In fact, it prompted the normally stoic Oakland head coach Bill Callahan to blast his team more openly than ever. It may even lead to another chapter in the saga between Callahan and cornerback Charles Woodson, who earlier this season accused the former of losing control of the team. The Raiders committed 11 penalties for 89 yards, two of which led to Denver touchdowns.
"If we don't learn how not to beat ourselves, we won't win again, and we won't win for a long time," Callahan said emphatically in his postgame conference. "We've got to be the dumbest team in America in terms of playing the game. I'm highly critical because of the way we give games away -- we give ‘em away! Period. It's embarrassing, and I represent that. And I apologize for that. If that's the best we can do, it's a sad product."
The Raiders have not done anything to dispel that notion. Oakland has now committed 112 penalties for 937 yards.
"I've been preaching all year the importance of smart play under no uncertain terms," Callahan said. "We've got enough penalty yardage to lead the league in total offense."
As for Woodson, he was informed in the Raiders locker room by a group of reporters about Callahan's statements. Woodson kept saying that he did not believe Callahan's statements.
"I've said my peace about the guy," Woodson said. "I refuse to believe that."
Later, Woodson expressed something resembling anger toward his coach.
"They've been hurting us all year," Woodson said of penalties. "I can't believe one grown man would call another dumb. We'll see it and address it. I'm not gonna stand for that s---. Please believe it."
Fellow cornerback Terrence Shaw, however, was slightly more diplomatic.
"He's the coach, we're the players," Shaw said. "We're the ones out there trying to execute. If you see how he feels, you can only imagine how we feel. We haven't tuned him out. He hasn't lost his team."
The most costly penalties led to Denver touchdowns. Oakland led 5-0 early in the second quarter with the Broncos facing third-down-and-14 from the Raider 32 yard-line. Denver quarterback Jake Plummer kept the ball for eight yards to the Oakland 24, where linebacker Eric Barton was tagged for a personal foul because he hit Plummer out of bounds. That infraction led to Plummer's 4-yard touchdown pass to Shannon Sharpe.
"It's something we have to fix," Barton said. "We have no one to look at but ourselves."
Oakland never led again the rest of the day.
Which ended with Callahan skewering his club.
Vince D'Adamo can reached firstname.lastname@example.org