Programming note: Watch Raiders Press Conference Live today at 2:00 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California, or streaming live right here.
SEATTLE – The Raiders had a real chance to beat the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon.
As such, they’ll remember a 30-24 loss at CenturyLink Field for what could’ve been had they started better or sustained solid play just a little bit longer.
Close losses will do that to a team, especially one halfway through the season without a win.
The Raiders know that being competitive won’t cut it, and this loss was more about mistakes than talent disparity.
Here are three negatives the Raiders will rue:
1. Lopsided turnover ratio: The Raiders should’ve learned last week that committing multiple turnovers on the road is a death sentence. They coughed it up three times against the Cleveland Browns, which forfeit their chance to win a game.
They did so again at Seattle. Turnovers came in a flurry this time, with two Derek Carr interceptions and a TJ Carrie fumble in the first half. Those miscues resulted in 10 points for the Seahawks and helped establish a commanding 24-3 halftime lead.
Carr’s first career pick six was the costliest mistake, but a second interception two passes later sent the Raiders down a first-half rabbit hole.
The Raiders surged back via special teams, but the odds were stacked against them after falling behind 24-3. Without sloppy play, the Raiders stood a solid chance of upsetting the Super Bowl champs.
“When you turn the ball over three times in the first half,” interim head coach Tony Sparano said, “when you’re playing catch up against a good team like this on the road in their environment, it makes it really hard to do that.
2. Penalty killers: The Silver and Black had five penalties for 69 yards, a manageable total on the surface. Context will change that opinion. Four of the five flags gave Seattle a first down.
Cornerback DJ Hayden was flagged for pass interference and taunting on drives that resulted in Seahawks touchdowns.
The toughest to take came late in the third quarter, when the Raiders forced an incompletion on 3rd-and-3 and Tarell Brown was called for defensive holding away from the play.
The Seahawks converted a field goal on that drive to create a two-score cushion and stall the Raiders’ second-half surge.
3. Raiders can’t run: Raiders coaches are routinely peppered over a wavering commitment to the run. Why don’t they stick with the ground game more often? Why not give Darren McFadden more chances, or get Latavius Murray involved? An answer the coaches can’t give: the Raiders aren’t very good on the ground.
They’ve done well at times, but they are dead last in rushing through eight games. That’s no fluke. It’s an accurate characterization.
The Raiders struggled mightily against a stingy Seahawks run defense, totaling 37 yards on 18 carries. McFadden averaged 1.5 yards per carry and, outside a 10-yard run by Marcel Reece, the Raiders were stuck in quicksand.
That heaps pressure on already-burdened rookie quarterback Derek Carr, who is being asked to lead and produce without proper assistance.
Young quarterbacks who thrive generally have a productive running game to fall back on, like Russell Wilson has in Seattle.
Marshawn Lynch offset Wilson’s rough day at the office and helped engineer a win. The Raiders couldn’t do the same.