The Oakland Raiders once again could not generate any momentum from a big win, as they could not get out of their own way during a loss to the Cleveland Browns. Their last chance at a two game winning streak dissipated in the snowy Ohio evening as the mistakes piled high.
The Raiders put themselves in an early hole after Charlie Frye threw an early interception, which Cleveland converted into a touchdown, which was something that the Raiders were unable to accomplish all game despite being able to move the ball. In fact, the Raiders had their second best offensive output of the season yardage-wise, but was only able to convert it into nine points, as Sebastian Janikowski was a perfect 3-3.
The Raiders defense continued its seemingly bipolar habit of alternating between making big plays and giving up big plays. They had been keeping the Browns in check with two consecutive three and outs, and had the Browns backed up deep in their own end with a third and long. They ran a draw play, Michael Huff missed the tackle and they converted the first down. In a drive that saw multiple fights, the Browns were aided by two personal foul penalties, one of which resulted in Stanford Routt’s ejection from the game. They parlayed those thirty penalty yards into their second touchdown of the game. This made it a 17-6 game.
Janikowski closed the score to 17-9 in the closing seconds of the second quarter when he barely cleared the crossbar on a Raider record 61 yard field goal.
In the second half, the Raiders came unglued and could not get out of their own way. The defense only gave up an additional six points, but the offense could not put anything on the board. With four minutes left and the Raiders in possession of all three of their time outs, they had the ball at the Browns’ three yard line. In four plays the Raiders threw four incompletions. They did not once try to take advantage of their running game to push the ball in with a draw.
The defense forced a quick three and out, where Cable burnt all three of his time outs. Frye once again led the Raiders down into Browns territory only to throw his third interception of the game.
Frye’s three interceptions were too much for the Raiders to overcome, especially with one of them setting up a Browns touchdown and both of the others coming inside the opposition’s 30 yard line. Penalties, which actually had not been much of a problem most of the season, reared their heads in an ugly way. The Raiders were flagged 13 times for a total of 126 yards. Two players were ejected due to unsportsmanlike conduct penalties: Routt and Tony Stewart. Richard Seymour was flagged on back to back plays.
The Raiders played with intensity, but they lacked the discipline that Coach Tom Cable repeatedly stresses. The opportunities were there for the Raiders to take control of this game, but each and every time they shot themselves in the foot. The Raiders missed out on their fifth and final chance at a two game winning streak.