OAKLAND (CBS/AP) — As Raiders fans filed out of the Oakland Coliseum early in the fourth quarter, the few who remained showered the home team with boos.
Not exactly the sight or sound owner Mark Davis had envisioned when he talked about a new direction.
Carson Palmer threw one interception that was returned for a score and another in the end zone, a depleted defense did little to slow down Drew Brees and neither did the coaching staff in Oakland’s 38-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Through 10 games this season, the first-year Raiders (3-7) regime of general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen appear to have one monstrous mess to clean up.
“I’m not happy, I’ll put it that way,” Davis said in the locker room afterward, speaking to reporters postgame for the first time all season. “And why should I be?”
Everybody in Raider Nation is asking the same question.
Oakland lost its third straight game under Allen as Brees picked apart the defense with his precision passing. The Raiders have allowed 135 points in three straight defeats — the most in a three-game span for the franchise since allowing 141 in the first three games in 1961.
In the latest showing, Brees threw three touchdown passes and Malcolm Jenkins returned an interception for another score to get the Saints (5-5) back to an even record. Lance Moore caught two touchdown passes and Mark Ingram ran for a score as the Saints won for the fifth time in six games to move into position to make a late-season playoff run despite the season-long distraction from the bounty scandal.
“We’re on our way,” Brees said. “Had you told us or anybody after 0-4 we’d be looking at 5-5 at some point, I think a lot of people might have looked at that and said that’s pretty unrealistic. But here we are. We stayed the course, we didn’t overreact. … We just knew that things were going to turn for us if we just continued to do things the right way, good things were going to happen. And we did that.”
In other words, the kind of turnaround frustrated Raiders fans are hoping to make.
“I think when you look at it,” Allen said, “it’s really the whole thing you’ve got to get better at.”
The Raiders left receivers open all day and struggled to tackle in another thorough beat down. They have been outscored by 56 points the past two games.
The Saints did just about everything the Raiders couldn’t, starting with an efficient opening drive by Brees that set the tone for the game. Brees finished 20 for 27 for 219 yards, extending his own records by throwing a touchdown in his 53rd straight game and completing 20 passes for the 46th straight game.
Brees came out of the game late in the fourth quarter or the score could’ve been even more lopsided.
“I just know that all of us aren’t playing well right now,” Raiders linebacker Philip Wheeler said.
Even New Orleans’ much-maligned defense got into the act. The Saints got the two big turnovers in the first half that got the blowout started and held Oakland to one touchdown until garbage time.
About the only bright spot for the Raiders was fullback Marcel Reece, who rushed for 103 yards and added 90 yards receiving as he started at halfback in place of injured Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson.
“I’m just a little disappointed with the regression,” Davis said. “But like I said, they’ll fight.”
Brees broke open a close game late in the first half when he found Moore all alone in the end zone behind Michael Huff and fill-in safety Mike Mitchell for a 38-yard touchdown pass in the final minute of the first half to make it 21-7.
Travaris Cadet then returned the second-half kickoff 75 yards and Ingram ran it in from the 27 on the next play and the rout was on. Brees and Moore connected one more time in third quarter to make it 35-10.
The Saints easily scored on their first possession as Brees completed five of six passes on an 80-yard drive capped by a 1-yard toss to Jimmy Graham.
Palmer then threw a pair of interceptions on passes to Brandon Myers with Jenkins returning the first 55 yards for a touchdown and Roman Harper picking the second one off in the end zone after it went through Myers’ hands.
“Very frustrated. Very painful loss,” Palmer said. “We knew we had a team and a team that was on a roll and a team that’s a Super Bowl contender coming into our place in front of our fans. We had a great crowd there today, they were into it and we let ourselves down and we let them down by not playing up to our potential and by getting beat the way we did.”
NOTES: Brees has won his last seven starts against the Raiders with 16 touchdowns and no interceptions. … The Raiders failed to score in the final 2 minutes of the first half for the first time this season. … Former Raiders coach Jon Gruden lit the torch honoring late Oakland owner Al Davis.
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)