CINCINNATI – The Raiders didn’t get the 24-hour rule to enjoy a come-from-behind twice victory over the Pittsburgh.
That high took a sharp downturn the following morning when news broke that general manager Reggie McKenzie had been fired.
That was Monday.
The City of Oakland sued the Raiders and the entire NFL on Tuesday, demanding damages for antitrust violations and a breach of contract.
The Raiders pulled their $7.5 million lease offer to play the 2019 season at Oakland Coliseum, after which owner Mark Davis said “all options are open” for where the Silver and Black might play before moving to Las Vegas in 2020.
Amari Cooper took the mic on Thursday, claiming Davis wanted to trade him around midseason despite Jon Gruden wanting to keep the talented receiver in Oakland.
Then troubled receiver Martavis Bryant got suspended indefinitely on Friday, eliminating already faint prospects he would return to the Raiders next year.
So it seemed only fitting that brutal seven-day stretch would end with a 30-16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals where positive momentum was lost and little seemed to go right.
The Raiders had problems up front, with Kelechi Osemele, Gabe Jackson and Jon Feliciano all unavailable at guard. That’s why Geno Atkins feasted on the inside, but protection problems compounded by rookie left tackle Kolton Miller struggling against Sam Hubbard.
The Raiders struggled to protect Derek Carr, consequently fell behind early and never recovered. Joe Mixon went off thanks to a few big plays, and quarterback Jeff Driskel notched his first win as a starter completing 42.4-percent of his passes at 3.9 yards per attempt. Wrap your head around that.
The prospect of being the last game ever at Oakland Coliseum adds import to next week’s contest, but this season winding toward a merciful end.
These final games are prelude to as important as stretch in franchise history, where ownership must find a place to play in 2019 and Jon Gruden must use significant salary-cap space and three first-round picks to revolutionize the roster.
That’s where interest lies, far more than identifying players to count on next season beyond those we already know.
Gruden naturally wants to finish the season strong, and ultimately enter the offseason on a high note.
“I want to keep battling, keep playing,” Gruden said. “…I want to see us finish with authority, with as much juice as we have, as much heart and soul as we can showcase. That’s what I want to do.”