ALAMEDA (AP) — The Oakland Raiders are desperately in search of some sort of positive news.
The Raiders (3-8) just finished perhaps the worst month in franchise history by losing all four games in November, capped by three straight losses by at least 21 points
The team’s first four-game skid since 2008 assures Oakland of a 10th straight season without a winning record and has turned the focus to the future rather than a playoff run.
“It’s been mind-blowing,” defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said. “I would have never, in my wildest dreams, thought we would be 3-8 right now.”
Coach Dennis Allen said everyone is accountable for the problems that have turned a team that was one win away from a division title last season into an also-ran this year.
He said he will look at all options to get things back on track, including possibly finding a role for third-string quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor has been inactive all 11 games this year and has been on the field only once in two seasons since being taken in the supplemental draft last year. He committed a false start before his only snap last year against Kansas City and then got limited duty in the preseason.
“He’s working to get better and he’s working to improve,” Allen said. “I’ve seen improvement in Terrelle. He’s gotten better as a quarterback. He’s continued to work. I don’t think any of us feel like he’s the finished product, including himself. But he has worked to improve.”
Starter Carson Palmer struggled Sunday in his homecoming to Cincinnati, throwing for a season-low 146 yards and turning the ball over twice in a 38-17 loss to the Bengals. But he has been far from the biggest problem on a Raiders team that has struggled to generate a consistent run game all season and been historically bad on defense.
If Pryor gets a chance to play down the stretch, it would most likely be in a limited role that took advantage of his mobility.
The situation at quarterback won’t matter much if the Raiders can’t get better play defensively. They have allowed 169 points over the last four games, the second most in a four-game span since the merger in 1970.
With the offense struggling to move the ball consistently the last few weeks, the Raiders have been blown out each time. They have been outscored by 70 points in the losses, falling by at least 21 points in three straight games for the first time in franchise history.
The Raiders have allowed 51 plays that have gone for at least 20 yards, including an NFL-worst 13 touchdowns on those big gainers as they have struggled to follow their assignments and tackle downfield.
“I feel like if we could just focus in and execute not 99 percent of the time, not 95 percent of the time, 100 percent of the time, we’d be a lot better on defense,” cornerback Joselio Hanson said. “That’s just the way it has gone right now. We’re not at 100 percent out there. If we get beat doing our job, that’s the thing. Some of the plays we’re beating ourselves and giving them plays.”
The frustration of losing has started to boil over as evidenced by a scrum that led to the ejections of defensive linemen Lamarr Houston and Tommy Kelly in Cincinnati.
Houston tackled quarterback Andy Dalton after the whistle for a false start penalty, leading to a fight with offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth. Both players got ejected as did Kelly, who joined the melee as he was coming onto the field for the next play.
“Once you’re on the field and you see something going on, you want to help your teammate,” Kelly said. “You always want to help your teammate when you think he’s in the kind of situation that Lamarr was in. You can’t lose your cool because you get kicked out of the game, you hurt your team. You can’t have that happen.”
One bit of good news for the Raiders is they get the next three games at home, starting Sunday against Cleveland (3-8). They also could get a boost if injured running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson (sprained right ankles) and defensive tackle Richard Seymour (hamstring) are able to return.
The trio has missed the last three games but Allen said he’s hopeful they will be able to practice Wednesday.
“We’re starving for a win right now,” Hanson said. “Can’t look in the past right now. Just have to move forward and look forward to this next game against the Browns.”