The Las Vegas Raiders took their lumps Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, absorbing blow after blow in a lopsided fight.
Early on, the Silver and Black looked like they were prepared to engage in what had the makings of a defensive slugfest, but after too many self-inflicted wounds on offense, Head Coach Jon Gruden's squad knocked themselves out of the match.
"I'd just like to apologize to Raider Nation and compliment the Falcons, they played one hell of a football game, and we didn't not," Gruden said postgame. "Turnovers, the penalties, it's inexcusable and it's a reflection of me. We're a lot better team than that."
The Raiders' 11 penalties certainly played a role in the team's 43-6 demise, but the five turnovers were too much to overcome. Time and again, the team tried to pull itself off the mat and get back in the fight, but sadly couldn't muster the resolve.
"We've got to get up off the mat and fight better as a coaching staff and as a football team," Gruden said. "That's something we've got to take a look at — and like I said it's a reflection of me, and I apologize to the Raider fans."
Don't let the box score fool you, there's a lot of fight in this Raiders' team and they've proved it on numerous occasions this season. After a tough loss to the division-rival Kansas City Chiefs last week and a blowout loss to the Falcons Sunday, it would be easy for the Raiders to hang their heads and lose hope, but that's not who they are.
"There's one of two ways we could handle it: We could say aw crap and just keep giving into that or we could grit our teeth like our team will," Derek Carr said postgame. "We have a team that kicked the crap out of us last year coming next. They beat the dog out of us last time, so we better get our minds right before we got on the flight for that game."
While the Raiders could make plenty of excuses, that's not what they're about and they're determined to improve before next week's game against the New York Jets. During Carr's seven years in the NFL, he's experienced his fair share of highs and lows, and he's seen a locker room lose its will to fight, but he says that's not the case with the 2020 Raiders.
"I have felt that feeling around the guys where it's like, aw crap here we go, and that's not the same [with this team]," Carr told reporters. "For what it's worth, it's not. I know that feeling, I've seen that feeling, that frustration."
The team has already put this loss behind them and are focused on improving prior to next week's game at MetLife Stadium. Due to COVID-19, the team won't reconvene until Wednesday, but the Raiders seem eager to put this game behind them and get back in the win column.
View photos from the Raiders' Week 12 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.