Oakland Raiders Must Remain Positive After Debacle In Detroit


The Oakland Raiders watched the final few seconds run off the clock at Ford Field on Sunday, giving them a third consecutive loss and making the feeling of promise and excitement that had been built after some early season success seemed like a distant memory — but hope still remains.

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The loss in Detroit was bad on many levels. Sure the Lions still had Calvin Johnson but “Megatron” hasn’t been destroying defenders at his previous historical pace, while Matthew Stafford has gone from emerging star, to an inconsistent signal-caller prone to making untimely mistakes.

The final score of 18-13 only partly told the story of how a once exciting big play Raiders offense has turned into a struggling, mistake prone unit, unable to sustain drives. The inability to convert crucial third downs and consistently move the chains, has definitely caught the ire of Raiders’ head coach, Jack Del Rio. Speaking to mlive.com, he said:

"“We just weren’t converting on third downs in the first half. We had five or six. They weren’t third and forevers. Later in the game, we got into some third and longs, which are very hard to convert. We were just not in sync, not operating the way we hoped to operate.”"

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The chemistry that seemed to be building week-to-week between Derek Carr and his new outside threats Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree has hit a snag recently. Specifically with Cooper, the inability to get the rookie speedster in favorable match-ups and utilize his explosive open field running, has resulted in diminishing numbers for the stand-out rookie.

Early in the season, getting Cooper the ball seemed like it may have been overly prioritized by the Raiders. It appeared the rookie wide-out was being forced fed the ball, which in turn led to a very predictable offense. It wasn’t until Carr and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave started spreading the offensive load around that the Raiders offense started to flourish.

When Crabtree began showing he still had a lot left in the tank by repeatedly making critical third down grabs and running through defenders, the positive vibes being felt in the Oakland huddle were permeating throughout the roster.

This is the feeling the Raiders must recapture if there is any hope in them making this a successful season. The definition of a “successful ” Raiders’ season varies from fan-to-fan and writer-to-writer, but in general terms, if this team finds itself in the playoff hunt in late December many would declare the season a success.

At 4-6 the Raiders find themselves two games behind the Buffalo Bills (5-4)  in the loss column for the final wildcard spot.

The Raiders’ three game losing streak has dampened the enthusiasm that was bubbling around every corner in Raider Nation, after what some would say was an unexpectedly strong start. But not all is lost. The remaining six games on the schedule still have meaning and the Raiders have shown the ability to be an explosive, if not dynamic offensive team, when clicking on all cylinders.

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In these final six games, the Raiders must get back to being that high-energy and big-play making team, that utilized all of its weapons and attacked from all angles. It is vital that the offense finds the balance between aggressive and playing smart football — while eliminating the predictable and safe play-calling that has been on display the last two games.

With the right mixture, the Raiders have the ability to  “right the ship” and give RaiderNation a taste of meaningful January football.