There’s an old saying that goes, “Once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence and three times is a trend”. After getting off to a quick 2-0 start to the season, the Oakland Raiders (2-3) have laid three eggs in a row. First, getting dominated on Sunday night football against the Washington Redskins. They followed that performance by coming up just short in Denver. Then, finally this past Sunday, the Raiders were trounced at home by the Baltimore Ravens (3-2) to the tune of 30-17.
As mentioned in a previous article, this team will only go as far as their leader Derek Carr takes them. In Washington, Carr had his worst statistical performance since his rookie year. In Denver he was also largely ineffective before getting hurt and making way for former first round pick, EJ Manuel, to take the reigns. EJ wasn’t looking bad in Denver until his final toss of the game landed in the waiting mitts of a Bronco defender for a game sealing interception.
Carr wasn’t able to play this past weekend due to a back injury that he suffered in the third quarter in Denver. The injury sounds worse than it is, as Carr is expected to only miss one game and play this upcoming week’s divisional game against the Chargers of Los Angeles. Although EJ did not lose the game for Oakland, he was 13-26 for 159 yards, 1 TD and 0 Ints. He certainly did not put the team on his back and carry them to victory, to be fair that is a bit much to expect from a backup QB. The team didn’t do Manuel any favors either. Amari Cooper was again non existent catching just 1 ball for 8 yards on the day. Aside from trucking a defender on his way to a 3 yard touchdown run, Marshawn Lynch was again pedestrian for the third game in a row as he averaged a paltry 3.6 yards per carry. Although the defense wasn’t as horrible as the 30 points given up, would have you believe they couldn’t make the stops when it mattered, or turn the ball over, which has been a trend all season.
That old saying I mentioned at the beginning of this article has another line to it, “If three times is a trend then four times is a standard”. The Raiders can not let this losing streak extend to four games. If there was ever a must win week 6 game, this is it. The Raiders will be hosting the LA Chargers in a divisional game that if they were to lose, would put them in the AFC West basement with a long climb out for any sort of playoff chance.
It is also a must win game for the fans, to ensure they don’t turn on the Raiders. Don’t kid yourself, if this season becomes a flop the fans will turn their anger for a franchise that will soon be departing will bubble over, to be honest it has already started. After Sunday’s game left tackle Donald Penn confronted some heckling ‘fans’ in the parking lot. Things were heated and nothing came of it, but you can bet this is only the beginning if the Raiders continue their losing ways.
How can the Raiders change all that? Simple, start winning games. The next two games, both at home, would be a good place to start. The season is not lost yet, but these next two home games against the Chargers and Chiefs will go a long way in determining if the season is lost or if Marshawn and the boys will be dancing on the sidelines once again. Let’s hope it’s the latter and the Raiders are able to start a new trend, in the right direction this time.