A few weeks ago the Raiders shocked the world when they beat the Chiefs 31-30 in Oakland. It seemed to come out of nowhere, stopping a 4-game slide by the Raiders. As shocking as that performance was by the Raiders, their no-show in Mexico City against the Patriots was even more shocking.
We’ve seen the Raiders look terrible this season before. In several of their losses this season, they’ve looked downright incompetent on offense. But even those rough outings couldn’t have prepared us for how poorly they played in the thin air in Mexico City.
To fully grasp the shock of this, let’s go back to that big win over Kansas City. That was a huge monkey off their back. Not just because it ended their 4-game losing streak on the season, but because it ended a 5-game losing streak to the Chiefs.
Their offense came alive, suddenly recapturing the magic is had displayed all of last season in which Derek Carr went 12-3 with 7 game winning drives and 5 game winning touchdown passes.
At that time, the question was whether it was a sign of things to come or just something the Raiders were saving up for the Chiefs. The following week, in a loss in Buffalo, the answer unfortunately appeared to be the latter.
Then came the following week in Miami. Despite allowing Jay Cutler to start the game 16 for 16, the Raiders stayed with it and ground out a win to have them feeling pretty good about themselves heading into their bye.
Coming out of the bye they knew they would be playing a home game away from home, but having an extra week to prepare for it figured to even things out a little.
It did not.
They came into the game with a week extra to prepare to face statistically the worst defense in the NFL and didn’t put a single point on the board that mattered.
Even with the inconsistent and often sputtering Raiders offense, it was expected they would be able to sustain at least a few scoring drives. Most thought they would sustain enough to keep this one interesting right until the end.
It wasn’t even interesting by the end of the third quarter.
The teams entered the 4th quarter with the Patriots ahead 30-0. That’s five scores. There is no coming back from that. The question is; is there any coming back from this?
This one was already demoralizing before the end of the first half. When Seth Roberts caught a pass at the 3-yard-line and fumbled it, the Raiders were sunk. Instead of getting on the board before the half, and perhaps bringing it to a one-score game, they turned it over and let the Patriots add another score before half.
Everything after that was kicking them while they were down.
At 4-6, they’re not out, but getting up from this will be tough.