Raiders running back says team focus is still on playoffs
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Running back Latavius Murray isn't concerned about the Oakland Raiders suffering through any type of hangover after their six-game winning streak ended last week in Kansas City.
With a chance to secure a playoff spot Sunday against San Diego, Murray said, the Raiders have moved on and are focused solely on the Chargers.
''We're looking forward to everything that we have in front of us'' Murray said Tuesday. ''Our goals . they're still right in front of us. That's how we re-focus. We want to be playing postseason so we can give ourselves a chance to play for the big one. It starts Sunday.''
The 21-13 loss to the Chiefs dropped the Raiders out of sole possession of first place and into a tie with Kansas City in the AFC West.
More critically, Oakland fell from the No. 1 seed in the AFC to No. 5, meaning that unless the standings change the Raiders will be playing all of their postseason games on the road - provided they get there.
The breakdown is simple: A win against the Chargers and the Raiders (10-3) are in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. A loss and they could still get in this week, though they'll need help from a handful of other teams to do so.
When the Raiders edged the Chargers earlier this season at the Coliseum on Oct. 9, Murray did not play because of a toe injury. His absence was glaring as Oakland was held to just 89 yards on the ground while rookies Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington filled in.
Murray is completely recovered now and coming off his second 100-yard game of the season. He is also tied for second in the NFL with 12 rushing touchdowns and has a 5.5 yard per-carry average in four career games against San Diego.
Yet Murray was not involved in one of the biggest plays of the game last week against the Chiefs when Oakland offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave called for a deep pass that fell incomplete. A false start penalty on fourth down forced the Raiders to pass again and that was also incomplete.
Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said earlier this week that he wished the team had run the ball in that situation, though Murray defended the call.
''I know everybody wants to talk about what we maybe should have did,'' Murray said. ''Maybe it's one of those things that Jack wishes he would have done differently but I trust in everything that he does and every call that comes from downstairs. If it did work then everybody wouldn't be talking about what we should have done. That's how the game goes.''
Oakland is expected to have left guard Kelechi Osemele back in the lineup after the 6-foot-5, 336-pound offensive lineman had to be hospitalized in Kansas City due to a kidney stone.
Osemele said he was awakened in the middle of the night by the pain and was eventually sent to the hospital where it took 12 hours to pass the kidney stone.
''It was very frustrating,'' Osemele said. ''It's pretty painful. I wouldn't wish that on anybody.''
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