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Raiders Try to Avoid First 0-3 Start Since 2018

After starting the 2022 NFL season a disappointing 0-2, the Las Vegas Raiders look to avoid 0-3 for the first time since 2018.
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The Las Vegas Raiders’ 4-0 preseason record was promising, but obviously meaningless since they have lost their first two games of the 2022 regular season despite high hopes at the start of Josh McDaniels’ first year as head coach of the Silver and Black.

The last time the Raiders started 0-2 was in 2018, when they actually lost their first three games to the Los Angeles Rams, 33-13, the Denver Broncos, 20-19, and the Miami Dolphins, 28-20, in Coach Jon Gruden’s first season in his second stint with the Oakland Raiders.

Those Raiders actually lost seven of their first eight games that season, and right now Raider Nation can only hope things don’t go that way again.

McDaniels’ Raiders lost to the Los Angeles Chargers, 24-19, at Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., in their opener and to the Arizona Cardinals, 29-23, in overtime last Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

The Raiders are last in the AFC West, considered by many to be the best division in the NFL this season, with the Kansas City Chiefs on top at 2-0, with the Chargers and Denver Broncos both at 1-1.

The worst thing about the 0-2 start is that had a play or two gone the other way in both of those games, the Raiders would be 2-0 and tied for first place with the Chiefs in the AFC West. The Raiders rallied against the Chargers after a listless first half but fell short, and even worse they built leads of 20-0 at halftime and 23-7 in the fourth quarter before allowing the Cardinals to rally for the victory.

But there still is hope, as the last time NFL teams started 0-2 and went on to make the playoffs came in 2018 when the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks pulled off the feat. Of course, the 27 other teams that started 0-2 going back those four seasons were unable to reach the post-season.

“It’s only two games, but every game is important,” said McDaniels, who will try get the Raiders on track this Sunday when they travel to play the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. “We have a lot of things we’re going to be able to learn from. We’ve gotta start learning and winning at the same time, that’s important for us. We’ll be able to learn something from this as well.

“ … At the end of the day, I think you have to learn how to handle success like we had in the first half (against Arizona), and/or failure if that’s you on the other end of the spectrum if you’re behind. And that starts with me, I have to do a better job of getting our team able to handle a lead just as much as we were able to try to fight back from a deficit (against the Chargers).

“We’re learning, and we have to learn quickly, and we have to start producing some victories here along the way.”

As usual, when a team struggles to win the way the Raiders have in the first two games, the head coach and the quarterback take most of the heat.

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Raiders quarterback Derek Carr understands that and has dealt with it before.

“You know me, I’m always optimistic,” said Carr, who was the quarterback of that 2018 team, which finished with a 4-12 record. “This crap ain’t over. We feel crappy right now, but we are still a good football team. So, we’re making sure we keep that same mindset and not, ‘Oh no, it’s over.’

“I’ve been doing this for a while, man. I know we have good guys who work hard and care, so I know that we can pull ourselves out of it, but it’s going to take us doing it the right way.”

Longtime Raiders fans don’t expect it to happen again, but the worst year in Raiders ever had came when they lost their first 13 games in the 1962 season, after losing the last six games the year before for what turned into a 19-game losing streak before beating the Boston Patriots, 20-0, in the season finale.

“There will dancing on Broadway tonight,” Raider play-by-play man said comically on the radio as time ran out in that season-ending victory.

Of course, Al Davis took the Raiders over in 1963 and led the Raiders to a 10-4 record, but loyal members of Raider Nation figure McDaniels should be able to turn things around much quicker than that.

The Raiders (0-2) will kickoff next Sunday at 10 a.m. PDT in Nashville, Tenn., against the Tennessee Titans. You can watch the game on FOX.

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