When we look back on the Oakland Raiders’ 2017 NFL season, these will be the five games we will likely end up remembering the most, for better or worse.
The 2017 NFL season was one of great disappointment for the Oakland Raiders. Oakland went 12-4 and made the AFC playoffs in 2016. This team was thought to have finally gotten back to prominence in the AFC. Super Bowl LII aspirations were not out of the realm of possibility in 2017.
Then it started to become increasingly clear that this year’s group wasn’t anything special. Training camp was marred with injuries to young players and the Donald Penn contract holdout. Oakland looked rough to say the least during the preseason. The defense struggled for most of the year, but did get better under John Pagano from Week 12 on. That was too little, too late, as the Silver and Black would finish the season on a four-game slide to stumble to a dismal 6-10 record.
Falling massively short of lofty expectations, owner Mark Davis fired head coach Jack Del Rio after three years on the job. It did not matter than he and Del Rio had agreed to a four-year extension in the 2017 offseason. Oakland is now supposedly all-in on bring Jon Gruden back to the football team as their next head coach.
When we think back on the 2017 NFL season for the Raiders, we will not think of it fondly. You have to honestly try very hard to extract positives from what was a sunken year for the team. If there were five games that best defined the season that wasn’t, why not these five? In essence, it was about looking decent or horrible on national stages. So let’s get to it.
Week 3: Loss at Washington Redskins on Sunday Night Football, 27-10
The Raiders played five nationally televised primetime games: three on Sunday Night Football, one on Thursday Night Football and one on Monday Night Football. Oakland went 2-3 in those primetime games. The first was anything but a good time for the Raiders, as they got shelled by the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field back in Week 3, 27-10.
Oakland was 2-0 on the season after convincing wins over the Tennessee Titans in Week 1 and the New York Jets in Week 2. The Raiders looked like a team that could not only win the AFC West, but one that could make it to Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII. However, this game versus the Redskins was the Silver and Black’s first opportunity to be showcased nationally and they blew it.
Derek Carr was horrible, as he struggled mightily in the passing game. It was a season-long issue for him in Todd Downing’s offense. Washington played an outstanding game defensively thanks to its two star defensive backs in Josh Norman and D.J. Swearinger. Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins put on a passing clinic against a bewildered Oakland secondary.
What makes this game so memorable for the Raiders is three-fold. One, Oakland absolutely overlooked Washington in this game. That was a season-long trend for this overconfident football team. Two, Carr didn’t look great. This was the beginning of him not putting together respectable performances in a big spot all year. Finally, rumors started to circulate about the friction in the locker room between Carr and his offensive linemen over the anthem protests. This was a complete disaster of a ball game, and sadly the first of many for this team.