The Raiders suffered a demoralizing defeat in Oakland today. The Texans walked into a sold-out O.co Coliseum in Oakland and ripped the Raiders from the first snap and throughout the game in a 30-14 route. They had a poor showing in the season opener against the Jets and managed to look much worse against the Texans who last season had the worst record in football.
After such a loss, the mood is somber and the answers are hard to find. And sometimes the players at the heart of it can only tell it like it is. Few players do that more than Charles Woodson who didn't pull any punches in his criticism of the performance of his defense.
"We suck," said Woodson about how the Raiders played today. "That's as blunt as I can put it. For whatever reason. Defensively we just won't stop people, especially early in games. Every drive, every first drive, their team is able to go and get points and today it happened all day. Offensively we put the ball on the ground. We had opportunities and we didn't capitalize on them.
"Collectively, we look bad. It's frustrating because everything that everybody says about you, we're making them right. It's almost as if you allow others to write your story. And we're not going out there and doing anything about it. That's hard. I'm really embarrassed. When I came into the stadium on the bus and saw all the fans there... everybody's optimistic. It's our first home game, they're excited to see their Raiders and what was that we put out on the field? That's embarrassing. I'm embarrassed for this team, I'm embarrassed for the fans. And the thing is, I'm a part of it. I don't know what we need to do as a team going forward, but something gonna have to done. I don't know what it is but we've got to be better than we were today."
The Texans had their way with the Raiders. They were beaten in every facet of the game. The Texans drove for a touchdown on their first two drives and the Raiders had just a three and out.
The second quarter it looked like the offense might get back on track until Derek Carr threw an interception and after a big return, the Texans added a third score on a field goal. The Raiders would turn the ball over a total of four times in the game. The other three were a James Jones fumble, a Mychal Rivera fumble, and another Carr interception off a hit from J.J. Watt.
"That's a recipe for getting your butt kicked," said Dennis Allen. "I told the players in there just now. The only people that can change it are the people in that locker room. Coaches and players. We've got to make a conscious decision that we want to get this thing changed. You can't start off a game like that and just allow the opponent to move the ball down the field. You can't have the four turnovers like that, specifically in the situations where we had the ball going in. One of those was kind of deep down in our own territory so that was disappointing. We gotta get better on third down. They won the third down battle, which in turn allowed them to win the time of possession battle. We've got a lot of getting better to do in a short period of time."
It goes without saying that this team isn't going to suddenly, magically get better. Most times it's foolish to panic after just two games in a season but with this team showing up as they have for these first two games, It's hard to imagine where they will find their identity and who they can be expected to beat.
Changes are coming. And if this team continues to look like this while starting the season 0-4, those changes could be fairly sweeping.