Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/28/12
If it seems the Raiders can't get any lower, consider how they would feel if they lose to the Cleveland Browns. How badly do the Raiders (3-8) need a win? "Oh, very bad," defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said. "Very bad, man. Real bad. Real, real bad." Mired in their first four-game losing streak since 2008, the Raiders have given up 169 points in those games, the most since Tennessee gave up 177 points in a four-game span in 2004 and the second-most since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. And here come the Browns, who are also 3-8 and coming off a game in which they had eight takeaways and still had to fight to beat Pittsburgh 20-14 with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger not playing because of a rib injury. Cleveland has lost 12 consecutive games on the road, with the streak starting last Oct. 16 in a 24-17 loss to the Raiders in Oakland. The next three games represent the opportunity for a minor surge, given that all three games are at home. After playing Cleveland, the Raiders host Denver in a Thursday night game before playing a Kansas City team that has one win and is the last team Oakland defeated. "I think we all recognize where we're at in the season," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "We all recognize we have five games left, the next three games at home. We need to do some positive things. We need to move forward. We need to get better. We're excited about being able to be at home the next three games." As much as the Raiders have been abused on defense, the maddening thing is they haven't always been out-muscled and pushed out of the way. Instead, Oakland mistakes have allowed huge plays, such as 48- and 39-yard runs by BenJarvis Green-Ellis in last week's 34-10 loss in Cincinnati -- plays that happened to be the two longest runs in Green-Ellis' career. "In the running game it's been assignment errors and tackling," Allen said. "There have been some situations where you load up the box and a guy gets out of the gap, and it's a big play. "That's happened on a couple of occasions with us, and when guys get into the second or third level of our defense, we have to get guys down on the ground. We can't allow the explosive runs like we've given up." Cornerback Joselio Hanson finds it frustrating that the Raiders' biggest enemies are often themselves. "I feel like if we could focus in and execute not 95 percent of the time, not 99 percent of the time, but 100 percent of the time, we'd be a lot better on defense," Hanson said. "That's just the way it has gone. We're not 100 percent out there. "If we get beat doing our job, that's the thing. Some of the plays we're beating ourselves and giving them plays." The heat is growing on Allen, who as a rookie coach is in no danger of losing his job. But he is hearing plenty about taking a team with an 8-8 record a year ago and needing five straight wins just to tie what Hue Jackson did last season in his first year as a head coach. "Well, it all boils down to we've got a job to do and we've all got to be accountable to do our job and we've got to do it the right way every single time," Allen said. "When we do that, we've played well. When we haven't done that, we've given up big plays both offensively, defensively and in the kicking game. "This was pro football, and we've got a job to do. Our job is to win football games. We've got to do a better job at doing that." Allen set forth a change in culture, is a believer in "the process" and thinks the infrastructure is being set, but at the same time realizes the results are lacking. "I feel like there's certain elements that are at the foundation of what we believe in," Allen said. "But I also feel like, we don't accept the results of where we're at right now. It's not acceptable to be 3-8, and we've got to do something to change it." Said Kelly: "It's been mind-blowing. I would (have) never, ever, in my wildest dreams, thought we would be 3-8 right now."
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