This week, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen was quick to dismiss recent history.
Last season, his Raiders were 3-4 and were blown out by Tampa Bay 42-32, sending them on a tailspin for the rest of the 2012 season.
This past Sunday, the Raiders were 3-4 when they absorbed a 49-20 loss to Philadelphia.
Allen, in response to reporters’ inquiries, said there are no similarities between the circumstances or teams.
“None,” Allen told Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle. “None. All right? It’s a totally different football team.”
Last season, Oakland’s loss to the Bucs in the first week of November sent them spiraling out of control. The Raiders lost six in a row and then eight of nine to finish 4-12.
The week after the Bucs loss, the Raiders lost 55-20 to the Ravens. They then suffered successive losses to the Saints (38-17), Bengals (34-10), Browns (20-17) and Broncos (26-13) before finally getting a win Dec. 16 against the horrid Chiefs (15-0). But then the season concluded with losses to the Panthers and Chargers.
Now, at 3-5, the Raiders – who missed a chance to get back to the .500 mark last week – now have to travel cross-country to play the New York Giants, who’ve won two straight after an 0-6 start.
Allen believes he can get his team re-focused and back on the right track.
“We’re going to go back to work and we’re going to keep competing,” Allen told Tafur. “Because that’s what the men in that locker room are here to do. And that’s what they’ve done all year long.”
This season, the Raiders have shown resilience. Oakland bounced back after a season-opening loss to the Colts to beat the Jaguars, rebounded after a loss to the Redskins to topple the Chargers and defeated the Steelers after a very disappointing loss to the Chiefs, when everything seemed to collapse in the second half in Kansas City.
One thing that’s different this season, of course, is the quarterback. Terrelle Pryor has shown he can be a game-breaker with his running ability, whereas Carson Palmer, last year’s starter, couldn’t. And last season’s defensive unit – particularly the secondary – was far less effective.
Yet the Raiders of last week were torn apart by Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who threw for seven TDs. Is that a sign of things to come, or just a one-week breakdown?
The team’s performance Sunday in New Jersey will go a long way to predicting what the rest of the season will be like for the Raiders.
“We didn’t play well. We’ve got to own that,” Allen told the media. “We’re all responsible for it, everybody, coaches and players. … It’s one game, it’s one loss. We’re obviously disappointed in the manner it happened, but it’s still one loss.”