Having just completed the first winless AFC West season in franchise history, the Raiders finish up on New Year's Eve against the New York Giants in front of what promises to be a well-lubricated home crowd that will voice its frustration with a 4-11 record from an alleged division contender.
Answers? Free safety Stuart Schweigert had only questions -- the same
ones he's been hearing for several weeks.
"You get sick of answering the questions: 'Well, what happened?
What's wrong? Why didn't you guys win,'" Schweigert said. "'Why aren't
you guys putting up points? Why aren't you stopping people? Why aren't
you getting interceptions?' Week after week, when you hear that stuff,
that starts to really, not only mentally, but physically, wear you down.
"It's constantly negative things. Nothing ever positive. So it tests
you mentally and makes you lose focus."
The exit of coach Norv Turner not long after the regular-season
finale seems a foregone conclusion. Quarterback Kerry Collins, who threw
a key interception in the end zone at the end of the first half at
Denver, has a $12.9 million salary-cap number in 2006 and has presided
over a woefully impotent offense.
What many people figured would be an offensive powerhouse has scored
30 points in its past four games. Had it not been for a 43-yard
Sebastian Janikowski field goal in the fourth quarter Saturday, Oakland
would have been shut out for the first time since 1997.
The Raiders vowed to do better after going 1-5 in the division last
season, and instead they went 0-6.
"It sucks that we didn't win one game in the division this year,"
left tackle Barry Sims said. "That says a lot. It's something we're
going to have to address."
That will be the job of owner Al Davis, and the Raiders have one more
week to wonder where and when the ax will fall.
"All I can do is worry about myself," veteran defensive end Bobby Hamilton said. "I can't worry about the coaches and who's going to be
here next year and who is not.
"We can't point fingers at the coaches. There comes a certain point
where the players have to go out and execute. All I can do is worry
about myself and look at what I did, or could have done, to help the
The Raiders barely put up a struggle in a 22-3 loss to the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field, completing an 0-6 AFC West season that was
perfection in reverse.
Oakland had the ball for only 21:38 to 38:32 for Denver. The Broncos
ran 40 times for 155 yards, and quarterback Jake Plummer was 19-for-29
for 268 yards. The Raiders stiffened in the red zone to force field
goals of 29, 33 and 34 yards by Jason Elam, but they relinquished
virtually everything between the 20s.
Offensively, Oakland's first seven possessions resulted in three
consecutive punts, an interception, a lost fumble and two more punts
before Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 43-yard field goal. By then, it was
--DE Derrick Burgess notched his 15th sack of the season Saturday at
Denver. He is one shy of the team record of 15.5 set by Sean Jones in
--RB Zack Crockett, who hadn't carried more than seven times in a
game this season, carried six times on Oakland's first drive at Denver
and netted 31 yards. He finished with 61 yards on 15 carries.
--FS Stuart Schweigert got his second interception of the season on a
deflected Jake Plummer pass. Schweigert has two of Oakland's NFL-low
--RB Justin Fargas, in part because the Broncos dominated time of
possession, got only two carries in a game in which he figured to get
close to double figures after having just two carries this season. He
gained 26 yards, with a long gain of 15.
--QB Kerry Collins has at least one interception in his last eight
starts. He has 11 interceptions during that span.
--CB Stanford Routt, who drew the start at Denver over Fabian Washington in the nickel defense the Raiders use as their base
alignment, found himself victimized by Broncos WR Ashley Lelie, who
finished with six receptions for 110 yards.
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