After being on the wrong end of back-to-back blowouts, the Oakland Raiders suddenly are scrambling to make the playoffs.
The Raiders were blown out 46-16 by the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, falling to 7-6 with their second straight loss and looking like anything but serious contenders in the AFC West.
"I'm not going to let this team keep going backward," Raiders coach Hue Jackson said. "The last two weeks we haven't come close to playing or looking like the football team we've been."
Throw in Sunday's overtime victory by Denver to take the division lead, and things are looking more grim for the Raiders.
"Later in the year, you are supposed to be playing your best football," defensive tackle Richard Seymour said. "And it seems we are doing the opposite."
Oakland continues to play without several key players on offense because of injuries, including running back Darren McFadden and wide receivers Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore. Jackson dismissed speculation that McFadden will miss the remainder of the season.
"There is nothing new on Darren," Jackson said. "I expect him to be back before the end of the season."
But the Raiders sustained several more injuries on Sunday. Jackson said Darrius Heyward-Bey hurt his heel, wide receiver Chaz Schilens hurt his foot, center Samson Satele hurt his shoulder and safety Michael Huff hurt his hamstring. The severity of the injuries was not immediately clear.
Injuries aside, the Raiders made plenty of mistakes against a team that doesn't really need a whole lot of help from its opponent. Carson Palmer threw for 245 yards with a touchdown and four interceptions.
Palmer took the blame, saying he simply didn't give his team a chance to win.
"You can't do that against the defending world champions and the best team in the game right now," Palmer said. "You can't dig yourself that kind of a hole against a team like that. They'll take advantage."
But Palmer wasn't the only one making mistakes. The Raiders were penalized 11 times for 89 yards.
"You are not going to beat a high school team with the penalties and mistakes (like) the ones that we made," linebacker Aaron Curry said. "You make a lot of mistakes, you lose."
Palmer threw an interception on the Raiders' first possession, and Oakland committed eight penalties in the first half alone.
And while the Packers' play has been far from perfect for most of the season, especially on defense, this one was total domination. Things got out of hand so quickly that the Raiders tried a fake punt in the second quarter. As was the case for most things the Raiders attempted Sunday, it didn't work.
"It was there, too," punter Shane Lechler said. "I just missed the throw. If I don't miss the throw, it is a first down easy. I haven't missed that pass in I don't know how long."
Running back Ryan Grant rediscovered his big-play ability for the Packers, breaking a 47-yard run two plays after Palmer threw an interception to rookie linebacker D.J. Smith on the Raiders' first possession.
The Packers were without injured running back James Starks, who had surpassed Grant in the Packers' rotation. Until that play, Grant hadn't looked like his explosive old self for most of the season.
After a defensive stop, Aaron Rodgers directed a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard scoring pass to Ryan Taylor.
Trailing 31-0 with about six minutes left in the half, the Raiders tried the fake punt. But Lechler threw high to Rock Cartwright for an incompletion, and the Packers took over at the Oakland 28-yard line.
The Raiders finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter when Michael Bush ran for a 2-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 34-7. They'd later get a safety by Rolando McClain and a touchdown from Palmer to Kevin Boss, well after the game had been decided.
"Today, we regressed," Jackson said. "That was probably the most disappointing part. That team (the Packers) is a very good football team. That's what we aspire to be someday. But we're not there yet."
Notes: McCarthy said defensive lineman Ryan Pickett and running back Brandon Saine both sustained concussions. ... The Packers set a franchise record with 466 points, topping the previous record of 461 points in 2009. ... The Raiders ran into an odd spell of bad luck on the second-half kickoff, when Green Bay's Randall Cobb appeared to step out of bounds during a 50-yard return. Officials said the replay system was malfunctioning, and the Raiders couldn't challenge.