How Raiders react to Jets KO will define their season
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.
Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (26) makes a catch for a 26-yard gain over Oakland Raiders free safety D.J. Swearinger.