The Raiders had some good news for their fans Sunday, in that they outscored the Bengals 10-0 in the third quarter.
After being outscored this season 123-34 in the 15 minutes after halftime, Oakland’s third-quarter performance in Cincinnati was a nice turnaround.
Unfortunately, the Bengals outscored the Raiders 24-0 in the first half and 10-0 in the fourth quarter to take a 34-10 decision and give Oakland (now 3-8) its fourth straight loss, the first time it has lost that many consecutive games since 2008.
Once again, the Raiders defense was little obstacle for an opponent.
The 6-5 Bengals quickly jumped ahead with a dominating first half, when they piled up 289 yards of offense and put up three touchdowns, two on short passes from second-year quarterback Andy Dalton and another on a short run by BenJarvus Green-Ellis, along with a field goal.
The Raiders offense, meanwhile, could get nothing going and quarterback Carson Palmer – in his first return to Cincinnati since being traded to the Raiders last season – was booed every time he took the field.
Palmer, who in recent games had put up big passing numbers, had one of his worst games of 2012, completing just 19-of-34 throws for 146 yards and an interception while being sacked four times.
The Raiders could manage just 218 yards of total offense. Running back Marcel Reece again was the most effective weapon, gaining 74 yards on 15 carries. But with the Raiders in a deep hole from the outset, Oakland had to turn to the passing game to try to catch up.
Defensively, the Raiders again were vulnerable in all areas, allowing Green-Ellis to rush for 129 yards, while Dalton threw for 210 yards and three scores. A.J. Green was his big-play target, catching three passes for 111 yards.
Going into the game, the Raiders knew they would have to fix their problems defensively in order to stay in the game with the Bengals. They’d given up an average of 45 points in their three consecutive losses before Sunday.
“We’ll play in spurts and we’ll be great here and there,” defensive back Michael Huff told the San Francisco Chronicle this past week. “But when we’re bad, we’re real bad. We’re horrible.”
And Sunday marked yet another horrible outcome.
The Raiders are last in the league in scoring defense and gave up more than 30 points for the seventh time this season.
They also gave up 415 yards Sunday, an average of 6.3 yards per play, and allowed the Bengals to convert 9-of-17 third-down plays.
For the Raiders to finish without a losing record now, they’ll have to win their five remaining games to finish .500, the same record they had last season which resulted in the dismissal of head coach Hue Jackson.
Next up for the Raiders are the Browns, who visit Oakland next weekend.