Everything we’ve come to expect of the Oakland Raiders these past seven years was on display Sunday against the Washington Redskins.
How a game that was 17-13 entering the 4th quarter ended in a 34-13 loss is what makes the Raiders the most unfortunate and uninspired franchise in the NFL.
On the unfortunate end of the spectrum, phantom fouls kept the sparse crowd at Oakland Coliseum frustrated as they sang a familiar refrain bemoaning the officiating. Then came the game ending injury to Bruce Gradkowski. Enter JaMarcus Russell and kiss any chance at victory goodbye.
On the uninspired effort that was put forth today, the Silver and Black rolled over for a team that entered the game with nothing to play for expect their first road victory of the season.
The Skins got their road win and Tom Cable got a reminder of just how close he is to never being a head coach in the NFL again.
Cable’s inability to get his team motivated for lesser opposition will be his death knell. After an inspiring win in Pittsburgh, Cable again has failed to keep his team focused with yet another blowout loss.
Cable is not alone in failing his team.
Defensive coordinator John Marshall still hasn’t solved the problems that plague his unit. The Raiders continue to yield big plays at the worst time while simultaneously committing the same errors when attempting to defend against the run. It doesn’t really matter who runs on the Raiders, all find success of some kind. This time around it was Bay Area native Quinton Ganther who exposed the porous tackling of the Raiders with a two TD, 93-total yard effort in his first professional start.
Special teams coordinator John Fassel still hasn’t found a way to justify his employment beyond this season. His unit has underperformed all year long and his costly personal foul helped to gift the Redskins a touchdown in the closing moments of the first half. Fassel was correct for calling the officials out on a terrible call against Hiram Eugene on punt coverage. However, his reaction proved too costly for a team fighting for respectability.
Once Gradkowski was ruled out for the second half, the result was academic.
Brian Orakpo terrorized the Raiders all afternoon. The rookie pass rusher was responsible for four of the eight sacks the Redskins tallied against an over matched Oakland offensive line.
JaMarcus Russell didn’t give his team much of a shot at victory. Then again, his line didn’t give him much of a chance to even try. Russell was sacked six times in just two quarters of action.
Nothing much changes in Oakland.
A great win is followed up one week later by an equally awful loss.
An incapable officiating crew awoke the ghosts of Tuck Rule’s past with bad call after bad call. (See Santana Moss slipping on the rain soaked field, falling without so much as a finger being put on him by Stanford Routt and a P.I. being called as Exhibit A for the cries of foul play.)
No matter the circumstances that led to yet another listless loss, the record book is all that matters.
The record states that the Oakland Raiders have lost nine games thus far. Those nine losses assure a 7th straight losing season.
With three contests left on the schedule, two of which are on the road, this season is rounding into 11-loss form once again.
For Gradkowski, this could be the end of his season.
For Cable, these could be the final three games of his head coaching career.
For Raider Nation, this could be the last straw.
The pride and passion of football’s most infamous fans will always remain no matter the circumstances. What is unclear is just how many of them will be receptive to again purchasing season tickets for a team facing nearly a full decade of ineptitude and instability.
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