By Sam McPherson
Time is wasting for the 2014 Oakland Raiders.
And we’re not talking about the short week of preparation for Thursday night’s nationally televised matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Coliseum in Oakland.
The Silver & Black are looking down the barrel at history right now, trying to avoid an 0-16 season that would place them in the annals of shame next to the 2008 Detroit Lions and the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers — some of the worst teams in modern NFL history.
But that’s right where Oakland is right now: 0-10 without a favorable matchup left on the schedule in 2014. These Raiders probably aren’t the worst team in the NFL this year, but the 1-9 Jacksonville Jaguars have a win under their belts; they pulled off a win somehow.
We all have seen the Raiders come close five times this year, losing by a touchdown or less. The team just hasn’t been able to turn the corner, and now it may be too late.
Just look at the rest of the schedule:
- November 20: Kansas City Chiefs (7-3)
- November 30: @ St. Louis Rams (4-6)
- December 7: San Francisco 49ers (6-4)
- December 14: @ Kansas City
- December 21: Buffalo Bills (5-5)
- December 28: @ Denver Broncos (7-3)
Remember, the Rams have beaten the 49ers, the Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks this year, so that doesn’t look as promising in reality as it might on paper. And the Bills, well … they have the No. 6 defense in the league currently, and Buffalo will be fighting for its first playoff spot since the 1990s.
Oakland will just be fighting for pride, and it’s somewhat amazing they’ve kept their poise throughout this disastrous season.
(Yes, the other three teams above have had their vulnerable moments, too, but each was a postseason participant last year and is aiming for the same this season. The Raiders can’t match their talent levels or their focus right now — not even close.)
Remember, too, that Oakland is dead last in the league in rushing offense, on pace to break the 2000 San Diego Chargers’ record for the worst team rushing performance in a 16-game season. Those Bolts ran for 1,062 yards that season, and these Raiders are on pace now for just 1,008 yards.
How do you win without a running game? You really can’t, especially with a rookie quarterback at the helm. How do you win with a bad defense? You don’t, really, especially when they can’t get off the field very often.
That’s the recipe for NFL disaster right there: no running game, no defense, rookie QB.
This is not how General Manager Reggie McKenzie drew it up, yet it seems like he should have known this was coming, right? That’s his job, after all. He put the roster together, and why he still has a job is a big mystery to everyone who follows the Raiders and still cares about them.
It’s almost too bad that Oakland ends the season in Denver, because it would be a fun scene at the Coliseum if the Raiders end up losing that 16th game on December 28. The fans could have shown up wearing their best funeral black, and the post-game ceremonies would have been extraordinary.
But alas, the Silver & Black probably will be another footnote in Peyton Manning’s record-breaking career somehow that last weekend in December when they finish 0-16.
Of course, they’ll always be remembered, anyway, and it won’t be a good thing—especially if the Raiders bolt for Los Angeles or San Antonio in 2015: What a memory to leave behind, along with a lackluster legacy, for their “hometown” fans.
For more Raiders news and updates, visit Raiders Central.
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering all things Oakland A’s. His work can be found on a Examiner.com.