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Graney: Urgency, not overreaction, is best recipe for Raiders

Overreaction Monday: The Raiders at 0-2 are in major trouble when it comes to having a successful season and possibly making the playoffs.

Reality: If they would have made one extra play against the Cardinals on Sunday, they would be 1-1 and positive vibes would be wafting throughout the franchise. But they didn’t.

They just haven’t been good enough for a few weeks now.

Two games isn’t a season. Not when 15 remain. Time to make things right.

But when you exist in the AFC West, the NFL’s toughest division — and already have a loss to the Chargers in it — the path to a postseason berth becomes more difficult with each defeat.

The Raiders play at Tennessee on Sunday. They really need to win.

Consider: Only 3.2 percent of 0-3 teams have made the playoffs since 1980 — just six of 182 managed to live for the postseason. Most teams that start 0-3 are seriously bad sides. The Raiders aren’t in that realm.

There is, however, a need for some urgency.

Nothing new

“Every year, every team is different,” coach Josh McDaniels said. “Each team has to learn how to do the right things over and over and over again. The teams at the end have go through the process. The two teams (Rams and Bengals) that were in the championship last year are 1-3 (to begin the season). You don’t ever get a pass. You have to go back and earn it again.”

It’s not anything new in the NFL for those who lost a game.

A fourth-down stop here. A better punt there. An actual first down by your offense. Fewer penalties. A two-point conversion denied instead of allowing for a video game-type play for the ages. Not fumbling in the most critical of spots.

The Raiders had near double digits in such opportunities Sunday and couldn’t capitalize on any, blowing all of a 20-0 halftime lead before falling to Arizona 29-23 in overtime.

It seems Raiders owner Mark Davis made the smart decision to attend the Las Vegas Aces’ WNBA title-clinching game at Connecticut instead of the Raiders’ home opener.

Lots of cringe-worthy moments at how things transpired against the Cardinals.

The Raiders weren’t very disciplined, penalized 10 times for 68 yards. Made it tougher to run the ball as first-and-10 became first-and-15 or 20.

There was the nine-second drive of three straight incompletions when leading 23-7 with just over 12 minutes remaining in regulation. There was the inability to stop Arizona on fourth down as its comeback commenced. There was the fumble by wide receiver Hunter Renfrow in overtime that led to a winning score for the visitors.

There was Kyler Murray.

There was a lot of that stuff.

Different games

“You want to win every game,” said Raiders wide receiver Mack Hollins. “For us, it just means there are more opportunities to play. We’ll try to find the good in it and know we have the next opportunity to put something good on tape.”

They’ve played two terrific and yet different quarterbacks in Justin Herbert of the Chargers and Murray. Two totally different teams. Two totally different games. But neither result went their way and that’s on the Raiders as much as it has been on their opponents.

It’s a time for urgency. Not overreaction. Not yet.

“I think the best way is to try and be consistent with the way you approach each game, win or lose,” McDaniels said. “At some point, I’d like to stand up in front of you guys after a win and be the same way as I am now.

“This one stings. All of them sting when you lose. We’re going to try and do everything we can to change the results.”

The fastest way: Make one more play than the other guys.

Oh, yeah. And don’t start 0-3. That’s never a good thing.

Ed Graney is a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing and can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.