The Raiders were embarrassed Thursday night on national television.
The Raiders were crushed 34-3 by a 1-7 49ers team – who were starting a quarterback who’d never thrown a pass in an NFL regular-season game – and now are tied with the New York Giants for the worst record in the NFL.
In the aftermath of the wipeout, NFL analysts, columnists and fans have been suggesting the Raiders quit Thursday night. They see a team that is perhaps fed up with new head coach Jon Gruden, fed up with the trades of Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper and fed up with a franchise that appears to have no interest in winning in 2018,
ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, a former NFL player and director of pro personnel for two teams, said the Raiders look like a team that has had its “spirit broken” because the organization “is not interested in them.”
“They look like a team that’s broken,” he said. “Looks like a team that’s lost its will.”
The Raiders fired Jack Del Rio after the 2017 season because the team took a steep dive from 12-4 in 2016 to 6-10, then gave Gruden a whopping 10-year, $100 million contract. But Gruden has alienated key players, discarded top draft picks and traded one of the NFL’s best players, Mack, just before Game 1 of the regular season, which sent shock waves through his former teammates.
After Thursday night’s wipeout loss, Gruden was asked about the effort his team gave against the 49ers, but declined to say players had quit.
“I’m not going to say anything about the effort,” Gruden told Matt Schneidman of the Bay Area News Group. “I know there were some big plays and I thought the guys fought until the end.”
A few Raiders, such as tight end Jared Cook, quarterback Derek Carr and defensive lineman Frostee Rucker said they haven’t quit and are fighting hard to win games. Yet as Schneidman wrote, the overall picture looks different from the stands, the press box and from in front of the TV.
“It’s hard making the case Jon Gruden’s Raiders haven’t thrown in the towel to an extent when watching them sink to the undoubted worst team in the NFL at 1-7," he wrote. "The New York Giants are 1-7, too, but nothing gets worse than the 2018 Oakland Raiders that wasted an hour-long bus ride south to show a national audience in prime time whatever that mess was.”
As Schneidman noted, the Raiders defense is giving up an average of 6.75 yards per play this season, more than any team in NFL history.
Maybe the Raiders haven’t quit. Maybe they’re not that talented, overmatched, tired and have had the wind – and spirit – knocked out of them by Gruden’s takeover and trades, each player wondering if he’s next to go to the doghouse or the waiver wire.
One thing seems fairly certain, though, eight games into Gruden’s contract for 160 games through 2027: Hiring Gruden looks like one of the ugliest moves in franchise history. This won't end well.
The Raiders will return to action Sunday, Nov. 11, against the Los Angeles Chargers at O.co Coliseum.