Slap Hitter: Raiders Fade at the finish

Ibid. See the last five years.

Oakland, as in the embattled Raiders went to Buffalo this Sunday and coughed it up in their own inimicable style. This time taking defeat out of the jaws of victory with a fourth quarter retreat all the way to a 1-2 record. Now it’s time for the Raiders real gift to sports reportage; the blame game.

Head coach Lane Kiffin has been a dead man walking for weeks, his corporeal form notwithstanding, the Oakland “boss” has been twisting in the wind since Labor Day and is unlikely to make it to Halloween. But the real state of the Raiders can be gleaned from listening to the team’s broadcast, where the local radio team now goes for craven and low-balling rather than the S.O.P. of arrogance and kicking sand in the face of opponents. To hear the announcers concede once the Bills got within the zip code of field goal territory, and then moan that the Buffalo kicker “never misses” (though he had, um, missed earlier in the very ballgame) had things set up for a “no one thought we could do it” finish, which of course wasn’t needed when the Raiders couldn’t do it. The fact that every other Bay team worth paying money to see won on Sunday puts the Raiders in a class all by themselves. Unfortunetley for Bay fans, it is a remedial class, meaning they have to do it again next week.— Kibby Kleiman

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