By Ryan Leong
The Oakland Raiders are sinking like the Titanic…slowly at first but as time passes, the ship is sinking faster and faster. Oakland is quickly heading south and Sunday’s 38-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints was as bad, if not worse, than the 55-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens a week ago.
Yes, the team has injuries, but so do the other 31 teams in the National Football League. That is no excuse for their poor execution. Basically the Raiders are listless. Oakland has lost three straight and allowed 30 or more points six times this season.
After the loss, head coach Dennis Allen kept repeating that’d the team would get better and keep working. He has said it so often, it reminding fans of the following presser from Allen Iverson.
Raiders head coach Dennis Allen is not facing reality. Only teams that are terrible make crazy assumptions. For instance, last week after falling to 3-6, he said the best the Raiders could hope for, was a 10-6 record. There’s no way they could run the table, yet after this blowout loss, quarterback Carson Palmer said they can still hope for a 9-7 record. It’s just ridiculous to say something like that — that’s putting the cart before the horse.
This team simply doesn’t have the talent or the accountability at the top of the organization, although owner Mark Davis met with reporters after Sunday’s loss, so that perhaps is a start. This game was just terrible though from start to finish. Maybe Allen is getting his team prepared, but they’re not playing like it on the field.
It’s getting to the point where the players’ confidence is razor thin. Unless Oakland takes an early lead, the attitude of everyone seems fatalistic.
While it sounds cliché, when Tom Cable coached the team, his motto was to be 1-0 that week. That should be the Raiders main goal, evoking the famous saying by the late Al Davis, “Just win, baby!” Grade: F
Credit goes to fullback/receiver/running back Marcel Reece, who is doing it all. Oakland had 404 total net yards, 193 of those multi-purpose yards by Reece. Palmer was 22-of-40 for 312 yards with two touchdowns but he also threw two interceptions. One of those picks was returned by Malcolm Jenkins 55 yards for a touchdown. Palmer never was in rhythm and many of his yards came long after the game’s outcome was decided. Tight end Brandon Myers had a one-yard TD catch but he also dropped a TD that turned into an interception. Myers was rightfully very upset as he slammed his helmet into the ground when he returned to the bench. Grade C-
Granted, it was to All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees and the talented New Orleans Saints, but the Raiders again surrendered a lot of points: 38 on Sunday for a total of 135 over three games, the most this season over that span. It’s also the most points allowed by the Raiders in a three-game span since 1961 when they gave up 141. That year the team was 2-12. The Saints were 6-of-11 on third down conversions. Grade F
Phillip Adams had one punt return, but it was a fair catch. As for the kick returners, Coye Francies had four returns for 94 yards. But the Raiders allowed Travaris Cadet of the Saints to run back three kicks totaling 123 yards, his longest being 75 yards. Sebastian Janikowski kicked a field goal and had two extra points. Shane Lechler had three punts totaling 135 yards, his longest being 53 yards. Grade D
The Raiders just don’t have anything going their way right now. Team owner Mark Davis made a rare appearance in the locker room and spoke to reporters for several minutes voicing his displeasure.
“I’m not happy, but nobody in this room is,” Davis said. “I think finding a direction for the franchise and moving forward and seeing progress week to week would have been a happier time right now, but that’s still possible. It’s absolutely a challenge. It’s just the results of the game and you win or you lose and it hasn’t been close in the last three weeks. You can’t blame it on the salary cap. You have players, you coach them and you play. You’ve got to be Raiders.”
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Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.