By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, December 13th, 2010 at 12:15 pm in Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders locker room was a pretty empty place Monday during the media availability period the day after a 38-31 loss to the Jacksonvillle Jaguars, with the general feeling being similar to that of the fisherman’s lament of the one that got away.
“We knew what we were playing for. We knew how important it was, and to have it end up the way it did where we have a nice lead most of the way throughout the game, and then they rallied at the end there,” Raiders tight end Zach Miller said. “We had our chances, and we couldn’t get it done.”
Said tight end Langston Walker: “I mean, we didn’t get killed out there. We were playing well and it just got away from us. I think if we would have had five more minutes it would have been a different story.”
The Raiders task is clear. Win three games to finish 9-7, including a Week 17 win over Kansas City. Meanwhile, the Chargers (7-6) must lose again (they play the 49ers in San Diego Thursday night, then finish with Cincinnati and Denver) and Kansas City must fall at least once in its next two games at St. Louis and at Arrowhead Stadium against Tennessee.
Oakland would hold all tiebreaker advantages in a tie because of a perfect AFC West record.
The loss was only the second in franchise history in a game in which the Raiders scored 30 or more points and 475 or more yards, the first one coming in a 40-34 loss to San Diego on Sept. 22, 1996 when Oakland gained 556 yards.
Oakland had a 30-plus, 475-plus game since 2002 and now have three in their last seven games.
“I knew we were doing pretty well because of the points that were up on the board, but I didn’t know exactly how well we were doing until I looked at stats,” Walker said. “I didn’t really realize how many yards McFadden had. I didn’t know about Jason being perfect (158.3 passer rating) in the first half.
“I guess I’m saying that’s sort of become expected that that’s just the way we are. We put points on the board. We score in the red zone. We build up the stats of the skill players. Unfortunately, we lost.”
– Safety Hiram Eugene said the Raiders deployed their all safety defense for the first time time last week during practice. In the alignment, cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Stanford Routt are both off the field while Stevie Brown, Mike Mitchell, Hiram Eugene, Michael Huff and Tyvon Branch are all on the field at the same time.
Huff, playing as a cornerback, was beaten for a 48-yard touchdown pass by Jason Hill while in that aligmnent. The Raiders went to that alignment when Jacksonville lined up in with two tight ends and a single back. It was an unusual formation considering the second-and-18 down and distance, but Eugene said the Raiders shouldn’t have been surprised.
“We’d watched enough film to know they like to take a shot in that aligment now and then,” Eugene said. “We just didn’t cover it well enough.”
– The NFL announced the Week 16 Sunday night game will be Minnesota at Philadelphia, replacing San Diego at Cincinnati. Any chance the Raiders had of having their Week 16 game against Indianapolis flexed to a Sunday night game evaporated with the loss to Jacksonville.
As it stands, if the Colts were to lose to Jacksonville and the Raiders fall to Denver, both teams would be out of the playoff race.
– Defensive end Trevor Scott made his into the locker room moving very slowly but without crutches or a cane. Scott had season-ending ACL surgery. He declined comment.
More to come after coach Tom Cable’s press briefing at 2 p.m. . . .