LONDON –- The Raiders got possession to start the first half and made the most of it. The offense marched 74 yards down the field and scored a touchdown.
They made it look easy, adding an air of optimism to Sunday’s proceedings.
That high didn’t last long. The Raiders reached new lows with a miserable performance that should rank among the worst in recent memory.
They embarrassed themselves in a 38-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins at London’s Wembley Stadium, which held a massive contingent of impressionable English fans.
Head coach Dennis Allen has been on the hot seat since Week 2 and, while there was nothing official to report at the end of Sunday’s game, it’s hard to imagine they retain him after an 0-4 start where the Raiders rarely competed against beatable teams.
The Silver and Black could do nothing right in a game they simply had to win. Owner Mark Davis was displeased with his head coach and the team’s early returns, but a solid performance in London may have spared him at least until season’s end.
What happened on Sunday just may have sealed Allen's demise. The Raiders couldn’t stop a Dolphins offense ranked No. 23 in total offense. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was near perfect and produced scoring drives on Miami’s first four drives. The Raiders were busy going three-and-out during that span, which produced a 24-7 halftime lead.
According to the Associated Press’s Josh Dubow, it marked the ninth time they were down by 17 or more under Allen’s watch.
The Raiders may have lost starting quarterback for a spell. He suffered knee and ankle injuries in the second half and was replaced by backup Matt McGloin.
It turned into a comedy of errors in the second half, with turnovers on four consecutive drives. The worst came on a bad snap from center Stefen Wisniewski that Miami returned for a touchdown.
It never got better for a Raiders team in serious trouble, one that may see some change during the bye week.
No backup LBs: The Raiders were razor thin at linebacker heading into Sunday’s game with Miami. They had four healthy bodies, but a first-half hamstring injury suffered by Kaluka Maiava left the Raiders with no backups. Bojay Filimoeatu played in Maiava’s stead.
Carr injury: Starting quarterback Derek Carr hurt his ankle and knee on a 2nd-and-2 play from the Miami 46-yard line with a little over 5:30 remaining in the third quarter.
Carr pleaded with the coaching staff to stay in the game despite the fact that he could barely walk, but coaches replaced him with backup Matt McGloin.
Sitting it out: Denarius Moore wasn’t on the injury report leading up to Sunday’s game, but he was inactive nonetheless. Moore’s inconsistency and inability to perform well in the clutch could’ve put him in the doghouse with coach and quarterback.
The Raiders chose to go with just four receivers, with James Jones, Andre Holmes, Brice Butler and Vincent Brown.
Linebackers Nick Roach and Sio Moore and receiver Rod Streater didn’t play due to injury. Guard Tony Bergstrom and tackle Matt McCants weren’t needed. Quarterback Matt Schaub is back in the United States tending to a personal issue.
What's next: Per NFL custom, Raiders have a bye week to recover after playing a game in London. After that, they host the San Diego Chargers to start a brutal stretch where the Raiders play six 2013 playoff teams in eight weeks.