Well, that was one way to end the season. Not at all the way any of us would choose to end it, but at least it is finally finished. Tony Sparano has to be the most disappointed with this 47-14 thrashing because he was building momentum for a possible promotion but it just became very hard to picture him getting the permanent head coaching gig now.
Denver is a very good team, we already know that, but losing to them in this type of fashion is unacceptable under any circumstance. Losing to them in this way twice in the same season (first meeting they lost 41-17 and it really wasn't even that close) has got to be the nail in the coffin of Sparano's hopes. He might end up with the job when it is all said and done, but that would only be because the Raiders would have struck out on the flashier signings.
Nothing with this game went well for the Raiders, it was about as pathetic of an ending to an awful season as possible. The season was already lost and there was no chance for much of a reprisal, but you still have to expect more fight than what happened this Sunday. That was the very definition of inept.
This loss was on everybody, there is no single person to blame for the mess that was this game. They were just completely dominated in all aspects of the game. It wasn't as bad of a game as the St. Louis 52-0 smackdown, but it was worse than anything we would ever be willing to watch.
Sure, most of us watch through even the worst of games but it becomes almost a battle of attrition to do it. It's not a willingness to watch, it is a depravity that can't be controlled. Masochism at it's finest. The Red Dragon (Thomas Harris Hannibal series) has us tied to a chair and is demanding us to watch. Do you see?!
The most disappointing part of the game was watching the whimpering performance of Derek Carr to finish his solid rookie campaign. He isn't to blame any more than anybody else for the awfulness that was Sunday, but it is the most disappointing performance of the day. The reason why is because we really wanted to have a great performance from him to finish out the season in order for our last memory of his play in the off-season to be that of something special.
We did not get special, we got awful. He went 18/36 for 158 yards (that's all, 158 measely yards) with 1 TD, 1 INT and 2 fumbles. The one fumble was a terrible snap by Wisnewski and the other he got smashed from behind while throwing. The ladder of which was definitely his fault since he had plenty of time to throw it and was simply oblivious to the rush. At least he had the one drive resulting in a TD, I will try to remember that from this game and forget everything else.
The worst moment of the game for me was the 2nd drive of the 2nd half for the Raiders. They got down to the Denver 39 yard line but inexplicably decided to punt the ball. Are you kidding me with that?!
They were already down in the game 30-14, in the final game of a 3-13 season, and they had shown absolutely zero ability to stop Denver from moving into Raiders territory. You need to either go for it on the 4th down and 4, or you absolutely try the 56 yard field goal. YOU DO NOT PUNT. Janikowski has a leg that can hit from over 60 in any stadium in the league (except maybe Heinz Field in Pittsburgh) and you are in Denver. He could kick it from 70 in that altitude, a 56 yard field go in that stadium is a must try.
After that punt of course the game was going to really get out of control. That was the white flag. It was an embarrassingly conservative choice and the punt wasn't even very good considering they didn't even get it downed inside the 10. The players had to have felt the same way about that choice, they had to have been just as angry as the fans about it. There is no excuse for that cowardice.
Two people to highlight on the defensive side were Ray Ray Armstrong and Justin Tuck. Ray Ray is somebody who was almost released for terrible play half way through the year but really stepped it up to end the season. That was really nice to see, and it culminated in his 6 tackle and a forced fumble performance on Sunday. He earned his right to come back next year and see how he has developed over the off-season.
As for Tuck, his pass defense on the lateral pass in the first half that was returned for a TD by Keith McGill was really excellent awareness. He read that play perfectly and got that big mitt up, it was one of the only plays to really be happy about in this game. He was the veteran presence and leader we were hoping for this season, it was one free agent signing that we should be happy about.
The defense actually did come up with some big stops in this game from time to time, in between being utterly gashed by CJ Anderson anyway. They had the return for a TD in the first half when the game was still close and a couple of goal line stands that should be commended. It was still a terrible game, I am just trying to stay positive.
I just really hope that this wasn't the way that we say goodbye to Charles Woodson. He deserves better than this and it would truly be an injustice to send him on his way with this game as his final memory. If it is his last game I will always remember fondly and proudly the way that he played his NFL career.
He will go down as one of, if not THE, greatest secondary players the NFL have ever seen. It will be sad if he is gone, but we will always remember and love him for the player and the person that he is. Charles Woodson is the embodiment of a true Oakland Raider. He will be missed if he retires and he will be celebrated grandly if he returns for another season. Here is to hoping for the latter!
Really the only great thing to come out of this was the end of the season, thank goodness! This was one of the worst seasons we will ever see and one that should be moved on from as quickly as possible. They got some really nice play from some rookies and the three good wins, but this was a pathetic display of football that we all will be happy to move on from.
Next comes the head coach search and hopefully a big splash hire. Jim Harbaugh being gone to Michigan is a disappointment but there are still some big fish out there to be caught. If they swing and miss then Tony Sparano would be the hire to make, one that we have to hope doesn't happen after the abysmal season that just happened.
Tony would be an O.K. consolation prize after striking out on somebody bigger, but the Raiders need something better to get them out of this funk. We won't be happy with Sparano getting the job, not most of us, but at least the players would be alright with it. We will see what happens from here. In the mean time just concentrate on the relief of finally being able to hit the reset button on an utter failure of a year.