How Raiders re­act to Jets KO will de­fine their sea­son

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Jerry Mc­Don­ald

Los­ing 34-3 to the New York Jets on Sun­day had noth­ing to do with a trap.

A so-called “trap game” comes when a sup­pos­edly su­pe­rior team be­gins to think too much of it­self and over­looks an over­matched and vastly in­fe­rior op­po­nent.

That’s not the Raiders, nor is it what hap­pened at MetLife Sta­dium. This Oak­land team was the clas­sic over-achiever in get­ting to 6-4, with a de­lib­er­ate, bal­anced of­fense and a de­fense ranked near the bot­tom in the NFL even with a mod­er­ate im­prove­ment dur­ing a three­game win streak at home.

Yet here they are, the only NFL team with a win­ning record to have been outscored by the op­po­si­tion. And not only have the Raiders been outscored, they’ve been outscored by a whop­ping 56 points cour­tesy of big point spread losses against Min­nesota, Kansas City, Green Bay and now the Jets.

And next up are the Chiefs at Ar­row­head

Sta­dium, a place where the Raiders last won in 2012 when Den­nis Allen was a rookie head coach.

“We’re not the ‘85 Bears,” coach Jon Gru­den said. “We’re a de­vel­op­ing team, we’re de­vel­op­ing our ros­ter. We’re mak­ing strides. To­day was a set­back. We’re go­ing to give our prepa­ra­tion every ounce of dili­gence that we can. We know what we’re up against at Ar­row­head. They’re com­ing off a bye week so it’s not go­ing to be easy.”

The last time the Raiders felt this good about them­selves and got knocked out it in­di­rectly led to Gru­den’s re­turn as head coach.

The Raiders were com­ing off a sur­prise 12-4 wild card sea­son which was de­railed when quar­ter­back Derek Carr sus­tained a bro­ken leg on Christ­mas Eve against the Indianapol­is Colts. Un­der Jack Del Rio in 2017, the Raiders won on the road against Ten­nessee then blew out the Jets 45-20 at the Coli­seum, with Mar­shawn Lynch danc­ing on the side­lines for the world to see.

And then . . . POW! Wash­ing­ton beat the vis­it­ing Raiders 27-10 and the score didn’t give a clue as to the fe­roc­ity of the beat­ing. The whole team should have been put in con­cus­sion pro­to­col. The Raiders were out­gained 472-128 and went 0-for-11 con­vert­ing third downs.

The 2017 Raiders were never the same. It started a four-game los­ing streak and the Raiders stum­bled to 6-10. Owner Mark Davis took ad­van­tage of a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity to bring Gru­den back as head coach at the ex­pense of Del Rio, who had signed a con­tract ex­ten­sion after the play­off sea­son.

That Raiders team had more es­tab­lished veterans, and while you’d ex­pect they’d be equipped to move on, get­ting bul­lied to that ex­tent seemed to shake them to the core.

Carr wanted to com­pare the Jets loss to what hap­pened to the Raiders in Week 3 this sea­son, when they were beaten 34-14 in Min­nesota. The Raiders needed a late score to come within 20 and were out of the game be­fore half­time.

AN­DREW MILLS/TRIBUNE NEWS SER­VICE

Jets run­ning back Le'Veon Bell (26) makes a catch for a 26-yard gain over Oak­land Raiders free safety D.J. Swearinger.

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