OAKLAND — The Raiders entered Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons with 66 losses in their past 87 games since the start of the 2003 season.
Naturally, a number of those setbacks stand out for the way the Raiders lost, how much they lost by or the team that doled out the punishment.
Go ahead, take your pick. It doesn't matter. Any game proffered now is contending for the second-worst loss in the past 51/2 seasons. Sunday's 24-0 loss to the Falcons has to be the unquestioned standard bearer for ignominy in the Raiders' continued quest to see how low they can go.
"We go out there and represent the names on our backs and represent this organization," Raiders strong safety Gibril Wilson said. "We've got to compete. I've never been in a situation where it's been this bad."
How bad? On Sunday, the Raiders showed just how bad things can be and left open the belief that there always is room to perform worse. The proof is in the numbers.
Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha has been around for every one of the 67 losses the past six seasons, so he speaks from perspective.
"In the first half, (that's) probably as bad as it gets," he said. "We played Jacksonville and Green Bay last year. Those were pretty bad. I've had some bad ones, but the first half (Sunday), that was bad."
Said coach Tom Cable, "Quite simply, we just did not do anything in terms of what we were trying to do offensively. It was not a very good effort today by the Oakland Raiders."
On the bright side, the Raiders kept pace with the AFC West-leading Denver Broncos. The Raiders dropped to 2-6 but benefited from the Broncos (4-4) losing to the Miami Dolphins.
"With this division, it's still up in the air," Raiders middle linebacker Kirk Morrison said. "We have to understand that, all it takes is for us to win a couple of games. Let's get on a roll, let things snowball and just keep winning, winning, winning."
The ease with which the Falcons dismantled the Raiders has to be cause for great concern for Cable, managing general partner Al Davis and anyone else within the organization.
After all, both teams finished 4-12 last season. Both teams are guided by an inexperienced quarterback. Both teams are led by first-time NFL coaches. Yet, it appears as if the Falcons (5-3) are light years ahead of the Raiders in their rebuilding process.
Numerous Raiders and Cable said their collective face-plant against the Falcons caught them offguard. A solid week of practice portended a far different outcome than the one that resulted.
"During the week, we look like we're a Super Bowl team, and we come out there and we're damn near the laughingstock of the league," said Wilson, who won a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants last season. "It's ridiculous."
Contact Steve Corkran at firstname.lastname@example.org.