Oakland’s losing streak continued as they fell to the Cleveland Browns 20-10 on Sunday to extendtheir winless streak to five straight games.
The Raiders offense was unable to capitalize on two interceptions by Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden as they played from behind the entire game and were unable to catch up.
The loss put the Raiders at 3-9, securing their seventh losing season in their last nine. The Raiders went 8-8 in each of the past two seasons and the loss to the Browns means that they will not reach the same record in 2012.
Down just 13-10 in the fourth quarter, quarterback Carson Palmer under threw a pass that resulted in an interception that proved to be extremely costly. On 1st and 10 from the Browns 33-yard line, Palmer went for the touchdown to rookie wide receiver Juron Criner who was streaking down the sideline. Browns veteran cornerback Sheldon Brown took advantage of a poorly thrown ball and hauledin the interception to give Cleveland the ball on their own six-yard line.
“We can’t turn the ball over right there. We’ve got all the momentum, we’re moving the ball, and we can’t have that self-inflicted wound right there. It it’s not there, we have to get rid of it. But we can’t make that mistake.”
Rookie quarterback Weeden then orchestrated a flawless 14-play, 94-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown from running back Trent Richardson after eating up 6:04 off the clock. The score put Cleveland up 20-10 and all but secured a Cleveland victory.
The lead proved to be too much to overcome as Palmer was only able to score a touchdown to tight end Brandon Myers that left only one second remaining on the clock but the Raiders still down by three.
Myers hauled in 14 receptions for 130 yards and the one touchdown. Myers’ performance on Sunday tied Tim Brown for most receptions in a game in Raiders’ franchise history. But silver linings aren’t enough for Raiders head coach Dennis Allen at this point of a tough season.
“Brandon [Myers] has done a nice job for us in the passing game,” Allen said. “Obviously, our quarterback feels comfortable with him. I’m not really looking for silver linings right now, but yeah, he’s done a nice job for us.”
The Raiders offense struggled again in the first half as they were only able to put up three points for the half. The offense seemed to be able to get the ball moving but would stall without any points to show for it.
“We move the ball a little bit but not quite enough to get points and it’s putting more pressure on our defense too,” Raiders center Stefen Wisniewski said. “We’ve gotta play fast and try and play with a lead. We haven’t done that in a long time.”
One of the offense’s problems stem from dropped balls coming from multiple sources. Wide receiverDenarius Moore has had a tough couple of past games and dropped multiple passes Sunday.
“Obviously you don’t want to have any dropped balls in the game, but there’s going to be dropped balls in this league,” Palmer said after the game. “There are going to be dropped balls in an environment like that when the balls are wet and the turf is really sloppy. But we’ve got to find a way to make more plays than we did today.”
The Raiders defense continues to struggle with missed tackles and blown coverages. Cleveland was able to complete many big plays as a result of poor execution by Raiders defenders.
Cornerback Ron Bartell was also amongst the players that struggled as well as he was burned by Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon for a 44-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Coach Allen took both Bartell and Moore out of the game after seeing multiple mistakes by them.
“Yeah, we took him out there at the end. He dropped a couple of balls and we have to make plays when we get those opportunities,” Allen said. “Both of those guys, they understand that. It wasn’t from a lack of effort, but we’ve got to make the plays when we get an opportunity.”
Un-drafted rookie wide receiver Rod Streater was able to seize the opportunity of getting some playing time when he adjusted perfectly under a deep ball from Palmer to haul in a 64-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.
Streater, who hauled in just 19 receptions at Temple University last season, has now hauled in 21 receptions for 233 yards and two touchdowns. He had three catches for 96 yards and one touchdown against the Browns.
With just four games remaining on the schedule, rookie linebacker Miles Burris insists that this team will keep pushing themselves until the final second of the final game.
“We’re still fighting, we’re going to keep swinging the rest of the season no matter what happens,” rookie linebacker Miles Burris said. “When adversity hits and it strikes, a man reacts in that situation; a man gets up and fights and that’s what we’re doing. It’s not sad everyday. Everybody’s still putting their work in and we are giving it our all. We just have to go out there and put everything on the field.”
It was learned following the game that Allen was coaching with a heavy heart as he learned that his father was in serious condition with an illness. Allen is leaving town to be with his father but is expected to be back in Oakland Wednesday night before the Raiders host Peyton Manning and the Broncos on Thursday Night Football.