Three and Out: Defense falters; Pryor update; tempering expectations
The Raiders must stay focused as Oakland plays four of the next five games on the road. (AP)
Programming note: Watch Monday’s Raiders press conference with head coach Dennis Allen live on CSN California and streaming live online right here at 1pm
What you need to know: The Raiders were in a good space Sunday morning. They were a win away from .500. They were a part of the playoff hunt. They were defying expectations. At its simplest, a franchise fallen on hard times was relevant again. That in itself was a coup.
There was confidence to be gleaned from that, and rightfully so.
Then kickoff came around, and everything fell apart. Three hours, 13 minutes later, the Raiders lost touch with goodwill built in recent weeks. They lost a 49-20 result that dropped them to 3-5 and gave Raider haters an “I told you so.”
Coach Dennis Allen called it “an old-fashioned butt-whooping.”
Cornerback Tracy Porter considered it a “wakeup call.”
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor defined the situation best: “It’s a step back.”
Of that there is no doubt. The Raiders played uncharacteristic football on Sunday. They looked lost and helpless and completely out of sorts. They looked like the overmatched unit preseason prognosticators expected them to be.
“It’s a big setback,” Raiders center Stefen Wisniewski said. “It was a home game against a team with a similar record. We have to think that we should win this game, but we got punched in the mouth and didn’t win it. We have an uphill battle now. We have two road games and we have to win them both just to get back to .500, so we have to really buckle down and get back to work.”
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This week will test these Raiders unlike any other. Most every team suffers an embarrassing defeat. Not all respond and fight.
Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia will be remembered one of two ways: 1. The earthquake that started an avalanche, or. 2. A speed bump on the highway.
Last season, it was option 1. The Raiders started 2012 at 3-4, gave up 42 points to Tampa Bay the following game and finished 4-12. Allen doesn’t believe 2013 will follow a similar arc. He said this is a completely different team. He trusts its character and its ability to pull out of a tailspin. His players agree.
“This one was embarrassing,” Pryor said. “I hate losing. It’s not acceptable to me or anyone else around here. We have to do something about it. There’s no way this group will tank. No way. We’re a good football team. I know that deep down.”
Plenty of yards, not enough points: The Raiders offense out-gained the Eagles by 18 yards. They tallied 560 yards to just 20 points. Not a great ratio.
The yardage total ranks No. 3 in franchise history. Terrelle Pryor’s 288 passing yards were a career high. He rushed for 94 more. Rashad Jennings had 102 rushing yards on just 15 carries and 176 yards total offense.
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That’s normally a recipe for victory. On Sunday, none of it mattered. The Raiders couldn’t keep up with the Eagles. It’s unfair to expect them to against a team that scored six touchdowns in its first seven possessions.
“The stats might look good, but I don’t know how much that matters,” Wisniewski said. “We moved the ball a little bit but we didn’t score any points. We needed more touchdowns in the red zone, and we quickly fell into a mode where field goals weren’t good enough. We didn’t do anything in the third quarter and it was bleak after that. Yards don’t mean anything at the end of the day. We have to turn yards into points.”
Play of the Game: The Raiders could do nothing to stop the Eagles, who moved and scored at will. A second-quarter touchdown pass to Riley Cooper proved that point.
Foles had thrown Cooper a 17-yard touchdown pass on the previous offensive play, and the Eagles went right back to the well. The Raiders offered no resistance. D.J. Hayden tripped and Cooper was all alone on a 66-yard touchdown pass that made it 21-3. The play looked effortless, as if there was no defense to contend with.
Player of the Game: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. Obviously. The man had 406 yards passing in just over three quarters. He tied an NFL record with seven touchdowns in single game. He was unstoppable, rarely under pressure and in complete control from the outset.
Foles seemed in awe of his own performance after the game, flabbergasted at how things could’ve gone so well. The Raiders couldn’t believe how quickly things turned ugly, especially against a backup quarterback.
“I don’t think Nick Foles ever saw anything that would give him any indication that he would throw seven touchdowns,” Raiders free safety Charles Woodson said. “It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is. Those numbers are crazy.”
Astonishing at every level. A top-10 defense with a secondary as its backbone couldn’t do anything to stop a 3-5 team that hadn't scored a touchdown in two weeks.
“It’s flat-out embarrassing that we allowed that to happen," Porter said. "We have to go in make corrections and move forward to the next week."
Overconfidence an issue?: The Raiders' resurgence was a hot topic around the NFL in recent weeks, especially after a victories over the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Diego Chargers.
Then the Eagles happened. It called everything into question, from their ability to deal with speed to their overall level of preparation or signs of overconfidence.
“I wouldn’t say we were getting overconfident, but we were beginning to build on the wins we were having,” Porter said. “We weren’t overlooking this team, but we were feeling good about ourselves coming into this game. That could’ve impeded execution of what we could’ve done, how we could’ve played, but they played their style of ball. They played an up-tempo type of game and we weren’t able to match that.”
Injury update: The Raiders suffered a series of minor injuries at crucial spots.
Pryor suffered a mild knee injury. Running back Darren McFadden tweaked a hamstring injured earlier this season, and he could miss a week. Right tackle Matt McCants had a foot injury that kept him out in the second half and allowed Menelik Watson to play his first stretch as a pro. It’s unknown how serious the ailment is. Receiver Rod Streater suffered a hip injury and linebacker Kaluka Maiava hurt his ribs.
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Quote of the day: “From the top guy on the team to the last guy on the roster, we didn’t do our job in preparing for this team as we as we could this week, and it showed. ” -- Raiders cornerback Tracy Porter after Sunday’s devastating loss.
Looking ahead: Sunday’s game was crucial, a virtual must-win, due in large part to what’s on the horizon. The Raiders play four of the next five games on the road. All four road tests come against underperforming, yet talented units. It starts Sunday at the New York Giants, who started with six straight losses but have won two straight and will be fresh off a bye week. The Raiders have struggled mightily on the East Coast, and haven’t had a road win of quality since 2011.
The Raiders are in shambles following a blowout win at home, and must reassemble quickly lest the season fall apart.
“We realize that we’re a better football team than what we displayed today, and we have to be better than that,” Allen said. “We’ll go back to work. We’ll get ready to go up to New York and compete against the Giants and we’ll put a better product on the field.”