Oakland looks to avoid post-win letdown
AP Sports Writer
ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders responded to their first win of the season with their most lopsided loss in more than a half-century.
Interim coach Tony Sparano wants to make sure there isn’t a repeat after the Raiders won their second game by beating the San Francisco 49ers 24-13 on Sunday.
Sparano gave the players the day off Monday and said when they return to practice on Wednesday the focus for the Raiders (2-11) will solely be on this week’s game at Kansas City (7-6).
“We need to make sure that we just focus on us right now going into this,” Sparano said. “We need to understand and learn from what happened to us two weeks ago. Like I said, there is a reason why I said, ‘Don’t forget this feeling’ because here we are again.”
After opening the season with 10 straight losses, the Raiders got their first win by beating the Chiefs 24-20 at home on Nov. 20. Despite the talk about wanting to build on that win instead of just savoring it, the Raiders came out the following week and lost 52-0 at St Louis, their most lopsided defeat since a 55-0 loss to Houston in the 1961 season opener.
Sparano said he sensed problems early in the preparation week for the Rams game and that changes to the practice schedule because of Thanksgiving might have contributed.
“Those are some of the things that I didn’t feel like I handled well during that week, probably could have looked at that a little differently,” he said. “Today was their ‘atta boy’ day, and when we get in here on Wednesday we’ll be moving right on to Kansas City.”
The win over the 49ers was probably Oakland’s most complete in years. Rookie Derek Carr threw three touchdown passes and faced little pressure from San Francisco’s formidable front. The Raiders also put heavy pressure on Colin Kaepernick, making a season-high five sacks and intercepting two passes.
It all added up to a victory against their Bay Area rivals that puts a bright note on a rough season.
“People had us dead and buried last week,” Sparano said. “I mean, we were done. It was 52-0, everybody quit. This team is a resilient team. I’ve said it all along. For some reason or another, nobody wants to listen, but I’ve been saying it. This is the type of team they are and we’ll decide when that time comes. That time is not now.”
With two wins in the past three games, Sparano is making a case to shed the interim label he got after replacing the fired Dennis Allen in September.
Sparano said he knew those questions would be coming, but that someone above him would have to answer. Owner Mark Davis and general manager Reggie McKenzie have not addressed the coaching situation since Allen was fired.
“I was given a job to do several weeks ago,” Sparano said. “I’m trying to do the job the way that I know how to do the job.”
NOTES: Sparano said he feared the worst when CB Tarell Brown went down with what looked like a serious leg injury in the second quarter. But Brown missed only three plays all game. “He’s pretty tough,” Sparano said. … Sparano said he plans to talk to LB Sio Moore about an Instagram post that called Kaepernick a “chump.” “I need to visit with Sio, find out exactly what went on, but I know there was a lot of jawing going on out there and it wasn’t just one-sided,” Sparano said.