Raiders have record-setting season

Victoria Groenewold,

The Oakland Raiders finally got a glimpse of what the playoffs look like, but it wasn’t the view they wanted to see.

This season was the first time that the Raiders have been to the playoffs in fourteen years and they did so with a record of 12-4. They lost 27-14 to the Houston Texans, but came away from the game hopeful about the team’s future.

The NFL AFC wildcard game in Houston at NRG stadium on Saturday started out rough for the Raiders. In the first quarter, the Texans scored first on a 50 yard field goal by placekicker Nick Novak and then followed that with a touchdown by free agent signing and former Miami Dolphin running back Lamar Miller, that made it a 10-0 lead early.

But the Raiders didn’t give up and towards the end of the first quarter they scored a touchdown by running back Latavius Murray and after a Sebastian Janikowski extra point, the score was 10-7. However, Novak kicked another field goal from 38 yards and wide receiver Deandre Hopkins scored on a two-yard touchdown pass, that made the score 20-7 at the end of the first half.

Coming back from the first half, the Raiders needed to put points on the board if they wanted a chance to beat the Texans, however, both teams were scoreless in the third quarter. Oakland did score a touchdown in the fourth quarter when third-string quarterback in his first start, Connor Cook, hit wide receiver Andre Holmes, but Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler scored a touchdown of his own later in the quarter, and the Raiders couldn’t keep up.

Not only did the Raiders play against the best defensive team in the NFL, but they did so without a lot of their key players. Quarterback Derek Carr got injured on Christmas Eve with a broken fibula, backup quarterback Matt McGloin was out due to a shoulder injury he sustained at the end of the regular season. To make matters worse, offensive tackle Donald Penn was out due to a knee injury and then wide receiver Michael Crabtree left the game in the fourth quarter because of a concussion.

Even though the season didn’t turn out the way the players or fans wanted it to, it was a season of success for the silver and black.

“We got a bright future, it just kind of fell apart for us the last two weeks,” coach Jack Del Rio said after the game. “I don’t think that’s really indicative of who we are. We got a lot of things to look at, a lot of things to evaluate, a lot of things to access, but we are heading where we need to be heading. And this is just the beginning.”

The Raiders had such a good year that their only losses were twice to the AFC West Division winners the Kansas City Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl Champion the Denver Broncos and NFC South Division winners the Atlanta Falcons. In 2013 they finished with a 4-12 record, in 2014 they went 3-13 and they went 7-9 in 2015. Del Rio is right; they’re heading in the right direction.

Going forward, the Oakland Raiders are going to be a top contending team. With the year they had, the Raider brand is more attractive now to potential free agent players considering where they may want to play. The possibility of the silver and black heading to Las Vegas could also add more appeal to some players. They’re a very young group of talented players that are hungry for a Super Bowl Championship, and if they stay healthy and receive some additional help at key positions, they could contend not only next year but for the next three to five years.