The Raiders have lost back-to-back games, not their confidence.
The mood Monday after a home loss to Minnesota was more of a missed opportunity than a lost season after the 30-14 defeat left Oakland with a losing record and ground to make up in the playoff chase.
That followed a last-second 38-35 loss in Pittsburgh as the Raiders (4-5) have dropped two in a row after consecutive wins over San Diego and the New York Jets put them in the lead of the AFC wild-card race.
“You have to own what was, understand where it needs to be better and work toward it,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “There’s no time to sit around and feel sorry for yourself. You can’t dwell on the positive or negative too long. You have to move onto the next week’s work and that’s what we’re going to do.”
There was plenty of blame for this latest loss. The offense generated very little other than back-to-back touchdown drives in the second quarter. The defense struggled to contain Adrian Peterson for most of the game and the special teams allowed a momentum-changing kickoff return for a touchdown by Cordarrelle Patterson.
“We had our shot,” Del Rio said. “We had opportunities in that game, and in each of the three phases we didn’t do well enough to get the win. I think it’s clear that there were opportunities and they were the better team yesterday.”
The Raiders are tied with Kansas City and Miami in the AFC playoff race, a game behind sixth-place Buffalo and the New York Jets in the race for the final playoff spot. Oakland is looking to end a 12-year postseason drought and will need to make up ground in the next few weeks to have a chance.
Oakland’s next two games are on the road against a pair of two-win teams in Detroit and Tennessee. After that, the Raiders close the season with four division games in the final five weeks, including a pair of crucial games against the Chiefs.
“We’ve been winning all season, so we can’t hold our heads down just because we’ve lost our last two games,” receiver Andre Holmes said. “There are a lot of games left, especially in our conference.”
In order to win enough of those games, the Raiders will have to shore up some problems that have plagued them in these two losses.
A week after allowing a franchise-worst 597 yards to Pittsburgh, including 284 through the air against Antonio Bryant, the Raiders did a better job against the pass but were gashed by Adrian and the Vikings running game.
Peterson rushed for 203 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown that sealed the victory in the closing minutes.
The run defense that had been such a strength to start the season has allowed 458 yards the past two weeks — five more than in the previous six games combined.
“You put your finger over one leak and something else pops up, so we’ve got to find a way to eliminate more than just one phase of the game,” safety Charles Woodson said.
NOTES: Del Rio said C Rodney Hudson tested his sprained right ankle on Saturday but was not healthy enough to play. Del Rio did not know if Hudson will practice Wednesday. … LB Neiron Ball (knee) is unlikely to return to practice this week.