On strange Sunday, Raiders get what they need

It’s too early to say that it was the end of the NFL as we knew it, but it was the strangest, most emotion-fraught Sunday since the Kennedy assassination a long, long time ago.

At least one team owner joined in protest, which amounted to giant dump on the very people who risked their lives so the could make millions to play a game among other things. All the while, millions more tuned out the National Political Football League, some to never to watch again.

And to think this was all started by an average quarterback who wore socks that depicted police as pigs and shirts that portrayed Fidel Castro as a hero.

If you can make any sense of this, please contact this newspaper in care of Balls.

JUST PLAY, BABY: All week long, we heard about how the Raiders had the best offense in the NFL, an improved defense and their swagger back.

We watched Marshawn Lynch groove to “Oakland” on the sidelines and Derek Carr attempt to go all John Travolta in a throw-back bank commercial.

Then Sunday rolled around, and the Raiders got knocked flat on their asses.

The jacked-up Washington team outhit, outhustled, outplayed, outfoxed, out-everythinged the Raiders in every way. The final score was 27-10, but it felt more like 54 to minus 10, really.

The Raiders mailed it in at FedExField, all right.

Well, know what? The blowout could be the best thing that happened to a team in need of comeuppance. And the sooner, the better.

A lot of football games are won or lost on attitude as much as talent. Clearly, coach Jack Del Rio and his team forgot to pack theirs for the road trip. They had the look of an entitled bunch who had bought the hype, no questions asked.

So if the whuppin’ turns out to be a lesson learned, then the Raiders figure to be better for it. Otherwise, they’ll be one and done in the postseason. If they get that far, that is.

REST OF THE STORY: The AFC West has three legit playoff-caliber teams, which leaves the Raiders with little if any room for error. Three weeks into the season, they’re one game behind the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs already.

Lest we forget, the Chiefs were the AFC West champions a year ago. And they’re the favorites to win again until further notice.

FOR CHRIS SAKE: It was no secret that Redskins third-down back Chris Thompson had been on a serious roll. Should have been no secret, anyway.

So what happened barely five minutes into the game? Thompson caught a ball in the left flat at the 18-yard line then ran untouched to the end zone. There was no defender closer than the Lincoln Memorial. Not. A. One.

Oh, wait, there’s more. Thompson finished with 188 total yards — 60 more than the Raiders as a team — while quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 25-of-30 pass attempts and a 1,500.7 passer rating. OK, it was only 150.7 then.

Yo, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., it’s called film study and game preparation.

HEY, LOOK … Cousins just picked on cornerback David Amerson again!

JUST ASKIN’: Is there any reason for Cousins to start over with Santa Clara as a free agent next summer when he can re-sign with with a playoff-caliber team instead? Other than money, of course.

LIFE IS GOOD: Did that guy with the bad mustache on the home side look familiar?

Yep, he was none other Washington D-line coach Jim Tomsula, the former overmatched Santa Clara head coach.

After one particularly hard hit, Tomsula could be seen screaming the words “[Screw] ‘em!” while his unit came off the field. Tomsula still is owed $7 million, so, no, he didn’t mean his old team, presumably.

MAX EFFORT: Some Athletics scrub named Bruce Maxwell became the first major leaguer to take a knee on Sunday, and Balls can’t think of a better team to be the MLB test dummy.

So few people show up at O.Co Coliseum, nobody would know if there was a boycott or not.

JUST SAYIN’: NFL player turned broadcaster Cris Collinsworth claimed he felt a buzz about the Santa Clara semi-pro team amid thousands of empty seats at Levi’s Stadium last Thursday. Now he’s in concussion protocol.

The NHL fact-checkers credited Maurice (Rocket) Richard with another assist the other day. Yep, any player who can’t be stopped 16 years after he died has to be the greatest ever.

The Oklahoma City Thunder acquired another deck chair in Carmelo Anthony, who plays defense like one, and at least one Warrior had a good laugh somewhere.

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE … James Harden, Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant?

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? A compliment?! Send them to pladd@aol.com, and who knows, you may get your name in the paper before long.

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