Tried a new approach this time, waiting awhile after the Raiders played before putting pen to paper, so to speak. As it turns out, there is no putting a positive spin on the latest debacle, this one a 34-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
In the process, the Raiders droppd to 3-8 and invited comparisons to the 2006 and 1997 Raiders teams that many remember as among the least successful.
They also are relegated to competing for a wild-card berth, as silly as that might sound, given they no longer can win a two-way tie with the Denver Broncos for the AFC West title. The Broncos improved to 8-3 and look light years better than the Raiders right now.
The Colts (7-4), Bengals (6-5) and Steelers (6-5) are the teams in the lead for the two wild-card spots in the AFC Playoffs.
Given that, we got a pretty good look today at just how far away the Raiders are from being a playoff-caliber team.
The Bengals jumped to a 24-0 halftime lead, coasted through the third period, survived a brief scare and pulled away for a convincing victory.
Cincinnati’s offensive and defensive lines outplayed their Oakland counterparts, Andy Dalton was more efficient that Carson Palmer at quarterback and, really, what else matters?
– Coach Dennis Allen speaks with the media Monday at 1 p.m. in his weekly news conference.
The interview everyone is eager to hear and read is the one scheduled Friday with general manager Reggie McKenzie.
It should be interesting to hear what McKenzie has to say on the heels of his team’s fourth straight loss, with the coach he fired on the opposing sideline Sunday high-fiving his new players, and the Raiders far less competitive this season than they were when he assumed the new role in January.
– The Raiders have allowed 169 points the past four games. Their point differential on the season is minus-138, two points better than the league-worst Chiefs.
– Not sure if many people noticed, but Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick recorded one tackle. He is the player the Bengals selected with the first-round pick they received from the Raiders as part of the compensation for trading Palmer last season.
Coincidentally, Jackson now is coaching Kirkpatrick. Jackson, of course, is the one that engineered the trade for Palmer. The Raiders also owe the Bengals their 2013 second-round pick as part of the deal.
– Rookie Tony Bergstrom got some more playing time Sunday. It figures to benefit him heading into next season, when he will be a candidate for a starting spot somewhere on the line.
On one play, Bergstrom was unable to keep up with a Bengals defender that got to Palmer.
– Palmer attempted eight passes for wide receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore. The only one that resulted in a reception came on a touchdown to Moore late in the game.
Heyward-Bey dropped a perfect pass on one throw, and Moore had at least one that seemed catchable.
On the bright side, rookie receiver Juron Criner caught three of the five passes thrown his way.
– Linebacker Philip Wheeler and defensive end Matt Shaughnessy recorded one sack each for the Raiders. That gives the Raiders 13 on the season, 3 1/2 fewer than 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith.
– Still don’t understand the rule where the Bengals lost a fumble, the Raiders recovered, everyone agreed on both, yet because of an inadvertent whistle by the officials the Bengals were allowed to choose between taking the result of the play or replaying the down.
Fortunately for the Raiders, it didn’t cost them the game. It did cost them a chance to get back in the game and have an outside shot at a comeback. They deserved that chance.
Look for this rule to be one of several that gets changed in the offseason.