Oakland, CA. Fans who follow the Oakland Raiders had to feel a sense of optimism heading into the 2012 season. For the first time in many years, the QB situation seemed to be solidified, with the mid-season signing of Carson Palmer last season. The team finished 2011 at 8-8, and showed at times they could compete at a fairly high level. The offense was bringing back stud running back Darren McFadden, and a slew of young, fast wide receivers. The defense has its run stuffers in the middle, with Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly, along with standout middle linebacker Rolando McClain. The pieces seemed to be there on both sides of the ball for the Oakland Raiders to make a move and contend in the AFC West. But just two weeks in the 2012 regular season now, everything has fallen apart, as this team looks lost and downright incompetent. After being outscored a combined 57-27 in two losses to San Diego and Miami, the Raiders have been awful just about everywhere a team can be awful. So with a game against Pittsburgh this Sunday, and 0-3 staring them right in the face, can they do anything to turn this brutal start around?
The loss against San Diego in week 1 was one thing. Oakland’s starting long snapper was injured during the game, which then led to unbelievably bad special teams play the rest of the way. Raiders fans could blame that loss on it all being somewhat fluky circumstances, as that sort of thing could happen to any NFL team. Oakland made it somewhat interesting in the 4th quarter, but it was a case of too little, too late. But what happened this past Sunday at Miami was an abomination. After leading the Dolphins 10-7 at the half, the defense completely crumbled, as Miami’s running game blew the doors open in the second half. The Raiders, much like the first game, continued to make mental errors which led to their collapse. The running game did next to nothing, as Darren McFadden had just 22 yards on 11 carries. For all intents and purposes, this should have been a game where the Raiders got back on track, laying waste to a Miami team being led by a rookie QB. What should worry Oakland fans most is that not only have they been beaten handily in the last two weeks, the schedule doesn’t get any easier. The next three games are against the Steelers, Broncos, and Falcons, so an 0-5 start to 2012 is definitely not out of the realm of possibility.
Can the Oakland Raiders come back from an 0-2 start? 0-2 is not a death sentence, as various NFL teams have bounced back in the past to make something of their season. But this Raiders team looks to be lost, with no signs of having any answers. The undisciplined play, penalties, and inconsistency continues to litter this organization. Things look to be getting worse, as the road over the next few weeks should add on some more losses. Head coach Dennis Allen has to be a bit shell-shocked, as his team just hasn’t been very competitive at all. For all the promise this squad had for 2012, they may be done before the calendar even hits October.