Just like the befuddled fan base, even head coach Jack Del Rio was at a loss for words after his Oakland Raiders’ latest overture in the pathetic.
“I can’t answer to that,” he said when asked why the team went away from what was working well in the team’s opening-scoring drive. “I wasn’t – nobody was saying, ‘Don’t take a shot’ – I can’t speak to that right now.”
While Del Rio fumbled with reasoning, his squad fumbled on the field as the hapless Raiders fell 34-14 to the Buffalo Bills and are now 3-5 on the season. If it wasn’t evident before, this year is truly Silver & Bleak after a mirage 12-4 campaign last season.
“None of us planned on being 3-5,” said tight end Lee Smith, an ex-Bill. “We’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror and do our job. It stings and it’s going to sting for the next 24 hours.”
The Raiders don’t appear to be horrified by the ugly reflection. This isn’t the first time the team has face planted. Perhaps they’ve gotten accustomed to the horrendous sight staring right back at them in the mirror?
Oakland has eight more games left. And it’s up to coaches and players to see what those contests will hold. Inspiration or exasperation?
There was plenty of the latter in Sunday’s loss.
- Linebacker Cory James healthy. The sophomore was a man on fire as he shot the gaps and was a sure-tackler. He led the team with eight solo tackles and Oakland will need more of that going forward.
- Giving rookie safety Shalom Luani snaps. It was an expected mixed back for the seventh-rounder as he was around the ball but also whiffed on tackle attempts. But live snaps are valuable and Luani should be the safety off the bench and not Keith McGill.
- Lee Smith in the game plan. The stout blocker is an afterthought in the passing game for both the Raiders offense and opposing defense. He’s shown good hands when thrown the rock this year.
- The play calling from the first drive. It was a methodical, 13-play, 81-yard scoring drive that saw Jamize Olawale hit paydirt from one-yard out.
- The dink and dunk offense. The Raiders offense is predicated on quarterback Derek Carr’s live arm. The explosive chunk play is Oakland’s calling card. Not the Captain Checkdown stuff.
- Lack of creativity and execution on offense. This goes hand-in-hand with the first one, but what happened to exploiting defense’s inability to cover Amari Cooper? Was that a one-game thing?
- Getting confounded by soft zone defenses. Washington provided the league the blueprint on how to stymie Todd Downing’s offense. The Raiders offensive coordinator has yet to come up with an answer.
- Butterfingers. Four fumbles is bad. Losing two of them is downright a death sentence to Oakland’s hopes for victory. The Raiders cannot afford to cough up the ball when the defense can’t force a takeaway themselves.
- The disparity in time of possession. Oakland went 3-of-10 on third-down conversions and its offense was on the field for only 24 minutes and 23 seconds. Yikes. That meant the defense was on the field for 35:37. That’s way too much time for any defense to be on the field.