OAKLAND – Here are three things you need to know from the Raiders’ 17-16 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 6 on Sunday:
Raiders season already circling drain: The Oakland Raiders are the AFC West’s worst. They’re in last place after six games.
Wrap your head around that.
A team expected to contend for an AFC title is floundering at 2-4, unable to stop what could be a season-defining skid.
They’ve lost four straight, including the last two at home, with the first-place Kansas City Chiefs coming to town Thursday night. They’ve lost as many games in a month as they dropped all last season.
The margin for error might be nil, or darn close to it. Every game is up in the air now, and the Raiders must act quickly or get left in the dust.
“There’s pressure every game. We work in a pressure business,” cornerback David Amerson said. “It’s now or never, if we’re being completely honest. With how tough our division is, and how tough our remaining schedule is, we have to turn it on, man.”
Frustration mounting on offense: The Raiders scored 70 points in the regular season’s first two weeks. They’ve tallied 53 in the last four. That’s right. The vaunted Raiders attack is averaging 13.1 points per game during a disastrous losing streak that has their season on life support.
They aren’t explosive passing downfield. They can’t run consistently. They’ve struggled to sustain drives, stay on schedule and execute well on third down.
You name it, it’s gone wrong.
That’s unexpected from an offensive seemingly loaded at the skill positions and on the offensive line. That was true before Jared Cook, Cordarrelle Patterson and Marshawn Lynch were acquired. This unit was supposed to be elite. It’s the opposite under first-year play caller Todd Downing.
It must be more efficient for the Raiders to be competitive, and it’s something the Raiders continue working on even as losses pile high.
Derek Carr says its little details. Donald Penn says the Raiders are close to things going right. Close doesn’t cut it. They know that. That’s why the temperature’s rising on offense, and frustration’s starting to set in.
“Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us in this world; not even us,” tight end Jared Cook said. “We have to pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and find a way to fix this thing.”
Performing under pressure a 2016 trait: There’s so much continuity from last year’s roster to this one that it’s logical to assume it should share some signature traits.
Coming through in the clutch defined last year’s squad, with so many fourth-quarter comebacks and timely takeaways to win games. This year’s Raiders haven’t been able to do that. Not at all.
The Raiders had 30 takeaways last season. The defense has just three in six games, with two more coming on special teams. The offense hasn’t been able to close games. They had a chance up two with six minutes left, and went three and out.
They had a chance to stop the Chargers early on the game-deciding drive, but never put up much resistance.
Last year’s Raiders won close games, with nine victories by seven points or less. This year’s Raiders have lost the two close games they’ve played.
“This was a typical NFL game,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “They’re usually close. Comes down to the end. Which team makes plays? We had our chances. You get your chances and you have to live with the results. Didn’t make enough plays today.”