The Raiders will need some help if they hope to get to the season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs with a chance to win the AFC West title. If Oakland ultimately gets to that game and is already out of the race, the Raiders can look back to the third quarter of their 38-31 road loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 14.
The loss, along with a 24-23 loss to Arizona on the road on a 32-yard missed field goal attempt at the gun, will likely be the games from which the Raiders cannot recover. Oakland, 6-7, finishes the season by hosting Denver and Indianapolis before finishing the season at Arrowhead Stadium against Kansas City.
"This one was a real kick in the gut," Raiders coach Tom Cable said. "We gave up too many big plays defensively, and the turnover on the kickoff return really hurt. Those were the two biggest factors, in my opinion."
They've got too many losses for anything other than a division title. Looking to win their first game against a team outside of the AFC or NFC West for the first time this season, Oakland had things its way at halftime, leading 17-7. Then a game most figured would be a death struggle between the team's second- and third-ranked running teams turned into a shootout, with the Jaguars exploding for three touchdowns and erasing a 24-14 Oakland lead in a matter of just a few minutes.
It happened when Rashad Jennings turned left end raced 74 yards for a touchdown to cut the margin to 24-21, and Jacoby Ford followed by fumbling the ensuing kickoff when hit by Kasim Osgood. Moments later, David Garrard hit Mike Sims-Walker for a 10-yard touchdown and Jacksonville never trailed again, although Oakland eventually tied the game at 31.
Big plays were a huge part of Oakland's demise, as Jennings' breakaway run was supplemented by a 48-yard Garrard-to-Jason Hill touchdown and a 30-yard game-clinching score by Maurice Jones-Drew. Oakland gave up 255 yards on 10 snaps of the ball and 130 yards on the other 48. Jacksonville had only 107 yards at halftime and Garrard was being bent sent to the turf repeatedly by the Oakland pass rush.
The big plays negated one of Oakland's best offensive performances of the year, with the 476 yards of total offense surpassed only by the 545 yards against Seattle and 508 against Denver, games the Raiders won by a combined score of 92-17.
Quarterback Jason Campbell, knocked from the game for one series by a stinger -- Kyle Boller emerged from the bench and threw an interception -- was 21 of 30 for 324 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
TRENDING: The Raiders continued to come up short against teams located in divisions outside of the West. They're 4-0 against their own division 2-2 against the AFC West and 0-5 against everyone else.
LINEUP WATCH: With Michael Huff getting burned for two touchdowns as a corner in nickel packages, and Stevie Brown playing free safety in those alignments, either Jeremy Ware or Walter McFadden could move in as a nickel back so Huff could stay at free safety.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL PLAYER NOTES
--ILB Rolando McClain was inactive because of tendonitis in his left foot after failing to practice all week.
--QB Jason Campbell had a 127.6 pass rating, his fifth game over 100 this season, and the first time the Raiders have lost when he broke 100.
--RB Darren McFadden gained 123 yards on 16 carries and caught three passes for 86 yards. He scored on a 67-yard pass and runs of 51 and 36 yards.
--TE Zach Miller caught four passes for 68 yards, looking healthier after battling plantar fasciitis and a leg contusion over the last month.
--WR Darrus Heyward-Bey, who had not caught a pass since Oct. 31, had receptions of 16 and 24 yards.