ALAMEDA, Calif. -- A 2-2 start hasn't made first-year Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson temper his lofty goals.
"We're going to win the AFC West," he said Monday. "We're going to do everything we can to get in the playoffs and go challenge for a Super Bowl. I am not backing down from that."
A week after bullying the New York Jets in an emotional victory in the home opener, the Raiders were dealt a dose of reality in a 31-19 loss to the New England Patriots that exposed plenty of issues that still need to be addressed if Oakland wants to end a run of eight straight non-winning seasons.
"We're going to fix it, and we have just the men to do it," Jackson said Monday. "What we got to do is go out and do it, and do it consistently, play in and play out. There's flashes of brilliance on this football team, whether it be offense or defense or special teams. And then all of sudden, sometimes things don't go the way we want them to. What we got to do is become a very consistent football team, and I think we can, and I think we will."
The Raiders have alternated wins and losses this season, going from a season-opening win in Denver to a second-half collapse in Buffalo to the impressive victory over the Jets to the latest loss to the Patriots.
Now Oakland is in for another tough test this week with a trip to Houston to play a 3-1 Texans team fresh off a victory over defending AFC champion Pittsburgh.
"I expected to be 4-0," Jackson said Monday. "I really did. I'm not going to back off of that, and we're not. We're 2-2, so I'm disappointed but not discouraged because I know what's in the locker room. I've said this before -- I have to keep coaching and keep teaching and keep pushing and keep grinding on these players and these players have to keep responding and they've responded every time I've asked them to. Maybe not as fast as I want them to, maybe not as fast as everybody wants them to, but I know the message is there and it's clear."
The Raiders have struggled defensively and are currently tied for second-worst in the league with 28.3 points allowed per game. The offense has been much better but had its own problems against the Patriots.
The Raiders gained a season-high 504 yards of offense but were held to a season-low 19 points because they couldn't finish off enough drives with touchdowns and committed a pair of costly turnovers that ultimately doomed them.
Oakland came into the game as the top team in football on drives that reached at least the opponent's 30-yard line, scoring nine touchdowns and two field goals on 11 drives. They weren't nearly as efficient facing the Patriots, which proved costly against such a dynamic offense.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.