The Oakland Raiders talked throughout the week about wanting to finish their disappointing 2004 season strong. Well, a 13-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on a rainy Sunday was not what they had in mind.
The Raiders conclude their season with a 5-11 record. Oakland, which went 4-12 last season, is likely in for another offseason of changes but it's not likely to include the head coach. More on that later. For Jacksonville (9-7), despite the win it will not be going to the AFC playoffs based on Denver's 33-14 win over Indianapolis.
Oakland, however, had its chances before falling short despite the tremendous efforts of running back Zack Crockett (21 carries for 134 yards) and a solid effort by the defense. Quarterback Kerry Collins, however, had a difficult afternoon in completing 15-of-139 passes for 139 yards and three interceptions.
The Raiders had a chance to possibly send the game into overtime in the waning seconds. Oakland faced fourth-and-goal from the Jags 2-yard-line but Collins fumbled the snap and was tackle for a loss.
"The conditions were tougher to throw the ball but the bottom line is that I didn't play very well," Collins said. "I didn't have it today. It's hard to end the season like that regardless of what the conditions were."
The Raiders had another chance to possibly even the score go by the wayside when Donovan Darius intercepted a Collins pass in the end zone. That drive started at the Oakland 17. The Raiders then reached the Jacksonville 5 on 10 consecutive Crockett running plays.
"Zack's a warrior," Raiders head coach Norv Turner said. "I haven't been around him a long time but every time we've called on him he's done good things."
The game was tied at 6-6 midway through the fourth quarter as Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski booted field goals of 35 and 27 yards while Jacksonville's Josh Scobee added field goals of 26 and 22 yards.
The Jaguars, however, snapped that tie with 3:41 left in the third quarter when running back Greg Jones, who filled in for the injured Fred Taylor skirted around the left side for a 1-yard touchdown.
Oakland's much-maligned defense, however, enjoyed one of its better days Sunday in limiting Jacksonville to 249 total yards of offense.
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at email@example.com