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Gruden compares lopsided Raiders loss to oral surgery

Coach Jon Gruden didn’t feel any better rewatching the Las Vegas Raiders lopsided loss at Atlanta than he did when he saw it in person.

The five turnovers, 141 yards in penalties and a couple of defensive breakdowns that added up to the 43-6 loss to the Falcons on Sunday have a way of doing that.

“You ever go to the dentist and have to have your teeth pulled out? It’s pretty much like that,” Gruden said Monday. “This was tough, man.

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Jacob Tuioti-Mariner (91) hits Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) for a fumble during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Atlanta. The Atlanta Falcons recovered the ball. (AP PhotoJohn Bazemore)

“Fourth-and-1 we have the ball, we go for it, we get rejected. Next possession, first down, we take a shot with an aggressive play-action protection, sack-strip fumble. Right before the half, we’re going in for points, sack-strip fumble. Early in the third quarter, we’re in great field position, interception for a touchdown. We force a kicker to miss a field goal, we rough the kicker and they end up getting seven (points) out of that.

"There wasn’t anything pleasant about watching the tape.”

The game was a complete reversal of the way the Raiders (6-5) had been playing in recent weeks. They won three straight and then lost a tight game at the end to the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs that showed they can compete with just about anybody.

Las Vegas Raiders center Rodney Hudson sits on the bench after a loss to the Atlanta Falcons in an NFL football game on Sunday, Nov 29, 2020, in Atlanta. (Curtis ComptonAtlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

But then when the schedule was supposed to get easier, starting with a visit to the struggling Falcons, the Raiders fell flat instead. They now have a difficult road in the tough AFC to make it to the playoffs for the second time in 17 seasons.

Las Vegas will likely need to win four of its final five games to make it, starting with this week’s trip to face the winless New York Jets, who lost 20-3 on Sunday to Miami.

“I’m not going to worry about anything down the road except the Jets,” Gruden said. “If you watch the Jets play yesterday, they’re a handful. They are going to be hard to move the ball on. ... This will be a fist fight, no doubt about it. I got a lot of respect for the way the Jets are competing.”

WHAT’S WORKING

Passes to Hunter Renfrow. The second-year slot receiver is emerging as the Raiders' most dependable wide receiver. He matched a career high with seven catches on Sunday for 73 yards. He leads all Las Vegas wideouts with 38 catches for 509 yards this season.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Derek Carr’s ball security. Carr committed a career-worst four turnovers in the game, losing three fumbles on sacks and throwing an interception that was returned for a TD by Deion Jones. Carr’s 11 fumbles are the most in the NFL this season and he has lost a league-high eight of them. He has fumbled eight times on his 17 sacks, more than quadruple the league average rate of fumbles on sacks.

STOCK UP

Nicholas Morrow. There were few players who earned praise in the loss but Morrow was one of them. He played 77 of 78 snaps despite the return of Cory Littleton from injury, and led the team with 10 tackles to go with one quarterback hit, one tackle for loss and two passes defensed.

STOCK DOWN

Brandon Parker. The third-year tackle earned praise for his solid play in recent weeks as a fill-in at both left and right tackle. He was exposed against the Falcons when he started on the right side. He was beaten by Jacob Tuioti-Mariner on a sack late in the first half that led to a fumble by Carr.

INJURED

RB Josh Jacobs was slowed by a sprained ankle but is confident he won’t miss a game. ... CB Damon Arnette left with a concussion. He was feeling better Monday and Gruden is hopeful he can clear the protocols this week. ... RT Trent Brown will return to practice from the COVID-19 list Wednesday but is unlikely to play the upcoming game. DE Clelin Ferrell and DB Lamarcus Joyner could play this week after missing two games on the COVID-19 list.

KEY NUMBER

14 — The Raiders have gone 14 straight drives without scoring a TD. During that stretch, they have turned over the ball six times, gone three-and-out three times, punted two other times, kicked two field goals and turned it over on downs once.

NEXT STEPS

Las Vegas visits the winless New York Jets on Sunday. The Raiders are 1-18 on the road against AFC and NFC East teams the past 13 seasons, with the only win coming when they spent the week in Florida before playing Miami in 2017.

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