The pivotal third preseason game for Matthew Stafford and the Lions turned out to be a Bay Area bruiser.
Stafford threw for 68 yards until leaving with an injury to his non-throwing hand in Detroit’s 31-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Saturday.
Defensive end Dave Tollefson drove Stafford to the ground after an incomplete pass in the second quarter. Team trainers wrapped Stafford’s left hand in heavy bandages and a brace on the sideline. Shaun Hill took over on Detroit’s next possession.
Oakland sidelined several more Detroit players.
Cornerback Bill Bentley departed with a shoulder injury and Chris Houston with a left ankle injury in the first half for the Lions (tied for No. 11 in the AP Pro32). Running back Kevin Smith also left with a right ankle injury and trainers wrapped bandages around Mikel Leshoure’s midsection after his final run.
The Raiders remained mostly injury free — one of the bright spots from the starting unit — and relied on backup Terrelle Pryor to provide the spark.
Carson Palmer again lacked the poise and polish of a seasoned veteran, dazzling at times with crisp passes, but also throwing two interceptions in another on-again, off-again performance. The second interception, however, was bobbled by Eddie McGee and into the hands of linebacker Stephen Tulloch.
Palmer completed 17-of-26 passes for 181 yards until he was replaced by Pryor in the third quarter.
Pryor scrambled for 59 yards and later shook off a sack for a 17-yard touchdown run. The former Ohio State standout also threw a 39-yard TD to Juron Criner, who twisted back to haul in the underthrown ball over a defender, and a 76-yard pass across his body to Criner running a post pattern across the middle for another score.
Pryor’s final line: 3 for 5 for 137 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 90 yards and a score on five carries.
The highlights for Oakland’s first-team offense were limited.
Darrius Heyward-Bey caught a 41-yard pass between the hands of Justin Miller in the second quarter for the longest completion by Palmer of the preseason. Darren McFadden fumbled on Oakland’s fifth play inside the 1-yard line, rookie coach Dennis Allen challenged the call and officials ruled the running back crossed the goal line before losing the ball to put Oakland (No. 23) ahead 7-3 lead.
Eddy Carmona kicked a 56-yard field from the infield dirt as time expired in the first half to give the Raiders a 10-6 lead. Starter Sebastian Janikowski missed an attempt from 30 yards earlier.
With starters typically playing more in the third preseason game than any other, Detroit’s day almost turned disastrous.
Stafford completed his first six passes for 47 yards until Tollefson batted his ball down at the line of scrimmage on third-and-7 in Oakland territory. Detroit settled for a 41-yard field goal by Jason Hanson.
The Lions went three-and-out after Stafford was pressured and threw incomplete to Titus Young when Tollefson tackled the quarterback to the ground. He finished 8 of 10 passing.