. Other than that, I thought we dominated the line of scrimmage,” McCarthy said.
Across the field, the Raiders were struggling for answers about the offense. Allen isn’t about to pin the responsibility just on Schaub – or any other singular player for that matter.
“Offensively, we’ve got to improve ourselves in the passing game. That’s a full-time team effort. That’s not about one individual,” Allen said.
Schaub’s best chance for a touchdown pass came in the third quarter, but backpedaling fullback Marcel Reese bobbled one pass away in the end zone before Jones’ scoring grab was overturned.
Both Jones and safety Charles Woodson got ovations when the former Packers were shown on the video boards. McCarthy said they still have a special place in the history of the team for their contributions in the Super Bowl-winning season of 2010.
Woodson saw another positive after the defense kept the Packers from getting past their own 30 in three drives after Lacy’s score.
“I think we’re ready to take a jump. I really do,” Woodson said. “We had that first drive, but I felt like we settled down.”