Del Rio Played it Safe in Raiders' Third Straight Loss - NBC Bay Area


Del Rio Played it Safe in Raiders' Third Straight Loss

Coach's decision not to go for it on fourth-and-three late in the game played a part in his team's failure to break losing streak



    Del Rio Played it Safe in Raiders' Third Straight Loss
    Getty Images
    Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio says he's confident his team can bounce back this season. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

    Since taking over as head coach of the Raiders in 2015, Jack Del Rio has gained a reputation as an aggressive leader.

    There was that fourth-and-1 gamble late in a game against the Texans last season that helped secure a 27-20 victory, and, of course, the successful decision to go for an end-of-game two-point conversion on the road against the Saints to open 2016.

    But on Sunday, Raiders fans saw a different Del Rio. In a 30-17 loss to the visiting Baltimore Ravens – Oakland’s third straight defeat – Del Rio decided to punt on fourth-and-3 from the Ravens’ 44-yard-line with 8:58 to play while trailing by 10 points.

    The move didn’t work out well, when Marquette King’s punt went into the end zone for a touchback and Baltimore bled the clock on a long march to a field goal to lock up the win.

    After the game, Del Rio defended the move that seemed so uncharacteristic of his 2016 coaching style.

    “Hindsight is always 20/20 on things like that,” Del Rio told the media. “You’re thinking you’re going to pin them inside their 10. We didn’t. You’re thinking the defense will give us a stop and get us the ball back. We didn’t.

    “A fourth-down call with nine minutes left in the game. Was that the difference today? I don’t think so.”

    Of course, the Raiders had other problems. A key turnover that gave the Ravens an early touchdown, a poor running game and leaky pass protection all helped torpedo Oakland’s hopes to break a two-game losing streak.

    But now, five games into the 2017 season, the Raiders are 2-3 and seem to have lost the swagger Del Rio helped build in their 12-4, playoff-bound 2016 season.

    The Raiders will try to get back on track this Sunday against the visiting Chargers. They need a victory to regain the momentum they somehow lost after winning their first two games this season.

    “I think you’d have to have a little bit of a question about the confidence level,” Del Rio said. “You just went out and didn’t get it done three weeks in a row. To me, it’s real simple. It’s a group of … prideful men. We’ll get back in the saddle, get back to work.”

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