Raiders brought back to reality by Pats

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) - A meeting with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots showed the Oakland Raiders how far they still need to go to be mentioned among the AFC's elite teams.

A week after bullying the New York Jets in an emotional victory in the home opener, the Raiders were dealt a dose of reality in a 31-19 loss to the Patriots that exposed plenty of issues that still need to be addressed if Oakland wants to end a run of eight straight non-winning seasons.

"We're going to fix it, and we have just the men to do it," coach Hue Jackson said Monday. "What we got to do is go out and do it, and do it consistently, play in and play out. There's flashes of brilliance on this football team, whether it be offense or defense or special teams. And then all of sudden, sometimes things don't go the way we want them to. What we got to do is become a very consistent football team, and I think we can, and I think we will."

The Raiders (2-2) have alternated wins and losses this season, going from a season-opening win in Denver to a second-half collapse in Buffalo to the impressive victory over the Jets to the latest loss to the Patriots.

Now Oakland is in for another tough test this week with a trip to Houston to play a 3-1 Texans team fresh off a victory over defending AFC champion Pittsburgh.

"We just finished the first quarter of the season," cornerback Stanford Routt said. "We've got 12 more. All the challenges from here on out, they're just going to get bigger and they're going to get more important."

But Jackson's bold expectations haven't changed since the day he was hired last January to replace Tom Cable, even though some issues that he has vowed to solve are still problems - most notably penalties.

"We're going to win the AFC West," he said. "We're going to do everything we can to get in the playoffs and go challenge for a Super Bowl. I am not backing down from that."

The Raiders have struggled defensively and are currently tied for second-worst in the league with 28.3 points allowed per game. The offense has been much better but had its own problems against the Patriots.

The Raiders gained a season-high 504 yards of offense but were held to a season-low 19 points because they couldn't finish off enough drives with touchdowns and committed a pair of costly turnovers that ultimately doomed them.


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