In the aftermath of a lopsided, season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Rams in early September, Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said it was “very disappointing.”
Well, so was the whole 2018 season.
The season began with question marks and ended up with too many ugly answers and another bad loss, this time by a 35-3 score to the Chiefs in Kansas City Sunday that forever puts a 4-12 mark into the team record book.
While the 12-4 Chiefs head to the NFL playoffs, the Raiders head to the drawing board to try and make enough changes to be competitive in 2019.
Gruden’s first year back as a head coach included the trade of two of the team’s best players – Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper – injuries across the offensive line, a bad defense, no edge rush and an offense that was big on short passes and short on long passes.
On Sunday against the Chiefs, Kansas City scored two touchdowns on its first three drives to go up 14-0, while Oakland started the game by going fumble, interception, fumble, interception before finally nailing a 50-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson that would account for its only points of the day.
While running back Doug Martin had his second straight 100-yard rushing game, the pass offense was disappointing. Derek Carr was 24-of-33 with two interceptions and was sacked three times.
The Raiders also set a dubious mark for allowing the most points ever in a season, 467, breaking the mark of 458 set in 1961 (in just a 14-game season).
With the Raiders finishing 4-12, they have earned the right to the fourth overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
With general manager Reggie McKenzie fired, Gruden will work with a new GM to start the rebuild. One candidate emerged Sunday, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, who confirmed to reporters at the game in Kansas City that he has interviewed for the position, noted Vic Tafur of The Athletic.