ALAMEDA — The Raiders have prided themselves on always being competitive in two-plus seasons under coach Jack Del Rio.
That sure wasn’t the case on national television Sunday night when the Raiders delivered a performance more reminiscent of the struggles that preceded Del Rio’s arrival in 2015 than the play that had many labeling them a Super Bowl contender after two wins to open the season.
Oakland was dismantled by Washington in a 27-10 loss that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicated. The Raiders were outgained 472-128 for the fifth-most lopsided total in franchise history and looked lost on both sides of the ball from start to finish.
“We’re taking our lumps today,” Del Rio said. “We know it’s a miserable Monday when you don’t get it done on Sunday. We’re dealing with that. We’ll take it like men and move on. Clearly, it wasn’t anything close to what we know we’re capable of. We’ll go back to the drawing board, we’ll make our corrections and we’ll move on.”
Now the Raiders (2-1) must fix the problems that arose in Washington before they travel to Denver for a showdown with the Broncos (2-1) that will leave the loser in third place in the ultra-competitive AFC West.
The offensive woes started early as a usually stout offensive line struggled to give Derek Carr his usual time to throw or clear holes for Marshawn Lynch and the running game. The tone was set when Carr threw an interception on the second play from scrimmage on a deep pass to Amari Cooper and things only got worse from there for the offense.
Carr got sacked on back-to-back plays to end the next drive with a three-and-out, Lynch was stopped on a third-and-short the next drive, drops by Michael Crabtree and Cooper stalled the fourth possession as the Raiders didn’t get their initial first down until early in the second quarter.
Oakland managed to get into Washington territory on that drive only to have Carr throw his second interception of the game on a pass to Seth Roberts.
Little improved as the game went on as Oakland’s two scores came on drives of 18 and 8 yards following Washington fumbles. The Raiders even had to settle for a field goal on the second of those drives when Carr threw three consecutive incompletions after a first-and-goal from the 4.
Carr got sacked two more times, with the four sacks overall being his most since 2015 and the Raiders didn’t reach 100 yards of offense until a meaningless garbage time drive late in the game.
“They’ve certainly got good rush. We knew that coming in,” Del Rio said. “The pocket got collapsed a little more than we’re accustomed to. There were some opportunities to get the ball out and we didn’t take advantage of them.”
The defense didn’t fare much better as Kirk Cousins completed 25 of 30 passes for 365 yards, with 243 of those yards coming after the catch for the most against an Oakland defense in four years.
Chris Thompson was left unguarded on a short catch that led to a 22-yard TD that opened the scoring and then took a third-and-19 screen pass 74 yards on the most glaring mistake by the defense that came the drive after Oakland’s first touchdown.
“That was a killer. That was one of those momentum (shifters),” Del Rio said. “Heck, our fans in the bowl at that point were taking over. It was awesome. I thought, ‘this is it right here. This is a chance to get back in the game.’ And that was one of those moments I was referring to. Then, they just rip our heart out with that screen. Good execution on their part, very poor on our part.”
David Amerson misplayed a deep ball that turned into a 52-yard touchdown for Josh Doctson and Sean Smith allowed Vernon Davis to catch two passes for 44 yards and a TD, while playing just three plays all night.
Del Rio said he didn’t believe the protests during the national anthem had any impact on the way his team played.
WR Michael Crabtree was able to travel back with the team after leaving with a chest injury. “He took a good shot. It was a clean hit, a good shot. Crab’s a tough guy so I’m sure he’ll bounce back,” Del Rio said.