One of the few rallying points for the Raiders has been its disdain for former receiver Antonio Brown. The harmonious “disparaging remarks” picked up through ESPN live television microphones were sung by a sold out Coliseum full of strangers like a chorus at the Opera House.
Monday Night Football against the Denver Broncos almost seems like an eternity ago. Two blowout losses have Raider Nation in a whirlwind of negativity and despair. Losing to the Chiefs in Week 2, while Patrick Mahomes busted loose in the second quarter for 4 TD passes (yes, 4 TD passes in a quarter), had them seeing red.
The Raiders are devastated by illness with a fair amount of injuries and first week aches and pains. They flew to U.S. Bank Stadium in week three showdown with the Minnesota Vikings. But in the end, they got battered, bullied, and beaten nearly into submission.
The 34-14 finish gave the Raiders more respectability than what they earned for majority of the game. Lets be honest, no matter how many of us have or haven’t played the game, Derek Carr played a lousy game. 31-7 heading into the fourth quarter flat out isn’t getting it done.
To open the season, Carr had the eye of the tiger, spoke to no one, and was locked in with one goal in mind; Nothing was going to stand in his way. He was going to shred up his opponent and win in front of the home fans. Starting fast.
Then the Chiefs showed up with precipitating thoughts of Pedro Martinez’s famous quote. “The Yankees are my daddy.”
At this point, six years into his career, we have to collectively acknowledge the elephant in the room. Carr has beaten the Chiefs twice.
Once, on the welcome to the Tay Train game and was made famous by two tremendous runs from Latavius Murray. The second was during the Untimed Bowl. Carr lit the Chiefs up when he threw 29/52 for 417 yards and three TDs and wasn’t sacked once. This is the only game he hasn’t been sacked by the Chiefs.
Having begrudgingly accepted the course for greatness Mahomes is on, the Chiefs are not going anywhere. They appear to have an endless supply of lightning fast receivers who can make the best use of Mahomes’ arm.
The NFL is far from a perfect world and Carr is going to need to find a way back to that place against the Broncos. The Raiders have caught quite a few lucky breaks in their offensive match ups in all three games. Yet, they’ve only managed to win and score more than twice, once.
The long and the short of the Minnesota loss is it was a bad game and there’s plenty of blame to go around.
The team has the opportunity to prove to the world this season isn’t over. As the injuries mount early in the season, the Raiders don’t plan on rolling over just yet. On the road for four of the next five games, all the ingredients are in place for a lame duck final year to close out the last days of football in Oakland.
At 1-2, the season has just begun. A single victory gets them back to .500, which keeps the Raiders in the playoff hunt (mathematically). Also puts them in second place in the division behind the Chiefs doing their yearly season-opening multi-game run.
Most importantly, a victory washes away all the stink of the last two games. It will absolve the two horrendous performances the offense has put out and help reunite Raider Nation in solidarity behind its quarterback.
Winning will help the rookies who have all been drafted from universities, where a single loss takes you out of title contention, get back to their winning ways and chase the culture of losing away. Winning will help the coach because nothing helps players buy into what the coach is selling quite like winning.
Believe it or not, the Raiders offensively aren’t as bad as they’ve looked. Once Josh Jacobs is totally recovered from his health issues, the running lanes are there for him. Darren Waller has been everything as advertised and helped us to forget about the last pro bowl tight end the Raiders have had.
Those two young horses may very well be the X-factors to the Raiders chances of winning Sunday in Indy against the Colts, and for the rest of the season. Young team or not, Raider Nation doesn’t want to see the Raiders continue to lose.