CHARLOTTE -- For the second time in a month, Raiders rookie coach Dennis Allen's late-game clock management style has come under scrutiny.
And for the second time in that same time frame, Allen was resolute in his explanation.
Late in Sunday's 17-6 loss to Carolina, the Raiders were within a touchdown and a two-point conversion of tying the Panthers, and even a field goal would still require another touchdown.
But rather than attempt a 42-yard field goal with the most accurate strong leg in the league in Sebastian Janikowski that would have pulled the Raiders to within 14-9, and with more than five minutes to play and the Raiders defense having not allowed a second-half score, Allen decided to go for it on 4th-and-4 from the Panthers' 24-yard line.
Matt Leinart's check-down pass to Darren McFadden was batted down by Greg Hardy and the Panthers took over. Seven plays and 43 yards later, Carolina kicked a field goal to essentially end the game.
So, was Allen contemplating kicking a field goal instead of going for it with relatively so much time left on the clock?
"Yeah, but my thought process was we needed a touchdown no matter what," Allen said. "So I thought since we had the opportunity -- we were down there (and) we kicked the field goal a couple times down there -- I felt like we needed to get a touchdown. So I wanted to try and go for it and see if we couldn't get it.
"Unfortunately, we weren't able to make the play."
The Raiders last scored a touchdown more than eight quarters ago, with 5:36 to play on Dec. 6 against Denver.
And it was four days before that when Allen chose to go for a touchdown rather than kick a field goal while trailing Cleveland by 10 points.
That time, Oakland obviously needed a field goal and a touchdown -- in either order -- before attempting an onside kick against the Browns.
But with a minute to go, and the Raiders already at the Browns' 24-yard line, rather than kick a 42-yarder, Allen continued to press ahead. The result? A Carson Palmer touchdown pass to Brandon Myers…with one second to play. Too late.
Allen's thinking that day was he wanted a touchdown first because, with Janikowski's leg, he could attempt a field goal almost immediately after recovering an onside kick. The Raiders, though, ran out of time against the Browns. Plus, Janikowski's onside attempt went out of bounds.
It seems the problem is in the clock management and execution, rather than the thinking.
The Raiders' non-division list of opponents for 2013 is comprised of home games against Jacksonville, Tennessee, Philadelphia, Washington and the team from the AFC North that finishes in the same spot in the standings as Oakland, with road games at Houston, Indianapolis, Dallas, the New York Giants and the AFC East team that finishes the same as the Raiders.
Oakland has clinched third place in the AFC West, so if the season ended today, it would play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers and travel to the New York Jets.
The Raiders could finish with as high as the No. 3 overall draft pick, behind Kansas City and Jacksonville, and the Chiefs would have the No. 1 selection if they lose at Denver this weekend.