ALAMEDA – If Sunday’s 34-3 loss to the New York Jets was the Raiders’ worst defeat of the season, what happened in Week 3 comes in a close second. An argument could be made that Minnesota debacle on Sept. 22 belongs on top, considering how dominant the Vikings were more than two months ago.
The rankings don’t matter much now. Every loss counts the same.
What happened after the Minnesota mess should give the Raiders confidence they can rebound well from their latest setback. The Silver and Black won two straight games away from Oakland after getting trounced 34-14 by the Vikings, winning in Indianapolis and then beating Chicago in London.
There’s proof the Raiders can rebound well and avoid letting one bad game impact others on the schedule.
“Hopefully we can take what happened here [against the Jets] and learn from it like we did against the Vikings,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “We got our face kicked in a little bit. You have to look forward right away, and hopefully this loss wakes everybody up.”
Rebounding well is an important lesson already learned, one that holds great value heading into the season’s most important game. The Raiders play in Kansas City next week, with a win vaulting them into a tie atop the AFC West.
A Jets hangover would virtually eliminate that prospect. It will take the Raiders’ best to beat the Chiefs in Kansas City’s winter chill.
“We had better show up or they’re going to beat us by 50,” Carr said. “They are a really good football team, one of the best in the NFL. Hopefully our guys, myself included, will show up in Arrowhead a week from now ready to go. I believe that we will be.”
These Raiders are in a tougher spot than they were in Week 3, with a defense beset by season-ending injuries and an offense struggling more now that opponents are set on stopping the run. Hunter Renfrow’s now out of the equation, and Carr can’t buy consistent receiver play.
The Chiefs are also a tougher out than the Colts or Bears, but the mindset doesn’t change.
Many Raiders in the locker room after the loss to the Jets spun this as a wake-up call that will make Oakland better down the road. Let’s not forget this is a young, freshly assembled group trying to compete on a consistent basis despite being in the midst of a longer-term roster rebuild.
“We’re not the ’85 Bears. We’re a developing football team,” head coach Jon Gruden said. “We’re developing our roster. Today was a setback. We’re going to give our preparation every ounce of diligence that we can. We know what we’re going up against at Arrowhead.”
The Kansas City matchup starts a five-game run to close the season that includes showdowns against the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Chargers and Broncos to close out the season.
“We’re going to make a playoff push,” receiver Tyrell Williams said. “This will be a good test for us. We have to look at ourselves and get right back to where we want to be.”
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They might’ve been riding a bit too high after a perfect three-game homestand. Sunday’s game brought the Raiders back down a peg or two.
“This will benefit us more than anything,” rookie running back Josh Jacobs said. “We kind of needed that. We’ll see how we respond and how it plays out from here.”