Barely more than 24 hours after Sunday’s flat, deflating loss, Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio still was seething when he arrived at his weekly news conference Monday.
And it didn’t even take a pointed question to get him going.
“Here’s what I know,” Del Rio said upon sitting down. “As players and coaches, we are as frustrated and pissed off about what occurred yesterday as you can be, as anybody out there. Losing a game like that hurts.
“There are no words I can say here today that are going to take away that pain or make those who care about the Raiders feel better. So I’m really not going to try. We’ve got wholesale jerseys to coach it better, we’ve got to execute it better.”
The Raiders, tied atop the AFC West entering the game, fell behind 26-0 to Kansas City. They woke up a bit in the fourth quarter but still lost 26-15. Oakland fell to 6-7 on the season, a game behind the Chiefs and Chargers.
That obviously adds urgency to Sunday night’s home game against the Dallas Cowboys. The Raiders, who then finish the season on the road against the Eagles and Chargers, probably cannot afford another loss if they want to reach the playoffs.
Given the stakes, and how the Raiders clawed their way into contention with consecutive wins over the Broncos and Giants the previous two weeks, Sunday’s listless showing was striking. Quarterback Derek Carr was uncharacteristically angry afterward, and Del Rio’s day-after tone followed suit.
Former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon, now a CBS Sports Network analyst, didn’t sugarcoat his assessment.
“Absolutely an embarrassing performance,” Gannon said on the air Monday. “I mean, they didn’t even get off the bus. That game was over at the half. It’s beyond me how you could be unprepared for essentially what was a playoff game. …
“Derek Carr was terrible. They didn’t run the football. They weren’t good on defense. The coaching was bad. It’s inexcusable to me. They’ve got problems right now in Oakland, and this has been festering for a while.”
One of the problems, clearly: The Raiders often do not seem ready to play. They trailed 16-0 at halftime Sunday, in part because their five first-half possessions went punt-punt-punt-interception-punt.
If this sounds familiar, there’s ample reason. The Raiders also started slowly this season in losses to Washington (down 14-0 at halftime); Denver (down 10-0 after the first quarter); Baltimore (down 14-3 after the first quarter); and New England (down 17-0 at halftime).
Some of this traces to Carr’s curious timidity. He seems uncommonly indecisive, unwilling or unable to throw the ball downfield. His passes also tend to lack the velocity they had last season.
Del Rio, later in Monday’s news conference, essentially criticized his offense. He was asked about Carr’s “tentative” play and whether he’s lost confidence in his offensive line or wide receivers.
Del Rio’s answer was telling, if only because he didn’t mention the receivers at all.
“I don’t believe so,” Del Rio said. “I don’t believe he’s lost any confidence in his line. I think there have been many examples throughout this season where we have not played boldly, to go make the plays. And I would really like to see that.
“If you kind of go halfway, it’s not good enough anyway. So I’d love to see us just let it rip and go play.”
He needs to see it soon, or the Raiders will not play any games in January.