In what could and should be their final season in Oakland, the Raiders are done eight weeks into the season. That’s right, kaput.
A 34-14 stink bomb against the Bills in Buffalo left the Raiders with a 3-5 record. They will have to win seven of their final eight games to have a reasonable shot at a wild card playoff berth.
The Raiders still have to play the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots at home and the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles on the road. That’s at least two losses right there.
So, know what time it is, girls and boys? It’s time to play the Blame Game.
Blame general manager Reggie McKenzie. He’s the mastermind who pieced this flawed roster together.
Blame head coach Jack Del Rio. He’s the team leader who didn’t have the players ready for a winnable road game. On nine days’ rest, no less.
Blame quarterback Derek Carr. He’s the $25-million underachiever who played more like 250 bucks — two interceptions, one touchdown, 71.2 rating.
Blame no-show Marshawn Lynch. He’s the alleged emotional leader whose selfish move got him suspended for the must-win game. In a steady drizzle, his physical presence was desperately needed to control the ball.
Blame defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. He’s the overmatched hanger-on whose unit was gouged for 166 yards on the ground and forced zero turnovers. (More about that later.)
Oh, and blame the football gods, too. That will teach ya to bolt to Las Vegas, baby.
WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE: It was a 7-7 game late in the second period, when halfback DeAndre Washington caught a short pass over the middle, only to have cornerback Leonard Johnson pry it loose. Rookie linebacker Matt Milano caught the ball in mid-air and rumbled 40 yards virtually untouched to flip the momentum.
The Raiders have gone from a league-high plus-16 turnovers to a pathetic minus six in one season. There’s your stat of the season right there.
HEY, LOOK … LeSean McCoy bolted 48 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter and the closest Raider was at Niagra Falls State Park!
WASSUP, HOLMES? Did Del Rio and McKenzie screw up when they chose Seth Roberts over Andre Holmes as the No. 3 wide receiver last off-season? Sure looks like it.
Holmes burned his old team with a pair of touchdowns, the first on a nifty toe-tap after he beat cornerbacks Dexter McDonald and T.J. Carrie to the side of the end zone.
All the while, Roberts was active but didn’t play a snap because of illness. Then again, it wasn’t the first time that he tapped out this season.
Not only is Holmes the more experienced and dependable player, but he’s a special teams ace, too. Still, he was allowed to become a free agent last off-season, while Roberts was rewarded with a three-year, $12 million contract extension — nearly twice what the Bills paid for Holmes last summer.
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Now that the Niners In Name Only have dropped 22 of their last 25 regular-season games, can we finally blame Jim Harbaugh at least in part for the mess?
No doubt the NINO would be semi-competitive with Alex Smith behind center. But nooooo, Harbaugh was so blinded by the athleticism of Colin Kaepernick that he kicked Smith to the curb despite a 6-2-1 record five years ago. At the start of the week, Smith was the league leader in completion percentage (72.4), yards per attempt (8.7) and passer rating (120.5).
Fact is, whether it be in Santa Clara or Michigan, Harbaugh has yet to develop an elite quarterback even though he played the position at both levels.
Harbaugh may be a good ball coach, but he isn’t the genius that some made him out to be before he left town.
FREE BOCH: The Giants have re-arranged some deck chairs on their staff, but the one that matters most is that of Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens to bench coach. Barry Bonds reportedly isn’t a candidate to replace him as hitting coach, thank goodness, but almost anyone will be an improvement for an offense that was decidedly more Fizz Fizz than Bam Bam last season.
Meulens will be groomed to replace Bruce Bochy as manager, word has it. The sooner, the better.
Bochy deserves better than to go out with a bad team. At the same time, he knows too much to have all that knowledge and experience go to waste.
The sooner he makes a difference elsewhere in the organization, the quicker this rebuild can move forward.
Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? A compliment?! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and who knows, you may get your name in the paper before long.