Raiders put aside frustration of down season for stretch run
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) The anger over a lopsided loss in Kansas City that crushed Oakland’s playoff hopes and raised questions about how a team could come out so flat in such an important game has finally simmered.
The Raiders know they can’t do anything to change the result against the Chiefs, which sent them from being in control of the AFC West race to needing lots of help to even get a chance at the postseason.
”I think we’re all pretty upset,” quarterback Derek Carr said Wednesday. ”If you’re not, then you’re obviously not putting enough into it. If you’re wanting to point a finger or those kind of things, I don’t think that that’s right either. If you’re upset with yourself and you’re upset that you didn’t win the game, I still stand by how I felt, man. I was hot to be honest. I put way too much effort into this to go out there and not play my best.”
Carr was not alone in struggling in the 26-15 loss to the Chiefs that left the Raiders (6-7) one game behind Kansas City and the Chargers in the AFC West and one game out of the final wild-card spot with three games to play.
Oakland fell behind 26-0 until scoring two late touchdowns and was thoroughly outplayed on both sides of the ball in the loss to the Chiefs.
”We went out there and laid an egg last weekend,” left tackle Donald Penn said. ”We have to make it better this week. That shows you what true men are, how we bounce back from this. We laid an egg last week. I can’t wait to get back out there and play another game and try to put some good stuff out there and get a win. I don’t want to just sit here and sulk all week. That won’t do my any good.”
The Raiders spent Tuesday hashing over the loss as they usually do before turning attention to this weekend’s game against Dallas. A win against the Cowboys would get Oakland back to .500 but the Raiders will almost definitely also need wins the final two weeks at Philadelphia and the Chargers to have any chance at the postseason.
Even winning out to get to 9-7 may not be enough, with eight teams already having seven wins this season.
”For us, it’s about getting ready for the next one,” coach Jack Del Rio said. ”Whether we’re being praised or we’re being attacked, that doesn’t matter. That’s just the noise on the outside, but inside the building we’re being very purposeful of getting back to work.”
Improving the offense will be a key this week. Oakland struggled to move the ball at all until late in the previous game and an offense that came into the season considered one of the most potent in the league has had few break-out performances.
The Raiders have been held under 20 points seven times already this season and have topped 30 points just twice. With a strong offensive line, Carr, running back Marshawn Lynch and two receivers who topped 1,000 yards last season in Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, scoring wasn’t supposed to be an issue this season.
But that hasn’t been the case as Carr has struggled to push the ball downfield, the running game hasn’t had enough opportunities and the offensive line hasn’t been quite as strong.
Del Rio said the key is just to ”let it rip” and not think too much about making mistakes.
Carr said he’s ready to do just that but acknowledges he needs to strike a balance.
”That’s always going to be a struggle, any quarterback, for your whole life,” he said. ”But, it’s again that fine line that we always talk about. Do you really throw that one when you’re deep down and you shouldn’t, those kinds of things, but then it comes back to easy things. Easy progressions, easy things, man, just letting those goes fast. Play faster, don’t think so much, man, just play.”
NOTES: WR Amari Cooper (ankle) did not practice. … TE Clive Walford and OL Jon Feliciano remain in concussion protocol. … The Raiders placed LB Cory James on injured reserve with a knee injury. … DL Darius Latham was promoted from the practice squad. … DL Joby Saint Fleur was signed to the practice squad.
More AP NFL: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL