CLEVELAND (AP) — When the Oakland Raiders travel east, their performance usually heads south.
The NFL’s only winless team, the Silver and Black have lost 15 straight games in the Eastern time zone, a stretch of road ineptitude dating to 2009. The last time the Raiders came east and went home with a win was Dec. 6, 2009, when Bruce Gradkowski threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter — the winner with 9 seconds remaining — in a 27-24 win over Pittsburgh.
Since then, the East has been a beast for the Raiders.
On Sunday, they’ll be back where that Eastern losing streak started on Dec. 27, 2009 with a 23-9 loss to the Browns.
The Raiders (0-6) dropped their first two road games in the East this season — they played Miami in London — but both games were close. Oakland lost 19-14 against the New York Jets in the season opener, and 16-9 at New England two weeks later.
Before he was fired, former Raiders coach Dennis Allen moved up the travel schedule one day to try and shake his team from its slump. It didn’t work and interim coach Tony Sparano isn’t planning anything radical for his first road trip since replacing Allen on Sept. 30.
Sparano is well aware of the Raiders’ travel difficulties, and he has grown weary of being asked about it. There are many bigger priorities.
“This week it’s going to be, ‘How come you guys haven’t won a game on the other side of the turnpike in however long or whatever the case that is,’ “ he said. I’m not worried about any of those things. “I’m worried about what our players think and what we as coaches think, and then how we implement it from there. Right now, there is a great belief in that room that we’re going to get this thing turned around and that we are getting better.
“It’s just they don’t have the tangible evidence, which is a win. That’s the thing that disappoints me the most right now. I just really want them to feel what that’s like, to win one of those kind of games.”
Maybe a 1:25 p.m. kickoff will help the Raiders adjust.
The Browns (3-3) hope getting home will help them shake off an embarrassing loss at Jacksonville, where they were manhandled by the Jaguars, who got their first win of the season.
“We definitely want to go out there and just get that bad taste out of our mouth and just go out there and try to dominate,” Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden said. “We feel like this is a good opponent, but we know we have to go out there and do what we have to do.
“What we did last week isn’t us.”
Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr has been a bright spot during Oakland’s six-game skid to start the season. Despite getting little help from the Raiders’ feeble running game — they rank last in the league — Carr is completing 63 percent of his passes. He’s the first rookie QB to throw eight touchdown passes in his first five games.
“This is a kid that can legitimately make all the throws,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said. “You could tell he’s got a firm grasp of what they’re doing. He knows where to go with the football.”
Oakland Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden could be activated from the physically unable to perform list in time for Sunday’s game in Cleveland. The news isn’t as encouraging for defensive end LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and safety Usama Young (knee). Both are expected to be placed on injured reserve before Sunday’s game.