Last year the Raiders posted an impressive 12-4 record that was aided by a remarkable run in close games. Oakland was 9-2 in one possession games last season.
“Last year we won a lot of close games, right? You feel a little different about it when you win a couple of those close games,” head coach Jack Del Rio said.
In 2017 the Raiders started off losing the first two single possession games they played in, a six point loss to Denver and a one point loss to Los Angeles.
“If we win, instead of 16-10, we win in Denver in that close game, we have a chance at the end and it feels different, right? If it’s 17-16 and the Chargers sneak out with a victory, we win that game, it feels different. Those are close games we didn’t make the play in. You come up a play short, however you want to look at it. That’s the difference between feeling good and not feeling good,” Del Rio said.
But since that loss to the Chargers, the Raiders are 4-0 in games decided by eight points or less with wins over Kansas City, Miami, Denver and New York.
The Raiders two year record in one possession games is 13-4. The ability to close out close games hasn’t eluded the Raiders. The problem for Jack Del Rio has been his team’s inability to stay in games for four quarters.
Last season the Raiders were 3-2 in games decided by two possessions or more. This season the Raiders have posted just a 2-5 record in games with score differentials of nine or more points.
The Raiders keep getting blown out. That is the issue. The Raiders only lost by nine points last week, but were under 100 yards of offense facing a 26-0 deficit to start the fourth quarter.
“As an organization and football team, are you trying to grow beyond close games that you’re pulling out and start dominating games? Yeah, that’s what the goal is. Just hasn’t manifested itself yet,” Del Rio said.
That was the hope for the Raiders this season. That those nine close wins from 2016 would turn into blowout wins for the Raiders. But they have mostly turned into blowout losses in 2017, making 2016 look more like a mirage than a sign of the future.
Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.