Just find a way to lose, baby

             After the Oakland Raiders 24-21 loss at Chicago Sunday, one thing should be clearly apparent by now if it is not already.

            This team will find a way to lose.

            The Bears were booed off the field as Oakland took an 18-3 lead at halftime.

            The Raiders (2-3) are mostly the same lot that won the AFC Championship last season but they find a way to lose.

This time they did it to a winless team in a town that is currently baseball-crazed because of the Cubs. Oakland's latest loss came against a team that was so pitiful it was the bud of so many jokes. The Raiders also lost to a winless team one week after coming perilously close to losing to another, before rallying to beat San Diego 34-31 in overtime.

            For one the run defense, which was a bigger reason for the team's 2002 success than most recognize, absolutely stinks and continued to get gouged on Sunday. Anthony Thomas (22 carries, 123 yards) and Kordell Stewart (nine carries, 52 yards) were the latest to bust through Oakland's defense. The only reason the Raiders are ranked No. 32 defensively is because there are only that many teams.

            There are plenty of areas to point at for the Raiders most recent loss. For starters, Sebastian Janikowski missed an extra point for the first time in his four-year career, spoiling an otherwise outstanding touchdown drive. Zack Crockett capped off the nearly nine minute march with a 1-yard touchdown.

            Oakland also visited the red zone on three other occasions, only to settle for Janikowski field goals. That set of circumstances kept Chicago remotely close. The Bears eventually took a 21-18 lead before Oakland tied the game with a 49-yard Janikowski field goal.

            The last drive was only fitting for the notion of finding a way to lose. Chicago at first seemed content to run its offense very leisurely by opting to go into the two-minute drill. The Bears eventually reached midfield and a 10-yard penalty knocked them back to their own 40-yard line with time for two more plays.

On the very next play, Stewart connected with Dez White, who was running down the sideline as if the Raiders were not even there. White got shoved out of bounds at the Oakland 31, well within Paul Edinger's range. Edinger boomed a 48-yard field goal as time expired.

            And the Raiders simply found a way to lose.


Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com

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