After losing to the Saints a week ago, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen in his day-after news conference said, “You wake up in the morning and your gut hurts.”
Now, after the Raiders lost a fourth straight game, Allen must have a gigantic headache to go with the upset stomach.
Nothing, it seems, is going right.
Oakland had severe defensive problems going into its matchup with Cincinnati, and those problems just got worse as the Bengals jumped all over the defense, going up 24-0 in the first half en route to a 34-10 victory.
In losing their fourth straight – the team’s longest losing streak since 2008 – the Raiders have been outscored 169-79. And on Sunday, they gave up six plays of 25 yards or more. A secondary that’s been in shambles since the beginning of the year hasn’t been able to consistently cover anyone. The run defense, meanwhile, continues to allow huge holes for opposing backs.
Allen, a defense-first coach who did a fine job as Broncos coordinator last season, has seen his team’s defense get worse instead of better as this season has progressed and the Raiders’ record has dropped to 3-8.
Defensive end Andre Carter told Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle that Oakland simply cannot seem to fix its problems.
“History repeating itself,” Carter said. “We’re not gap-sound and it’s an ongoing problem. We say we’re a good team all week, but then you watch the game film and it says something different.”
Bengals running backs averaged 6.5 yards a carry in rushing for 221 yards, and Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton threw for three touchdowns. Oakland right now can’t stop either the run or the pass.
The Raiders rank 25th in the NFL in total defense and last in the league in scoring defense, giving up 32.4 points per game.
As Tafur wrote, “The Raiders are a walking highlight reel – for opponents.”
And, with five games to go – including Sunday’s game in Oakland against the Browns – there may not be much hope for improvement. Some players, such as Michael Huff, said the team came out flat against the Bengals. Coming out flat – when maximum effort and enthusiasm is needed – is a guaranteed ticket to getting flattened.
And, giving your head coach more aches, pains and indigestion.
“There’s always a breakdown somewhere,” cornerback Ron Bartell told the Chronicle. “Nobody is overpowering us or beating us with skill; it’s always a breakdown. We have to figure out how to do our jobs on each and every snap.”