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Raiders Finale in Oakland About Nostalgia Not Playoffs



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ALAMEDA — Three straight lopsided losses means the finale at the Oakland Coliseum will be all about nostalgia instead of a playoff run.
The Raiders were all but eliminated from postseason contention when they fell 42-21 to the Tennessee Titans for their franchise record-tying third straight loss by at least 21 points.

“We’re going to try to win this game, absolutely. We’re going into the last home game in the history of the Oakland Raiders. It’s an emotional time. We’re going to try to win the game. We’re not eliminated from the playoffs. We’re going to try to win every single time we strap it on.”coach Jon Gruden
Oakland (6-7) is two games out of a playoff spot with three games remaining and needs to win all three and hope Pittsburgh and either Houston or Tennessee loses all three games to have a shot at the postseason.
With that seeming like an extremely remote possibility, the focus instead will be on the goodbye to Oakland. The Raiders will play their home finale against Jacksonville on Sunday before finishing the season with two straight on the road.
The Raiders are set to move to Las Vegas next season after spending the past 25 years in Oakland.
“We’re going to try to win this game, absolutely,” coach Jon Gruden said Monday. “We’re going into the last home game in the history of the Oakland Raiders. It’s an emotional time. We’re going to try to win the game. We’re not eliminated from the playoffs. We’re going to try to win every single time we strap it on.”

What’s Working

The first-half offense. The Raiders moved the ball with relative ease during the first half, scoring touchdowns on three of their four possessions. DeAndre Washington capitalized on a short field following a long interception return by Maurice Hurst by running 14 yards for a score, then Carr connected on TD passes of 49 yards to Rico Gafford and 1 yard to Foster Moreau.

What Needs Help

Defense. Coordinator Paul Guenther’s unit once again had no answer, allowing 552 yards and generating no sacks for the game. Ryan Tannehill threw for 391 yards and three scores, Derrick Henry ran for 103 yards and two TDs, and the defense allowed 9.36 yards per play for the franchise’s third-worst mark since the 1970 merger.
“They did what they wanted to do,” defensive tackle Hurst said. “We gave up way too many explosives plays. We weren’t stopping the run the way we should have. It’s an embarrassing three weeks.”
In two years under Guenther, the Raiders rank 31st in points allowed (28.7 per game), 31st in passer rating allowed (103.3) and last in yards per play allowed (6.21).

Photo of Oakland Raiders head coach, Jon Gruden

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden answers questions during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Sept. 10, 2018. Los Angeles won the game 33-13. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Stock Up

Punter A.J. Cole. On a day little went right, Oakland’s rookie punter had a strong showing. Four of his five punts pinned the Titans inside the 20, leading to drives starting on the 9, 6, 11 and 16. It wasn’t Cole’s fault that the Raiders defense failed to capitalize, allowing the Titans to drive for TDs following three of those four effective punts.
“It’s like getting punched in the stomach,” Gruden said. “It knocks the wind out of you.”

Stock Down

DE Clelin Ferrell. The fourth overall draft pick once again failed to make a big impact. He did have two quarterback hits, marking just the third game this season he has hit the quarterback. But Ferrell has gone four straight games without a sack and almost all of his production came when he had 2 1/2 sacks against the Chargers on Nov. 7 when Los Angeles had backups at both tackle positions.


TE Moreau will need season-ending knee surgery. Gruden had no update on the status of RB Josh Jacobs (shoulder) and RT Trent Brown (pectoral), who both missed the game against the Titans. WR Hunter Renfrow (ribs) will miss at least another week.

Key Number

1 —The Raiders have scored only one TD on 24 drives in the second half the past four games. Even that one meant little as it came in the final minute of a 40-9 loss to the Chiefs on Dec. 1. The Raiders are averaging a league-worst 1.14 points per drive in the second half over the past four games after ranking fifth in the league the previous four games at 2.45.

Next Steps

The Raiders host the Jaguars on Sunday and say good-bye to the Black Hole.