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Sunday, December 15, 2013
Should Dennis Allen be on notice?

By Paul Gutierrez

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Dennis Allen and his four-year contract to coach the Oakland Raiders were seemingly safe heading into Sunday’s home game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Especially if the importance of continuity, in the face of so much upheaval since 2003, was to be taken at face value. Let alone owner Mark Davis’ admission to the Bay Area News Group this week that he understood the need to perform a “deconstruction” of the Raiders before overseeing a “reconstruction” of his team.

Dennis Allen
Dennis Allen's Raiders gave up 56 points in the loss to the Chiefs.
But Davis has also said he wanted to see progress this season.

And what the Raiders put on the field against the Chiefs was anything but progress. It was the kind of effort that could send Allen packing … especially if the Raiders follow up this 56-31 blowout loss with two more similar efforts against the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos to end the season.

The 56 points the Raiders surrendered, thanks in large part to seven turnovers and a leaky defense, were a franchise record, eclipsing the 55 points Oakland had given up to the Baltimore Ravens last season, the Chargers in 1981 and the Houston Oilers in 1961.

Allen and the Raiders have lost four straight games and six of their last seven to fall to 4-10. Indeed, according to Associated Press, the Raiders have now given up at least 49 points in two of their last three home games after doing it three times in their first 406 home games, dating to 1960.

Yes, they’ve looked just as disturbing as it reads.

“The hardest part is, the last few weeks we’ve looked like what everybody said we’d look like,” Charles Woodson said. “That’s probably the most disappointing part about it, just because we’ve shown flashes this year of being a pretty good team and we’ve just dropped the ball the past few weeks and really just not played good football, good sound football, taking care of your responsibilities and games have gotten away from us.”

Acting like they’ve never seen a screen pass before definitely hurt as Jamaal Charles took three for scores from 49, 39 and 16 yards for touchdowns.

Matt McGloin playing like the second coming of Marc Wilson or Jay Schroeder in showing flashes of brilliance but also throwing four interceptions -- each worse than the one before -- and losing a fumble on a low snap in the shotgun made matters worse.

Allen’s head-scratching subbing of Terrelle Pryor for McGloin in the middle of a series, and then going back to McGloin in the same possession, seemed reminiscent of Lane Kiffin attempting a 76-yard field goal while wearing white jerseys at home, if you catch my drift. Then it actually resulted in a touchdown.

And yet, the microcosm of this losing skid reached critical mass after the Raiders, who trailed by scores of 21-3 and 35-10, climbed back to within 35-31 late in the third quarter.

That’s when Charles broke off a 71-yard catch-and-run TD two plays later and then Taiwan Jones fumbled the ensuing kickoff . Four plays after that, and with Sean McGrath catching a 6-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith, the score was suddenly 49-31.

“It’s a small margin between being good and being bad,” said Raiders middle linebacker Nick Roach.

Or, a number of plays.

“It’s deflating,” Allen said of the sudden turn of events.

“We’ve got to play better and I’ve got to do a better job of getting them ready to play. We’ll do that. We’ll be back. We’ll get ready for San Diego. Listen, that’s what your options are.”

There should be security in that sentiment. Unless there’s not.