The Raiders may well make good on their promise to bury their recent past, but a 10-6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Friday night at TCF Bank Stadium in no way inspired confidence among the fan base.
Instead of looking like an intriguing mix of veterans and young players rounding into a playoff contender, the Raiders looked like what they are – a team of players still getting to know one another after a dozen training camp practices.
“We’ve got to clean up our play,’’ Raiders coach Dennis Allen said at halftime. “We had too many mistakes.’’
The offense couldn’t get going, with penalties playing a big role. The defense was shredded by Minnesota quarterback Matt Cassel on their first possession, which ended in a 1-yard scoring run by Matt Asiata. The Vikings also got a 30-yard field goal by Blair Walsh.
The Raiders averted a shutout when third-string quarterback Matt McGloin scored on a 10-yard scramble with 1:25 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Raiders failed on a two-point conversion attempt, hoping to secure a win in regulation rather than get the ball back, tie the game and go to overtime.
Quarterback Matt Schaub, the man identified by general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen to be the 18th different starting quarterback since the Raiders last had a winning season in 2002, completed 3 of 7 passes for 21 yards.
Rookie Derek Carr completed 7 of 10 passes, but for only 45 yards and one of his short throws was too high and glanced off the hands of Jamize Olawale for an interception.
The Raiders’ very first snap was a 5-yard penalty on Menelik Watson for a false start, a prelude to a three-and-out that set up an opening Minnesota possession that conjured up memories of the worst of 2013 in terms of defense.
Cassel, who may or may not hold on to the starting job over rookie Teddy Bridgewater, took the Vikings 70 yards in 10 plays with Matt Asiata scoring from the 1-yard line.
In his only series, Cassel passed for four first downs, two to wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson against cornerback Tarrel Brown, one for 23 yards to Greg Jennings against Carlos Rogers, and finally a 22-yard strike to tight end Kyle Rudolph to the 1 with Tyvon Branch arriving late.
Minnesota, even with Adrian Peterson sitting out the game, had 75 rushing yards on 16 carries in the first half, averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
Penalties included the false start by Watson on the first snap and a face mask on Brian Leonhardt that negated a 7-yard run by Maurice Jones-Drew.
Both came on first down and put Schaub and the Raiders in a hole. They ended up punting. There was also a holding call on left tackle Donald Penn that erased a 16-yard pass from Schaub to Andre Holmes for a first down.
Leonhardt, a defensive hold by Brown that gave the Vikings a first down on third-and-3 and a holding call on Donald Penn that erased a 16-yard Schaub to Andre Holmes strike on third-and-6.
Defensive fouls included a neutral zone infraction on defensive tackle Pat Sims and a defensive holding call on Tarrel Brown which converted a third-and-3 play for a Minnesota first down. That drive ended in Walsh’s 30-yard field goal.
“The penalties are killing us right now, especially on third down,’’ Allen said. “We had a couple of chances to get off the field and we had penalties on defense. Offensively, , we started our first two drives of the game
Minnesota, 5-10-1 last season, was in its first game with new coach Mike Zimmer and playing for the first time at TCF Bank Stadium, home of the University of Minnesota. The Vikings will play at TCF for at least two seasons while awaiting construction of a stadium in downtown Minneapolis.
— Wide receiver Denarius Moore caught three passes for 28 yards including two passes from Carr that thrown behind him.
— Running backs Jones-Drew (2 carries, 10 yards), Darren McFadden (23 yards on one carry) and Latavius Murray (7 rushes, 28 yards) were cause for optimism with decisive running and cutting.
— Rookie Shelby Harris, a seventh-round pick who has moved up to second team, had a strip-sack fumble and also a tackle for loss.
— Place kicker Kevin Goessling, added to the roster just before the trip after Michael Palardy underwent an emergency appendectomy, had a 44-yard field goal attempt blocked in the fourth quarter.