Sunday, December 2, 2012
Raiders lose 5th straight, 20-17 against Browns
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The problems piling up for Raiders first-year coach Dennis Allen are so vast and varied that it could take months -- if not years -- for the franchise to be fixed.
Instead, Oakland has three days, and Allen won't be around for most of them.
After the Raiders lost 20-17 to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Allen headed to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to be with his gravely ill father, Grady. The team said Allen will return to Oakland late Wednesday to coach against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.
All the same issues surrounding the team during its five-game losing streak will be waiting for Allen when he gets back.
"It's just tough, especially, week in and week out, it's like it's the same: can't stop the run, can't stop the pass," Raiders defensive back Michael Huff said. "Things just aren't going well on defense. Right now, I guess we're just a bad defense. We can't really hide it. At this point, the numbers don't really allow it. We're just bad right now."
Once again, the Raiders never seemed to be in rhythm.
The biggest blunder came when rookie Juron Criner used a double move to get behind Sheldon Brown and Carson Palmer underthrew the deep ball with Oakland already in position for a tying field goal. Brown intercepted the pass at the 6-yard line and Brandon Weeden engineered an impressive touchdown drive beginning with 9:31 to play.
"I was trying to take a shot there, go for the touchdown quickly and just didn't put the ball in the right spot, didn't give Juron a chance to make a play on the ball," Palmer said.
The Raiders (3-9) have lost five straight for the first time since a six-game losing streak in Lane Kiffin's first year as coach in 2006. They also have been officially eliminated from playoff contention for a 10th straight year.
Not that they ever really looked headed to the postseason.
Weeden threw for a career-high 364 yards and a touchdown and made key plays on the clinching 94-yard drive that helped the Browns snap a 12-game road losing streak. He hit fellow rookie Josh Gordon on a 44-yard score in the second quarter and Trent Richardson scored on a 3-yard run after Brown's key interception.
It all added up to the first road win for the Browns (4-8) since beating Indianapolis 27-19 in the second game of the 2011 season. The skid started a few weeks later with a loss in Oakland and went deep into this season.
"You don't want streaks like that," Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. "Let's face it, over the last few years we haven't done a great job of winning games. And so, as we take this journey with this young football team, they're starting to learn."
Weeden completed an 11-yard pass on third-and-3 to Gordon to get the Browns started and also had a big 22-yard pass to tight end Benjamin Watson. Weeden then converted a fourth-and-1 sneak from the Oakland 45 and Desmond Bryant jumped offside on a third-and-1 from the Raiders 10.
Richardson scored two plays later to give the Browns a 20-10 lead with 3:27 to go as the Browns won for the fourth time in seven games since an 0-5 start to match last season's win total.
Weeden had one of his best games as a pro against Oakland's depleted defense. He completed 25 of 36 passes and overcame two first-half interceptions to lead the late drive against a Raiders secondary that lost safeties Matt Giordano and Mike Mitchell and cornerback Phillip Adams to concussions.
Richardson ran for 72 yards and Gordon had six catches for 116 yards as Cleveland took advantage of Oakland's struggling defense.
Palmer was 34 for 54 for 351 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown to rookie Rod Streater. He added a 17-yard TD pass to Brandon Myers with 1 second left, but it was too late. Myers caught 14 passes for 130 yards, tying Tim Brown's franchise record for catches in a game.
But Palmer's interceptions overshadowed Oakland's positive marks.
"We can't turn the ball over like that," Allen said. "We've got all the momentum, we're moving the ball, and we can't have that self-inflicted wound right there. (If) it's not there we've got to get rid of it, but we can't make that mistake."
Oakland showed signs of life late in the third quarter when Desmond Bryant blocked a 28-yard field goal attempt by Phil Dawson. Four plays later, Streater made a good adjustment on a deep pass from Palmer that cut Cleveland's lead to 13-10.
After getting outscored by 90 points during what general manager Reggie McKenzie recently described as a "terrible November," the Raiders didn't get off to a much better start in December.
They punted on their first four possessions and fell behind 10-0 as Dawson kicked a 41-yard field goal early in the second quarter and Gordon beat Ron Bartell deep on a 44-yard pass later in the second.
Sebastian Janikowski got Oakland on the board with a 51-yard field goal, but was wide right on a 61-yarder at the end of the half.
NOTES: Dawson had made a career-high 29 straight FGs before the block. ... Janikowski kicked his 40th FG of at least 50 yards, tied with Morten Andersen for fourth all-time. ... The attendance of 43,641 is lowest at Oakland since the Raiders drew 32,218 on Oct. 3, 2010.
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