|The Raiders' terrible performance during their loss to the Saints didn't give their fans a reason to smile, as Oakland dropped its third straight game. (US Presswire)|
The Raiders' faint playoff hopes all but officially died Sunday with a 38-17 loss to New Orleans, their third straight defeat that dropped them to 3-7.
No, this loss wasn't as bad or as humiliating as their 55-20 debacle at Baltimore, but the Raiders trailed 21-7 at halftime and were booed off the field.
Late in the third quarter, New Orleans increased its lead to 35-10, and garbage time began.
After the game, Raiders owner Mark Davis made it clear that he was "not happy" with his team's "regression" after a 3-4 start.
Who could blame him?
The Raiders outgained New Orleans 404-382, but they scored only two touchdowns, including one with four minutes left to play, and many of those yards came after the game was out of reach. Carson Palmer passed for 312 yards, but he threw a killer pick-six in the second quarter to Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins that put the Saints ahead 14-0. Another drive died when Palmer's short pass bounced off TE Brandon Myers in the end zone and was intercepted by Saints safety Roman Harper. Fullback Marcel Reece, filling in at running back for the injured Darren McFadden, was the Raiders' brightest star on offense. He rushed for a career high 103 yards on19 carries, averaging 5.4 per carry, and caught four passes for 90 yards. Previous game's grade: C
The Raiders played well in stretches and held Saints QB Drew Brees to 219 passing yards, but they were at their worst on two crucial drives in the first half when the Saints built a 21-7 lead and took control. On their first possession, the Saints drove 80 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown, with Brees hitting a wide open Jimmy Graham for a 1-yard strike. The Saints rushed for 39 yards and passed for 41 on that drive, establishing a balanced attack that served them well the rest of the day. Trailing just 14-7 late in the first half, the Raiders needed a stop from their defense. Instead, the Saints drove 90 yards in eight plays for a touchdown, with Brees hitting Lance Moore on a 38-yard strike. Moore beat left corner Michael Huff on a deep post, and Brees delivered a strike. Previous game's grade: F
Special teams: D
With the Raiders trailing 21-7, they kicked off to New Orleans to open the second half and gave up a 75-yard return to Travaris Cadet. One play later, Mark Ingram ran 27 yards for a touchdown. Game over. Cadet's big return came one week after the Raiders gave up a 105-yard kickoff return for a score to Baltimore's Jacoby Jones. Raiders kick returner Coye Francies averaged 23.5 yards on four attempts with a long of 30 that would have been much longer if he hadn't slipped. Shane Lechler netted just 38.3 yards on his three punts. Previous game's grade: F
The Raiders' meltdown on defense continued, and neither rookie coach Dennis Allen nor defensive coordinator Jason Tarver had an answer to this ongoing problem. The Raiders have allowed a combined 135 points and 1,316 yards during their three-game skid, an average of 45 points and 439 yards. To his credit, Allen got more involved with the offense and made running the ball a major point of emphasis this week. Reece responded with 103 rushing yards, 60 of those in the first half when the outcome was still in doubt. The Raiders' third-quarter woes continued. They were outscored 14-3 Sunday in the third quarter and have been outscored 123-34 in the third for the season. Previous game's grade: F
Follow Raiders reporter Eric Gilmore on Twitter @CBSRaiders.