The problems piling up for Raiders first-year coach Dennis Allen are so vast and varied that it could take months — if not years — for the franchise to be fixed.
Instead, Oakland has three days, and Allen won’t be around for most of them.
After the Raiders lost 20-17 to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Allen headed to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to be with his gravely ill father, Grady. The team said Allen will return to Oakland late Wednesday to coach against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.
All the same issues surrounding the team during its five-game losing streak will be waiting for Allen when he gets back.
“It’s just tough, especially, week in and week out, it’s like it’s the same: can’t stop the run, can’t stop the pass,” Raiders defensive back Michael Huff said. “Things just aren’t going well on defense. Right now, I guess we’re just a bad defense. We can’t really hide it. At this point, the numbers don’t really allow it. We’re just bad right now.”
Once again, the Raiders never seemed to be in rhythm.
The biggest blunder came when rookie Juron Criner used a double move to get behind Sheldon Brown and Carson Palmer underthrew the deep ball with Oakland already in position for a tying field goal. Brown intercepted the pass at the 6-yard line and Brandon Weeden engineered an impressive touchdown drive beginning with 9:31 to play.
“I was trying to take a shot there, go for the touchdown quickly and just didn’t put the ball in the right spot, didn’t give Juron a chance to make a play on the ball,” Palmer said.
The Raiders (3-9) have lost five straight for the first time since a six-game losing streak in Lane Kiffin’s first year as coach in 2006. They also have been officially eliminated from playoff contention for a 10th straight year.
Not that they ever really looked headed to the postseason.
Weeden threw for a career-high 364 yards and a touchdown and made key plays on the clinching 94-yard drive that helped the Browns snap a 12-game road losing streak. He hit fellow rookie Josh Gordon on a 44-yard score in the second quarter and Trent Richardson scored on a 3-yard run after Brown’s key interception.
Palmer was 34 for 54 for 351 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown to rookie Rod Streater. He added a 17-yard TD pass to Brandon Myers with 1 second left, but it was too late. Myers caught 14 passes for 130 yards, tying Tim Brown’s franchise record for catches in a game.
But Palmer’s interceptions overshadowed Oakland’s positive marks.
“We can’t turn the ball over like that,” Allen said. “We’ve got all the momentum, we’re moving the ball, and we can’t have that self-inflicted wound right there. [If] it’s not there we’ve got to get rid of it, but we can’t make that mistake.”