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8:52PM

Raiders' defense hasn’t been good for a month

By Art Spander

OAKLAND, Calif. — The season is coming apart, shredding, disintegrating. To think a month ago they — we — were talking about the Raiders going to the Super Bowl. What a laugh. What a mistake.

Four losses in a row now for Oakland. On Thursday they play the Kansas City Chiefs, who finally lost their first game Sunday, the same day the Raiders dropped their fourth in a row. Nobody this side of the ’72 Dolphins wins them all — and K.C. usually owns Oakland.

What the Raiders own is a 2-4 record. Which is exactly that of the Los Angeles (yes, I keep wanting to refer to them as San Diego) Chargers, who edged Oakland 17-16 on Sunday, on a field goal by Nick Novak with 0:00 on the clock at the Coliseum.

The time remaining is irrelevant. The Raiders' inability to move the ball when necessary, or to halt the Chargers when necessary, is very relevant.

The Raider locker room was full of platitudes. You’ve heard them all. We’re going to keep fighting. We just to correct the little things. We need to take care of the details. We’re better than that.

Derek Carr, starting once more at quarterback, made that last observation. Then after a moment, he suggested, “Maybe we’re not.”

Never mind the qualification. They’re not.

The Raiders have gone from the top, all the preseason predictions, the early season self-assurance, to the bottom. They started out making plays. Now they’re making errors.

Now they can’t get the first down on third and short. Now they can’t stop the other team on third and short. Or long.

Carr, who missed the last two games with a lower back injury, wants to take the blame, and a couple times he was at fault, overthrowing a ball that was intercepted two minutes into the game and then missing Marshawn Lynch early in the third quarter, the ball bouncing off Lynch’s outstretched hands and being picked off by Hayes Pullard on the San Diego 11-yard-line early in the third quarter.

Still, how to do you stick it to one man, if the most important man, when you have the ball almost 11 minutes of the third quarter and score zero points? Or when the Chargers move 78 yards on 11 plays in four minutes for that final, painful field goal?

The Raiders' defense hasn’t been any good for a month now. “Comes down to the end,” said Oakland coach Jack Del Rio. “Which team makes the plays. We had our chances.”

And squandered them, which is what losing teams do, or they wouldn’t be losing teams.

The best player on the field for the Raiders was the punter, Marquette King. He kicked four times and averaged 55 yards. Fantastic. And of little consequence when you can’t keep the other guys from running or passing.         

Well, make that passing. The Chargers rushed for only 80 yards. They threw for 268. Philip Rivers, their quarterback, kept connecting on third and short. And third and not-so-short. Rivers sure is over the hill, isn’t he?

“You get them pinned back,” said Del Rio of King’s punting effectiveness, "we have to get a stop. We didn’t get it done. They milked it.

“They won the game. They earned it. So we’re on a short week.”

Up next are the Chiefs on Thursday night, three days after a defeat. The Chiefs, who inevitably find a way to beat Oakland. Or is it Oakland that beats Oakland?

Hard to knock Del Rio for going for it on fourth and two on the Chargers 41 in the fourth quarter, even if the Raiders couldn’t get the two yards. All that great punting wasn’t worth much, so might as well gamble.

Asked what’s missing from the offense, Del Rio wouldn’t deal in specifics. “Just productivity,” he answered. Well, no kidding. If you can’t gain two yards on fourth down, can’t score a point when you’re controlling the ball most of the third quarter, you definitely are not productive.

On the last offensive series, before King punted 58 yards (whoopee), the Raiders had an illegal formation penalty followed by three go-nowhere plays, including the hook and lateral.

“We’re working hard,” said Del Rio. Our team is a proud team.”

Right now, however, it is not a very good team.

9:50AM

S.F. Examiner: Stars without home vs. home devoid of stars

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

This is pro football at the moment in the Bay Area: The 49ers are looking for a quarterback while the Raiders — like that song about the boll weevil — are looking for a home.

You hesitate to predict which team has a greater chance of success, although that billion-dollar-plus figure being tossed around for a new Raiders facility across the state border certainly grabs your attention.

Read the full story here.

©2017 The San Francisco Examiner

11:32AM

S.F. Examiner: Raiders reflect on bittersweet season

By Art Spander
San Francisco Exaimner

It’s the toughest day in any sport, the one after a season ends with a defeat. There’s satisfaction, of course, of what was accomplished — and for the Raiders that was considerable — and anticipation, of possibilities in the future. There also is regret.

So it was at Raiders Central in Alameda on Sunday. Outside, the rain fell — as if nature had to add to the gloom. Inside, the locker area, the media room, at different times a head coach and some of his players offered words both from the heart and head.

Read the full story here.

©2017 The San Francisco Examiner

9:21AM

S.F. Examiner: Raiders trudge forward into playoffs

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

You’re a Raiders fan, and you wonder what else can happen. The team finally gets out of its decade-deep hole, one that’s silver as much as black, and the owner wants to sneak it over the border.

It has a quarterback worthy of the chant, “MVP, MVP,” and not only does he get hurt, a broken leg no less, but so does his backup.

Read the full story here.

©2017 The San Francisco Examiner

8:50AM

S.F. Examiner: Matt McGloin inherits Raiders’ starting gig again

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

A little bit of a chip on his shoulder.

That was Jack Del Rio’s succinct description of the man who, unexpectedly — and because of the situation, unfortunately — is now the Raiders’ starting quarterback: Matt McGloin.

Read the full story here.

©2016 The San Francisco Examiner