OAKLAND, Calif. — On their final practice before their final game in Oakland, the Raiders were rocking exclusively Bay Area music at their practice facility Friday. Between the distinct beat of a proud musical region and the wet, gloomy conditions, it was impossible not to get swept up by the power of the moment.
But that’s exactly what the Raiders (6-7) must avoid Sunday when they play the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in what will be a highly emotional afternoon for a region and franchise that have been connected for 60 years.
Despite losing three consecutive games to fall two games out of the wild-card race, the Raiders mathematically are still alive for a postseason berth. They must win their final three games and get help from other teams.
That means soaking in the moment Sunday but not losing sight of the task at hand. A loss to the Jaguars, who have dropped five straight games, eliminates Oakland from the playoff race.
“There will be a time for (enjoying the moment), hopefully,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “But at the same time, it will be a better memory if we win.”
Added coach Jon Gruden: “At the end of the game, we’ll show our proper respect, no doubt. But we have to get ready to play a good football team. It’s a top-five defense coming in here that’s going to play hard.”
Part of that process is moving on from the past three games, specifically the dreadful third quarters the Raiders have played.
They have been outscored 38-0 in the past three third quarters and outgained 342-164 yards. They have passed for a total of 86 yards in those quarters and are 2 of 10 on third-down conversions.
The scores of those games? 34-3, 40-9, 42-21.
The Raiders have harped on the sloppy manner they’ve approached second halves recently. But answers have been elusive.
“Yeah, it’s crazy,” Carr said. “Coach talks about it with us. … Are we too casual coming out? You look at all those things. Are the mental errors up on those drives rather than at the beginning of games?”
Said Gruden: “The easy thing to say is the adjustments, and I’m the guy making the adjustments. I don’t know what we’re drinking or what we’re eating at halftime or what we’re saying, but we’ve got to do a better job.”
That job won’t be easy with a growing list of injuries, inexperience and holes at wide receiver, linebacker, edge rusher and in the secondary. Still, the fall has been inexplicable. With so much to play for, execution has not matched effort.
“We are hitting some adversity and our mental makeup is being challenged right now,” Carr said. “It’s not a lack of effort … it’s just little things.”
Who: Jaguars at Raiders
When: 1:05 p.m. Sunday
Where: Oakland-Alameda Coliseum
TV/Radio: KLAS-8, KYMT-FM (93.1)
Line: Raiders -6½; total 45½