Filed for print . . .
ALAMEDA _ Jack Del Rio has looked at the probability of the Raiders making the postseason, and compared it actor Jim Carrey’s line in a 1994 comedy movie.
“I think we’re a one percent chance or something,” Del Rio said Monday at his weekly press briefing. `That’s not real good odds. It’s kind of like the `Dumb and Dumber’ deal . . . so we still have a chance?”
In the movie, Carrey is told his chances at romance were “a million to one,” and was delighted at the odds because he still had a chance.
It was a moment of levity to ease the disappointment of a 34-20 home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
With the home crowd roaring, the Raiders held a 20-13 lead, had reached the Kansas City 33 and were poised to take a two score lead.
It was then quarterback Derek Carr was hit by Dee Ford while attempting to extend a play, Josh Mauga intercepted the pass and ran 66 yards to set up a Chiefs touchdown.
By the time the game ended, Carr had two other passes intercepted, one setting up a touchdown and the final one returned for a 38-yard touchdown by Tyvon Branch, and the Raiders had lost 34-20.
“Our fans were so fired up yesterday,” Del Rio said. “There’s nothing more that our team wanted to do than deliver a big victory and put ourselves in second place in the thick of the playoff hunt.”
The Raiders hope to bounce back against Denver, which is 10-2 with a three-game lead over the second place Chiefs and currently the No. 2 seed in the AFC behind Cincinnati.
After Denver comes home games against Green Bay (8-4) and San Diego (3-9) before finishing the season at Kansas City (7-5). The opposition’s record of 28-22 over the past four games is the most difficult of any team on the periphery of the playoff race.
“The reality is we have a good group of players,” Del Rio said. “They believe in each other. We know we have not played our best football yet. We feel like we have a chance to do that in the last month.”
Del Rio said he hadn’t lost faith in Carr, who is learning the hard way how to straddle the line between being the quarterback who gunned a 25-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree between two defenders and the guy who made some ill-advised throws while trying to do too much later in the game.
“The guy is super talented. He’s taken all the responsibility he needs to,” Del Rio said. “I think we all share in our responsibility of how we can better prepare. I completely believe in the young man and I’m confident that he’ll learn from that experience yesterday and be stronger going forward.”
Of Carr’s nine interceptions this season, seven have come in the fourth quarter and two on throws into the end zone.
— Sebastian Janikowski missed a 49-yard field goal attempt and an extra point against the Chiefs. On Oct. 11, he had a low kick blocked and had another miss in a 16-10 loss to Denver.
Del Rio said he will not hesitate to put Janikowski on the field for an important kick over the last four games.
“I believe in what I see, the way he’s worked at it,” Del Rio said. “Obviously he knows that we need points any time we line up for them and we count on him for that.”
— It looks like the season of rookie linebacker Neiron Ball is over. The fifth-round draft pick, injured in his first start on Oct. 25 against San Diego, has been rehabbing ever since.
It was hoped Ball would be back in a month, but now he could be headed for injured reserve.
“I think it will be tough for him to make it back,” Del Rio said. “At some point we’ll have to make a decision.
Del Rio said tests on the injured knee of safety Nate Allen were negative and that he’ll be day to day this week.
— Denver coach Gary Kubiak told reporters at his weekly press conference that Peyton Manning would start throwing but wouldn’t practice and the plan was for Brock Osweiler, 3-0 as a starter, to start against the Raiders.