ALAMEDA — As painful as it was to blow a late lead and lose a game that dropped them from sixth place to 12th place in the AFC standings, the Oakland Raiders have no choice but to move ahead.
Minutes away from completing a comeback win against the Tennessee Titans that would have put them in playoff position with five games to play, the Raiders let Ryan Fitzpatrick throw a 10-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds remaining in a 23-19 loss Sunday.
The winning score prevented Oakland (4-7) from winning back-to-back games for the first time this season and moving to the top of a six-way tie for sixth place. Now the Raiders trail six teams in the fight for the final playoff spot and have almost no margin for error starting when they visit Dallas (6-5) on Thursday.
"We don't have a lot of time to sit around and wallow in self-pity," head coach Dennis Allen said Monday. "We've got a game to play, and we've got to get ourselves ready to travel down to Dallas and play the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day and that's really where the majority of our focus has turned to now."
Oakland held a light walkthrough Monday evening and will practice Tuesday and Wednesday before flying to Dallas for the game on Thursday. That has severely condensed the time usually spent going over the previous game and putting in a game plan for the next opponent.
The Raiders will be on a plane Wednesday afternoon, shortly after they usually finish their first practice of the week.
"We're cramming all of our preparation into about a two and a half day window, whereas normally you're going to have four days to really get prepared for the game. So, mentally, the key, because you're not going to get a ton of full speed reps, mentally, the key is focusing in on the reps that you do get, the walk-through type of reps, so you can execute on Thursday," Allen said.
The Raiders also have some health issues to deal with during the short week. Tight end Mychal Rivera and cornerback Mike Jenkins were knocked out of the game Sunday with concussions, while linebacker Kevin Burnett left with a bruised quadriceps.
While Burnett appears to be OK, Rivera and Jenkins need to get through the NFL protocol for concussions before they can play. Allen said they have started that process but he doesn't know whether they will be ready by Thursday.
The hit on Rivera by Michael Griffin led to a one-game suspension for the Tennessee safety on Monday for his history of hits to the head and neck region.