ALAMEDA -– The Raiders held their first “victory Monday” of the season this week, giving the players a day off to revel in a 24-13 upset victory over the 49ers. Interim head coach Tony Sparano sat down that afternoon for what he expected to be a overwhelmingly positive press conference.
Then the first question was asked: "How, Tony, will the Raiders avoid a letdown after winning a game?"
“Man,” Sparano said with a smile. “You went right for the jugular there.”
It was a valid question. Last time the Raiders won a game, they followed it up with a stinker. The Raiders beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 12, and then got whooped 52-0 by St. Louis 10 days later.
Not good form, guys.
Players and coaches admitted they exhaled a bit too long, had a lackluster week of practice and suffered their most lopsided loss since 1961 against the Rams.
Sparano told his players to remember both the elation of victory and the stomach turning nausea following a crippling defeat.
The Raiders hope to snap a bad pattern on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders will move on quickly from the 49ers win that was essentially their Super Bowl. With just three more chances to get a win, the Silver and Black can’t waste a shot to beat the Chiefs.
“(Monday) was their ‘atta boy’ day and when we get in here on Wednesday we’ll be moving right on to Kansas City,” Sparano said. “I don’t think you’ll get many questions answered about the game this week from them because they’re going to move on to Kansas City here really fast and that’s going to be the approach.”
The Raiders haven’t won a road game since November 2013, and they often struggle playing in 10 a.m. games. They’ve lost 13 of their last 14 morning games. The Raiders have moved their practices up to coincide with kickoff, and are intensely focused on trying to beat the Chiefs a second time this year.
The St. Louis game, is an all-too-recent reminder of what can happen without total focus.
“I think everyone was embarrassed by the way we played,” left tackle Donald Penn said. “That’s why we came out strong. We responded well. We have to win the next game and take another step forward.”