<
>

Jack Del Rio still believes in Raiders as playoff chances dwindle

Oakland Raiders first-year head coach Jack Del Rio said he believes in his team a day after that team blew a fourth-quarter lead at home to Kansas City.

Oakland saw a 20-14 lead over the Kansas City Chiefs turn into a 34-20 loss Sunday. Second-year quarterback Derek Carr had his worst sequence as a pro when he threw three interceptions -- he had six all season up until the fourth quarter Sunday -- in a nine-minute stretch. Oakland fell to 5-7.

The Raiders, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2002, had postseason aspirations at 4-3. But they since have lost four of the past five games. The game against the Chiefs continued an ugly trend for Oakland. The Chiefs outscored the Raiders 20-0 in the fourth quarter. Oakland has been outscored 93-24 in the fourth quarter over the past seven games.

Still, Del Rio stood by his team. He said he expected more in 2015 than the Raiders -- who won a total of 11 games in the past three seasons combined -- have shown, but he also expects better to come.

“There’s nothing more that our team wanted to do than to deliver a big victory at home and put ourselves in second place, right in the thick of the playoff hunt. Now it’s extremely unlikely for us. I think it’s obvious," Del Rio said. "I look at the different probability tables. I think we’re 1 percent chance or something. That’s not real good odds. That’s kind of like the 'Dumb and Dumber' deal, ‘So we still have a chance?’

“But the reality is we have a good group of players. They believe in each other ... I believe in these guys. As a staff, we believe in our guys. We understand it was a rough day. It was a rough day, so if there’s a need to blame or any of that, just blame me. I’d rather shoulder it. Just blame me and then we’ll move forward, because I believe in what we’re doing. I believe in the guys we have. I believe in the coaches and the players and the effort that we’re getting. We’re going to turn this thing and become a really good football team. It just hasn’t happened quickly enough over the first 12 games, 12 opportunities we’ve had. We’re sitting here with five victories after 12 games, and I expected more. “

In other Raiders notes:

-- Del Rio indicated that it is likely rookie linebacker Neiron Ball will be put on the injured reserve. He injured his knee Oct. 25 at San Diego. Del Rio said his knee hasn’t improved as the team had hoped. Ball, a fifth-round pick, showed promise in a limited role on defense. He also played well on special teams. Del Rio said the team is very pleased with the effort level of fellow fifth-round pick linebacker, Ben Heeney. He has played an increased role on defense in the past three weeks.

-- Del Rio said safety Nate Allen is day-to-day after suffering a minor knee injury in the fourth quarter Sunday. It is the same knee kept him for two months.