Having climbed to dizzying heights this past week, the Oakland Raiders fell to Earth Sunday.
Or, perhaps, crashed and burned on impact is more accurate.
The Raiders, who came up with their first victory of the season on Nov. 20 against the Chiefs, were justifiably upbeat. They climbed to No. 31 in some NFL power rankings (ahead of the Jaguars) following their win, plus had nine full days of preparation for game No. 12 vs. the Rams in St. Louis Sunday.
Yet that’s where dreams of a second straight victory were quickly destroyed.
The Rams, who came into the game 4-7, scored touchdowns on their first three possessions of the first quarter en route to a 52-0 victory over the Raiders, who fall to 1-11.
The Raiders defense had no answer for quarterback Shaun Hill, who threw for two scores, rookie running back Tre Mason who ran for more than 100 yards and two TDs – including an 89-yard sprint – and wide receiver Stedman Bailey, who averaged 20 yards per reception on five catches.
The Oakland defense, which had been much stronger in recent weeks, was shredded early and never could recover.
As comedian Frank Caliendo tweeted late in the second half, “RT if you’ve scored a touchdown against the Raiders today.”
On offense, meanwhile, the Raiders had nothing.
They went three-and-out the first three times they had the ball. They had no running game with Latavius Murray sidelined by a concussion. And, except for some short routes to Marcel Reece, James Jones and Maurice Jones-Drew, the passing attack was unable to threaten the Rams defense. Plus, starter Derek Carr (pulled late) threw two picks and Matt Schaub threw another one – a pick-six, of course -- late.
This was an ugly game for the Raiders from start to finish, and any hopes that the Raiders had perhaps turned a corner and might finish strong over the final five games of the season were quickly buried.
Obviously, Raiders fans – heartened by last week’s effort – were back to being frustrated again, wondering if things will ever change.
Tweeted one: “Dear Raiders: I am not sure how much longer I can handle this abuse. Thanks, disgruntled fan.” And another: “What a debacle. I’m waiting for my apology via Twitter, Mr. Davis.”
The Raiders fly home today and will soon begin preparations for hosting the cross-Bay 49ers this coming Sunday at O.co Coliseum.