The Raiders had a chance Sunday. A chance to jump into a tie for first place in the AFC, yes. But more importantly a chance to show that while young and decimated by injuries, the Silver and Black still could go toe-to-toe with the elite in the AFC.
Instead, they laid an egg.
The Raiders went into Arrowhead Stadium, turned the ball over three times, committed 12 penalties and were bled dry by the Chiefs in a 40-9 thrashing that puts their hopes of making the playoffs at nine percent.
Jon Gruden's club has relied on heavy contributions from one of the most productive rookie classes in recent NFL history. From No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell to undrafted fullback Alec Ingold, the Raiders rookies have had a dynastic vision for the Silver and Black ever since they arrived in the spring.
Sunday's lackluster effort wasn't good enough by any measure. Running back Josh Jacobs, who became the first Raiders rookie to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark Sunday, took to Twitter after the loss -- in response to a congratulatory tweet from Ingold -- and vowed to get the Raiders right.
I love you bro we gone get this shit right— Josh Jacobs (@iAM_JoshJacobs) December 2, 2019
Fellow rookie Trayvon Mullen, who was one of the few bright spots for the Raiders on Sunday until he was torched for a score in the third quarter, sent his own message to Raider Nation.
God gives the toughest battles to his toughest soldiers. b o u n c e b a c k— Trayvon Mullen Jr (@MullenIsland1) December 2, 2019
At 6-6, the Raiders face an uphill climb to the postseason with four games left.
But with a win over the 7-5 Titans in Week 14, they could jump back into the periphery, needing the Steelers to falter down the stretch to grab the No, 6 seed and a likely date with (gulp) ... the Chiefs in the AFC Wild Card Round.
The Raiders have fought through a lot this season, giving fans November and December football to care about during their last ride in the Bay Area.
Their playoff dreams might come up short, but the future, led by Jacobs and Mullen, is unbelievably bright.