ALAMEDA (AP) — Every week there’s a new problem and the same result for the Oakland Raiders.
One week it could be run defense or an inability to get off the field on third down. Another it could be penalties or lack of a running game. The most recent games it was three costly turnovers that did in Oakland in a 23-13 loss at Cleveland.
The one constant has been the losses whether it was under former coach Dennis Allen or his interim replacement Tony Sparano, who fell to 0-3 since Allen was fired after an 0-4 start.
“The one thing that has to stop happening for us is we can’t patch one hole up and then find another one,” Sparano said Monday. “I think we’ve given ourselves a chance to win three football games right now. I mean, listen, there were a lot of games played this weekend where people didn’t have a chance to win the games, and we’ve given ourselves a chance to win these three football games.”
Oakland (0-7) is off to its worst start since 1962 and has dropped 13 straight games overall following Sunday’s loss in Cleveland and the schedule only gets tougher from here on out.
The Raiders play last year’s Super Bowl participants the next two weeks with a road game in Seattle following by a home game against Denver. That will be followed by division games against tough San Diego and Kansas City as the Raiders try to snap a skid that dates back almost a full year now.
Oakland has not won a game since beating Houston 28-23 last Nov. 17 in the first career start by Matt McGloin.
“Right now what we can’t get caught doing is letting anybody else define who we are at this point, or what our goals are at this point,” Sparano said. “We need to concern ourselves with our own goals for right now, and there should only be one and it should be Seattle at this point. We shouldn’t be looking down the road at anything right now. We shouldn’t be looking any place other than with what’s directly in front of us, and that would be this challenge this week.”
The Raiders have been competitive in all three games under Sparano, having led late in a loss to San Diego in the first game under the new regime and being within a score at the start of the fourth quarter the past two weeks.
But they have failed to come through at the end with the most costly play Sunday coming when Darren McFadden lost a fumble deep in Cleveland territory in the third quarter of a 9-6 game.
The Browns turned that miscue into a touchdown and added another late TD after rookie quarterback Derek Carr lost a fumble deep in his own territory.
“I feel at times it’s Oakland beating Oakland at the wrong times,” receiver Andre Holmes said. “Whether it’s converting third downs or turning the ball over, those types of thing are happening and we just have to put it all together.”
The Raiders solved a couple of problems against the Browns. They held Cleveland to 2 for 12 on third-down conversions after allowing a league worst 52.9 percent conversion rate the first six games and Oakland allowed just 39 yards rushing on 25 carries.
But the turnovers and a lack of commitment to the running game did in Oakland in its latest loss.
“It’s about consistency,” center Stefen Wisniewski said. “You got to be consistent. We fixed the third-down problem, but now we’ve got a turnover problem. You can’t have new problems every week. We’ve got to be consistent. You can’t win in this league if you’re not consistently doing well in all areas.”