By Ryan Leong
You really have to respect Raider fans for their lifelong devotion and their willingness to support a bad product by buying tickets and merchandise, but you have to wonder if the Raider Nation die-hards need to be resuscitated after the latest debacle.
The Raiders got embarrassed again, this time by the Cincinnati Bengals. And in doing so, the Raiders reached their lowest point this season by getting involved in a bench-clearing brawl in the fourth quarter that just emphasized all the frustrations that have been boiling over for weeks. Expect the front office to release more players, especially ones that continually fail to perform.
Final score: Cincinnati Bengals 34, Oakland Raiders 10
It appears Coach Dennis Allen is getting his players prepared, but like a tutor who helps a struggling student, the bottom line is the student is the one taking the test, not the tutor. Just like the scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High where Mr. Hand is simply puzzled by his students, the Raiders are regressing. They’re not playing well or playing up to their potential. It even resulted in quarterback Carson Palmer giving a halftime speech to motivate his teammates, but what can he say at this point to make things better? Wins solve a lot of problems and losing just magnifies them. Grade: F
The Raiders fell behind 24-0 at halftime, which is an insurmountable number especially for this team. Palmer, for the first time this season, failed to pass for 200 yards. He was 19-of-34 for 146 yards, on interception, one fumble and four sacks. Even more bizarre were his postgame comments about how much he loved playing As a Bengal at Paul Brown Stadium with the atmosphere from the crowd — this coming from a guy who couldn’t wait to get the heck out of there and held out until he was traded to Oakland. The only bright spot was a third quarter in which the Raiders dominated and outscored Cincinnati 10-0. Palmer also threw a nice pass that Denarius Moore ran underneath in the end zone for the lone Raider touchdown. Grade: D
The Raiders defense has allowed a whopping 169 points in four games (a franchise worst) while scoring only 79 points over that span. They gave up 34 points in this one. Bengals QB Andy Dalton had three touchdown passes and was 16-of-30 for 210 yards. Oakland LB Miles Burris had 13 tackles, seven solo, but there are no moral victories when you get your butts kicked…again! Grade F
Shane Lechler had six punts for 281 yards, averaging 46.8. Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 55-yard field goal which for him is practically a chip shot. Phillip Adams had another poor game as a punt returner with just two for 17 yards. Coye Francies is turning into a very good kick returner, though, with five for 117 yards, averaging 23.4 per return. Overall, there was nothing special, which is typical of the Raiders’ special teams. Grade C
More than anything else, this game will be remembered for a controversial call that led to a fourth quarter melee. Since the move to Los Angeles in 1982, Raider fans became notorious for adopting the logo and Silver and Black colors because it emphasized the team’s “bad boy” mystique, but from 2003 on, the only thing synonymous with the Raiders’ image is losing. Acting tough falls flat when the team is mediocre — or worse, as is the case this year. The worst news is that with the team falling to 3-8, the team’s last winning season remains 2002. with five games left, Oakland either wins out or has its first losing season since 2009.
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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.