The Las Vegas Raiders felt embarrassed and they should have been.
Favored by the oddsmakers to win last Sunday in Atlanta, instead, the Raiders were trounced by the Falcons, 43-6, and it was probably worse than the numbers.
However, the Raiders—to a man—stood up, made no excuses, and are ready to move on to next Sunday’s game against the New York Jets (0-11) at MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J., as they try to regroup and make a run for the playoffs.
The Jets trounced the Raiders, 34-3, at almost the same point of the season last year and started them on a skid of five losses in the last six games that left them at 7-9 and out of the playoff picture.
“I’m not going to worry about anything down the road except the Jets,” Coach John Gruden said. “We’re concentrating one week at a time. “If you watched the Jets play yesterday, they’re a handful.
“They are going to be hard to move the ball on. Gregg Williams and this defense give people problems. This will be a fistfight, no doubt about it. I got a lot of respect for the way the Jets are competing.”
But even before looking forward to the Jets, the Raiders (6-5) took one more look back at the loss to the Falcons.
And it was painful, which could be a positive moving forward.
“We just put it behind us and that’s what we have to do and that’s what we will do,” Gruden said. “It’s a challenge right now for any team, concentrating through all adversity, the ups-and-downs, players coming and going.
“ … That’s what we’re gonna do and that’s what we have to do. We’ve got to learn from our mistakes. … We’ve got to stay focused and we’ll regroup and hopefully play much better next week. This is the National Football League. This is a tough business and we’ve just got to regroup and get ready for the next one.”
That theme runs through the Raiders roster this week, trying to forget the Falcons and get ready for the Jets.
Quarterback Derek Carr has a lot to forget after losing three fumbles in the pocket and throwing a pick-six, but he took full responsibility for four of the five turnovers the Raiders committed in Atlanta.
“I’ve got to get the ball out quicker, you know, it’s definitely not my line’s fault,” Carr said. “They’ve been doing a heck of a job, so I got to do a better job of stepping up and making my read happen faster.
“Very frustrating loss. We haven’t done that in a while. This is one of those where you won't watch (the film) it, correct and burn the film because it’s like, ‘That’s not who we are.’ There’s one or two ways we can handle it. We can say, ‘Aw crap,’ and keep giving in to that, or we can grit our teeth like I think our team will and get ready (for the Jets).
“You don’t want that taste in your mouth for a couple of days, but honestly, for us, maybe it’s a good thing. … We have a team that kicked the crap out of us last year coming up next. They beat the dog out of us last time. So we’d better get our minds right before we get on the plane for that game.”
The Raiders managed only 243 total yards, including 40 rushing, but this was a team effort, and while the Silver and Black’s defense allowed an acceptable total of 304 yards, the Falcons controlled the ball for 34 minutes and 57 seconds.
Quarterback Matt Ryan orchestrated the Atlanta offense, passing for 185 yards and two touchdowns, while the Falcons rushed for 125 yards.
“We came out, we were kind of flat, and it was just kind of a chain effect,” Raiders safety Johnathan Abram said. “It really wasn’t a snowball effect. We couldn’t get going on offense. Defense, they had a couple of plays where they ended up getting in the end zone. Overall, we just have to do better on both sides, in all phases of the game.
“That’s not who we are, especially coming off a heartbreaking loss (to Kansas City) like we did last week. We were supposed to come out here this week and kind of take our anger out on the Falcons and I feel like we didn’t do that. I feel like we had a pity party for ourselves.”
Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski had one of the better games for the Raiders, making six total tackles, including two for losses, and made the only sack for Las Vegas, and had an interception that was nullified by a penalty.
Kwiatkoski wasn’t taking any bows.
“Honestly, just anytime you lose, it’s frustrating,” Kwiatkoski said. “No matter how it comes, any time you lose it’s frustrating. It’s equally as frustrating no matter whether it’s close, or not close. It’s always frustrating.”
Added wide receiver Hunter Renfrow: “I don’t think there’s a fear because we control it. We control our destiny. I really feel like we’ve got a good group of guys, and it does feel different this year. It really does. And we’ll keep saying that, and we’ve got to finish better than we did last year.”
Forgetting Atlanta, that’s all that matters.
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