NFL Wire News

Raiders try to take winning act on the road


ALAMEDA, Calif. — After proving they can play winning football at home, a big test faces the Oakland Raiders in their regular-season finale at Denver.

The Raiders are 0-7 on the road this season, 0-8 counting a neutral site loss in London in which they were technically the home team, and have one more chance to get it right while the Broncos attempt to hold on to the home-field advantage in the playoffs.

It’s not a problem unique to interim coach Tony Sparano, as the Raiders are 2-21 on the road dating back to a 16-13 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs under Hue Jackson on Christmas Eve, 2011.

The Raiders under Dennis Allen bagged only two road wins, at Kansas City (26-16 in 2012) and at Houston (28-23 in 2013).

The win over the Texans, with Matt McGloin at quarterback, is the last taste of road success on the Raiders, as the road losing streak has reached 10 games.

The Raiders are coming off a 26-24 win over the Buffalo Bills, their third straight home win over a team with a winning record and in playoff contention.

However, in their two previous home wins over Kansas City on Nov. 20 and against the 49ers on Dec. 7, the home success was met with a resounding thud on the road the following week.

After beating the Chiefs 24-20 on a Thursday night and with extra time off to prepare, the Raiders went to St. Louis and lost 52-0 — the second-most one-sided game in franchise history.

The Raiders rebounded to take down the San Francisco 49ers 24-13, only to fall 31-13 the following week at Arrowhead Stadium.

“I think that’s our biggest challenge right now,” defensive tackle Antonio Smith said. “We won three games in a row at home, but we as of yet haven’t won an away game. Right now, that’s kind of our Achilles’ heel.

“We need to find that motivation the Raiders fans give us here when we’re away, to take that energy out of the crowd and of the home team and use it to our advantage.”

Rookie quarterback Derek Carr would like to check off a road win to his list of first-year accomplishments and believes the Raiders are close.

“We’re growing, we’re learning,” Carr said. “We’ve got to learn how to take what we do here and go on the road and do it. Play with the same passion and intensity, our coaches call it swagger, the way we do at home against some really good teams. It’s something we’re learning to do, but it hasn’t happened yet. We have to keep working, keep trying and keep fighting and eventually we’ll get it right.”

One thing the Raiders have going for them this time is Latavius Murray as a full-time back who can help control the chains. The Raiders have been consistently outrushed at home and Murray could help stabilize things.

“It would mean a lot to get that first road win,” Murray said. “That’s our mentality going forward in practice and that’s how we’re going to prepare.”

Getting a road win in Denver could help the cause of Sparano and take some of the sting away from the big defeats recently in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Sparano has altered schedules in an attempt to get the Raiders ready for playing in early time slots and tried other things to change the vibe on the road, so far without success.

“That’s the next step,” Sparano said. “When you win three games at home, considering the three teams we beat, that says an awful lot.

“Getting that mindset when you travel on the road, you’re the Raiders walking into someone else’s stadium right now. You know how you’re going to be received. We have to feed off that and turn that energy around, take some of that confidence and swagger and bring it with us on the road.”

SERIES HISTORY: 109th meeting. The Raiders lead the series 59-47-2 but the Broncos have won last five with one-sided scores. In the last meeting, the Raiders led 10-6 late in first half but Denver scored two touchdowns in the final 2:44 then three times in the third quarter to win going away. In the last game in Denver on Sept. 23, 2013, Peyton Manning was 32 of 37 for 374 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-21 win. Terrelle Pryor passed for 281 yards and a touchdown for the Raiders.

NOTES: Carr was back at practice Wednesday after missing the previous day with an illness and will start at Denver. … Among those not practicing Wednesday were LB Khalil Mack (hamstring), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), WR Vincent Brown (groin), OT Menelik Watson (foot, ankle), WR Denarius Moore (knee, ankle) and CB TJ Carrie (ankle). … TE Brian Leonhardt (concussion) was placed on injured reserve and DE Shelby Harris, a seventh-round draft pick, was signed off the practice squad and added to the 53-man roster.

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