OAKLAND COLISEUM — For the Raiders, the losing continues. The team has now dropped five in a row, ensuring the 3-9 Raiders of its first sub-.500 season since 2009.
Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden had 364 yards passing and a touchdown to rookie receiver Josh Gordon as the Browns held off the Raiders in the second half, 20-17.
This five-game skid is Raiders’ worst losing streak since dropping six straight back in 2007. That team finished with a record of 4-12.
The Raider defense gave up less than 30 points for the first time in four games, but they also allowed a whopping 475 yards of total offense to Cleveland, the No. 27 offense in the league.
In defeat, Carson Palmer was 34-of-54 for 351 yards and two touchdowns.
When Palmer makes mistakes, they’re glaring ones. Trying to go for the win down 13-10 with 9:38 remaining, Palmer’s pass attempt to Juron Criner was poorly aimed, and veteran cornerback Sheldon Brown snared the interception that would set up the winning score.
Weeden engineered a 14-play, 94-yard drive that took 6:04, capped off by Trent Richardson’s 3-yard scoring run.
Palmer explained his reasoning in the locker room:
Post-Game Audio: Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer
“I tried to take a shot there and go for the touchdown quickly and didn’t put the ball in the right spot. I didn’t give Juron a chance to make a play on the ball. I just didn’t put it far enough outside.”
Palmer has 3,532 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season. But the bottom line is that Oakland has a losing record, making his stats meaningless unless he’s on your fantasy football team.
The Raiders still had a chance with 3:27 remaining, but the team would need a touchdown and a field goal to at least tie it.
Poor clock management by rookie head coach Dennis Allen cost the Raiders in their final drive. Out of timeouts, the Raiders would waste the game’s precious final seconds getting a touchdown, instead of kicking a field goal earlier and trying to recover an onside kick to attempt the go-ahead score.
Allen said after the game:
Post-Game Audio: Raiders head coach Dennis Allen
“We thought about it but we were down there and I was trying to get seven points there. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time on the clock to be able to execute an on-side kick and still have an opportunity.”
After three quarters in which the Raiders failed to reach the red zone, Oakland finally came through with a big scoring play with 26 seconds left in the third quarter. Palmer threw a deep ball that Rod Streater caught beautifully over his shoulder then ran for the end zone completing a 64-yard catch and run.
Coach Allen continued to try to sound optimistic, which is a real challenge since the Raiders next face the AFC West Champion Denver Broncos in a Thursday night nationally-televised game:
“The only thing you can do is you can go back to work and keep grinding and keep working to get better. Like I’ve said before, no one is coming in and saving us. It’s our job and we have to get it done and the guys in the locker room are still working hard to get it done.”
The Cleveland Browns, meanwhile, have won four of their last seven games after starting the season 0-5. Head coach Pat Shurmer said the credit goes to his young quarterback:
“You evaluate quarterbacks based on winning and in the last seven weeks we’re 4-3 and I think that’s part of the measure of a quarterback. You can look at the statistics and all that craziness but at the end of the day you want a quarterback that can lead your team to victories.”