Help Wanted: If you are a healthy quarterback not currently playing – contact the Oakland Raiders.
Third-year quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo made his first career start in place of Rich Gannon in the Raiders 23-13 loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field Sunday. Tuiasosopo, however, tore the medial collateral ligament in his knee after going 6-of-11 for 65 yards. How much time Tuiasosopo will miss is not yet known but his injury meant that Oakland turn No. 3 man Rick Mirer, who last played in a game in 2000 with San Francisco.
Mirer completed 15-of-28 passes for 125 yards and two interceptions. Oakland falls to 2-6 heading and takes a four-game losing streak into next Sunday's home game against the New York Jets.
The Lions capitalized on the first break of the game when Otis Smith intercepted a Tuiasosopo pass at the Oakland 43-yard line. The Lions did not get a first down but Jason Hanson boomed a 54-yard field goal, making it 3-0 Detroit at the 12:54 mark of the first quarter.
Detroit's defense forced its second turnover when a Tuiasosopo connection to Jerry Rice appeared to be enough for first down yardage. Rice, however, fumbled the ball as he was stretching for the first down. Lions linebacker Barrett Green returned the fumble to the Oakland 13. Olandis Gary later scored on a 2-yard run up the middle to make it 10 Lions with 58 seconds left in the opening quarter. The drive was kept alive on Napoleon Harris' third down personal foul.
Oakland closed the deficit to 10-3 on a 55-yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal on the last play of the first half.
Detroit, however, widened the lead to 17-3 when it drove 66 yards on seven plays. Joey Harrington connected with fullback Corey Schlesinger on a 33-yard touchdown strike. Harrington first looked right and fired a pass to Schlesinger, who got behind Raider cornerback Phillip Buchanon, down the left sideline.
Raiders responded with their own scoring march, 14 plays and 79 yards. Oakland ran the ball on 12 of those plays. Charlie Garner capped off the drive with a 7-yard run behind fullback Zack Crockett and right guard Mo Collins to slice the margin in half at 17-10.
Then, it became a field goal battle.
Detroit pushed its lead to 20-10 when Hanson booted a 42-yard field goal the 12:45 mark of the fourth quarter. Oakland later took possession at the Detroit 9 after Nnamdi Asomugha recovered a muffed Reggie Swinton punt. Oakland, however, had to settle for a 24 yard Janikowski field goal and Detroit led 20-13.
Swinton atoned for his previous mistake when he returned the ensuing kickoff 54 yards to the Raider 37. Hanson extended the Lion lead to 23-13 with 5:52 left in the game.
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at email@example.com