When the Raiders took the field against the Patriots in the away-home game in Mexico, they entered crossroads. With losses to the Buffalo Bills, LA Chargers, and quickly plunging Denver Broncos, the Raiders needed a “good win”. After notching a couple against the Titans and the Chiefs, the Raiders enter the meat of their schedule. After last night, this season can probably be written off. That is not to say they do not have the talent to compete, but that has never been the concern.
Few Raiders fans, if any at all, could reasonably expect Oakland to have a chance against the Hydra-Monster that is the Patriots. Even the most diehard could not expect much more than a competitive showing. The type that inspires the confidence needed to go on a run and injects the season with much needed momentum. Instead, the Raiders ate humble pie on in a game most of the country watched with their mortified fans. This was a fork in the road, and it seems the Raiders chose the wrong path.
The hard part now is to figure out where to go from here as there is no map for the Silver and Black. This squad appears rudderless in a sea of mediocrity. Sunday was the same story we have seen all season: drops, fumbles, defensive confusion. At this point the blame is the wet blanket that has covered the entire team. Although, high profile players excelled (Lynch’s 6.0 ypc, Mack dropping Brady, and Carr’s throws, the team had few moments. However, the Patriots win probability never dropped below 50%. In fact the lowest it got the entire game, was just 62.2%, a number analogous to how many throws were wide open for Brady.
Yet, for all of the doom and gloom the Raiders are probably still a decent team. Super Bowl worthy? That question was answered with a resounding no by the Patriots. In that case, the Raiders can no longer ignore the signs. Until this season, many considered Oakland as a great example of the “tear it down and rebuild it” path. Reggie McKenzie figured with good drafting and sound veteran pick-ups that this season would be the one where it all came to fruition. It hasn’t, and now whether through front office changes, coaching switches, or player movement (more likely a combination of it all) the Raiders must reorient themselves in their new reality. After this game the Silver and Black have no margin for error over the next season and a half, they must choose the right players and staff or risk getting loss for the foreseeable future.