Despite another week of poor play, the Raiders (2-4) had a chance to win in spite of themselves. Oakland faced fourth-down and one at the Cleveland 24-yard line with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game. Quarterback Rich Gannon hit Jerry Rice for an apparent five-yard complete.
The side judge, however, ruled that Rice caught the ball with his knee out of bounds. By rule, the instant replay challenge was in effect from the press box and after further review the play stood as called. The Browns took over on downs and ran out the clock.
That call aside, however, does not overshadowed the fact that Oakland's offense generated just 254 total yards. The defense continued to get gouged with the run as Cleveland piled up 170 yards rushing with William Green tallying 144 of those yards. Oakland also committed a season-high 18 penalties for 117 yards.
Things started in promising fashion for Oakland.
The Raiders cashed in on their first break of the game when strong safety Anthony Dorsett recovered a Green fumble on the game's opening possession, giving Oakland the ball at the Cleveland 24-yard line. Oakland cornerback Charles Woodson forced the fumble.
Gannon then connected with rookie tight end Teyo Johnson seven plays later for a 10-yard scoring pass near the back of the end zone on third-down and six. Gannon rolled slightly to his right before eluding the rush by stepping up in the pocket to wide a wide-open Johnson, who scored his first NFL touchdown.
Cleveland cut the deficit to 7-3 on the first play of the second quarter when Phil Dawson booted a 52-yard field goal, equaling his career long.
Oakland held its lead until the waning seconds of the third quarter when Green hammered through the middle for a 5-yard touchdown run. That play was set up by a fake field goal when Dawson lined up for an apparent 36-yard attempt. Holder Chris Gardocki pitched the ball to Dawson, who ran around the left side for 14 yards and a first down.
Cleveland widened its lead to 13-7 with 2:29 left in the game on a 32-yard Dawson field goal.
RAIDER NOTES—Brad Badger started at right guard in place of Mo Collins (knee). LG Frank Middleton left the game with a quadriceps injury and Matt Stinchcomb replaced him. Langston Walker started at right tackle for the third consecutive game. DT Rod Coleman started in place of an injured John Parrella (groin). … No Oakland wide receiver had a reception in the first half. … The Raiders have not started 0-4 on the road since 1962.
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at email@example.com