Cleveland Browns 23 Oakland Raiders 13: Missed Opportunities Continue to Doom Raiders


There is no secret that to go to 0-7 to start a season as an NFL team you will have had to have passed up more than a few opportunities to get there and the 2014 Oakland Raiders have had plenty of opportunities go begging this season. No more than on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns where two costly turnovers took at least 10 points off of the board for the Raiders in what ended as a 23-13 loss to keep Oakland winless in a game they needed to pick up to finally end the whispers of a potential embarrassing 0-16 season before playing the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos in consecutive weeks.

A decision to call a Wildcat pass before a fake field goal pass attempt from Matt Schaub stalled the team’s opening drive and gave the Browns an interception before a fumble from Darren McFadden wiped off a potential goahead drive in the second half, both miscues took points off the board and both miscues led to Browns points. Miscues like that becoming a large reason why this Raiders team is in the lowly depths of the NFL that they are in.

On a day where the Raiders defense finally stepped up, the 10 point swing off of two costly turnovers will sit in the minds of Raiders fans as what could have been for much of November as the team welcomes the third month of the 2014 season without a win and may not get one for a long while. Playing Seattle and Denver follows a road trip to San Diego, giving the team two road games sandwiched by a home game against Peyton Manning’s high powered Broncos. Only the Chargers remaining as a team the Raiders have beaten recently unless you count Oakland’s Preseason Week 4 victory over the Seahawks as an indicator that they can upset any of a trio of Super Bowl contenders.

There is not much this Raiders team and the fanbase can do beyond hoping that 0-16 does not happen at this point in the season after seven consecutive losses in 2014, a sad reality but one that fans along with players and coaches will have to go through with nine games left to play. Leaving a game they arguably should have won by shooting themselves in the foot and failing to execute with big plays, the Raiders continue as one of the worst teams in football. A fact that sadly is not going to change anytime in 2014.

Quick Hits

DJ Hayden’s Return

DJ Hayden came back to play on Sunday, doing special teams work and playing very limited snaps. Hayden was picked on a Browns TD pass near the goal line, but until he gets a bulk of the snaps at the corner position it will be hard to evaluate him. Expect the 2013 first round selection to get back into the rotation as November rolls along.

Watson Back to Injury Watch

After back to back games taking all of the snaps at the right tackle position, the return of Khalif Barnes saw 2013 second round draft pick Menelik Watson share snaps against the Celveland Browns until exiting the game with an injury that may or may not be serious. There will be an eventual update on Watson’s timetable, but leaving the game in the third quarter and not returning is definitely not the most positive of signs for a player that struggled with injuries for much of his rookie season out of Florida State.

McFadden’s First Fumble Costly

Darren McFadden’s fumble inside of Browns territory proved to be the game’s turning point and put a sour note on a day where the veteran running back broke through for several big gains on the Cleveland defense. Running through a big hole, McFadden collided with Donte Whitner who put his helmet on the ball and caused a turnover that was returned 47 yards back into Oakland territory. It was McFadden’s first fumble of the season, but it will be remembered all week as the play that cost the Raiders a chance to win in the second half. Even if Matt Schaub’s fake FG interception was a much worse play from player and coaching staff alike.

Tough Slate

As mentioned before, the Raiders will be looking at a very likely 0-10 as they move into a new month. Seattle on the road next Sunday leads into Denver at home before their second game of the season against the Chargers. If the Raiders win any of those three games it will be considered a massive upset.