While most of America was presumably tuned to one channel to watch the Giants eke out a 27-20 win over the Cowboys and witness the further devolution of Very Bad Human and Teammate Greg Hardy, the Oakland Raiders were systematically dismantling the San Diego Chargers over on a different network. It was magnificent to watch. A young quarterback carving up a decent pass defense. A college phenom wideout making NFL secondaries look foolish. An eager defense making the No. 1 overall offense in the league look like it was run by Sam Bradford. It was an inspired, energetic effort on both sides of the ball, one that was made to look a little more interesting than it deserved thanks to a 23-0 fourth quarter, but inexperienced teams learning how to win will often give up 23 unanswered points in a fourth quarter. Fortunately, Oakland scored 30 in the first half, so it was all good.
With the 37-29 win in southern California, the Raiders moved to 3-3 on the season. Now, you probably know that the Raiders have been pretty bad since losing Super Bowl XXXVII to Tampa Bay. It’s been kind of a complete and utter descent in suckitude since then, but let’s revisit just how putrid the Raiders have been since:
Over that entire span, the only season with a positive run differential was 2010 (plus-39). The most lopsided year was 2014 (negative-199, worst in all of football). And the streak of seven losing years until the .500 record in 2010 marked the second-longest string of seasons with five wins or less since the 1970 merger. (Only Archie Manning’s Saints were worse.) There was never any continuity or consistency. Justin Fargas once led the team in rushing three years running; no one else ever did twice in a row. The quarterback carousel — Kerry Collins, Andrew Walter, Daunte Culpepper, JaMarcus Russell, Jason Campbell, Carson Palmer, Terrelle Pryor — was a nightmare for all involved. Oakland was the AFC West doormat for years, as easy a win as you can hope to see coming up on the schedule.