98°F
weather icon Clear

Raiders have fallen into old bad habits the last 2 weeks

While trying to differentiate themselves from their predecessors of the recent past, the Raiders instead have fallen into an all-too-familiar pattern over the last two weeks.

When playing clean, efficient football was required, they delivered a pair of careless performances in which self-inflicted wounds sabotaged offensive drives and assisted the scoring marches of opponents.

The sloppiness they’ve displayed has resulted in two consecutive losses, including a 41-14 blowout Sunday night at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs. And with it, they lost the opportunity to take control of first place in their division and conference.

What makes it all the more frustrating is they seemed to have turned the corner just before their bye week, winning games against the Broncos and Eagles in which they put together their most complete performances in years.

Rather than build on that, they have sputtered out of the bye week offensively, done in by inefficiency in the red zone, costly turnovers and mental lapses that resulted in ill-timed penalties.

“Maybe we are trying to do too much,” said interim coach Rich Bisaccia. “We come off a bye with a great week of practice and now it’s like, ‘I got to do this.’ Or ‘I got to do that.’ So, I think that may have a little bit to do with it.”

He said the coaching staff talked to the team “about playing free, knowing what to do and then doing what you know.”

Bisaccia was pleased with how the Raiders prepared for the Chiefs. “I thought we believed in what we were doing, in the game plan, and I just felt like they were trying to press a little bit and maybe missed some assignments that way.”

Rather than surging into the second half of the season, they approach it with the cautiousness of a group wary of falling into the same frustrating trap that has derailed their last two seasons.

The sense of urgency is palatable. Still reeling from the flurry of off-the-field blows they have sustained over the last six weeks, the 5-4 Raiders face two virtually must-win games over the next 10 days. The outcomes will go a long way in determining whether they have a realistic shot to make the playoffs.

As they get set to welcome the Cincinnati Bengals to Allegiant Stadium on Sunday before heading to Texas to play the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day, the last thing they can afford is to enter a phase of the season that has typically owned them in a downward spiral.

“We are just going to look at what we did wrong and work to fix it. We are going to look at what we did correctly and build on that,” Bisaccia said.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.

THE LATEST
‘Here we go’: Tonopah coach gets ready for next year

TONOPAH — A retired Nye County Sheriff’s sergeant who traveled the nation has parked his RV in Tonopah once again to coach the Muckers baseball team.

Sportsman’s Quest: The Story Teller

The time of hunting and fishing conventions has come to an end and the hunting guides-outfitters have returned home to prepare for another season. I’m left with my head full of new stories and my sides still aching from laughing at the crazy tales and humorous, if sometimes dangerous, adventures we’ve shared at vendor booths, in the hallways, hotel rooms and yes, while sipping a beverage in the local “watering holes.”

JIM BUTLER DAYS: Horseshoes group honors Tonopah founder

Six competitive horseshoe pitchers met in a Nevada town with roughly 2,000 residents and home of the Clown Motel, which is next to a cemetery that dates back to 1901 in Tonopah.

Pahrump Valley baseball | 3 Trojans make top 100 in division

The defending state champion Pahrump Valley baseball weren’t able to bring home another title this season, but three standouts for the Trojans ranked in the top 100 players in the 3A division for their batting averages.

Off-roaders compete in 60-mile Beatty poker run

Beatty was filled with off-road enthusiasts for last month’s BigHorn Outback Explorers’ annual Poker Run. In all, 176 vehicles, including ATV’s, UTV’s, Jeeps, and trucks, took to the 60-mile route through Beatty’s outback backyard

Pahrump Valley baseball gets fifth straight win

Sitting undefeated in the 3A South-Mountain baseball standings, the Pahrump Valley Trojans got their fifth win in a row.