On a day when the Raiders needed to come up big to have any say in the AFC West, they came up small.

Real small.

As in 45,594 fans, their lowest attendance total in 25 games and the first blackout of a Denver Broncos game since 2003.

As in 137 yards of total offense, the Raiders' lowest ouput since last season's ghastly 77-yard effort against the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 2.

As in a whopping 61 yards passing on 12 completions in 21 attempts by JaMarcus Russell, who upped his completion percentage if not his yardage total and was rewarded with several rousing choruses of boos.

As in three turnovers, two interceptions by Russell and a lost fumble by running back Darren McFadden (who had two other fumbles recovered by teammates).

As in a run defense that gave up 215 yards, with journeyman Correll Buckhalter rampaging for 108 yards on 14 carries (a 7.7 average) as if he were modern-day Jim Brown.

As in their prize acquisition, Richard Seymour, renowned for his leadership, getting a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty against Denver tackle Ryan Clady and then getting protection from the P.R. staff afterward when he got short with a reporter who had the temerity to ask him about it.

If it is truly Rich Gannon's mission in life to say negative things about the Raiders, they rewarded their former MVP with a smorgasboard of material for the show he does for Sirius Satellite Radio.

``I'm shocked right now,'' Raiders coach Tom Cable said. ``I know how much work we have to do to get where we want to be.''

Going into the season, the three-game opening stretch against the AFC West was seen as an opportunity to make a statement. That's exactly what happened, although not in the way intended.

Three weeks ago, the Raiders won positive reviews in a 24-20 loss to the San Diego Chargers, then attempted to spin a 13-10 win over the Chiefs as a testament to their new-found grit and determination.

An answer was forthcoming against a Denver team that was 2-0 but hardly awe-inspiring, and the one that emerged seemed to point at another season of double-digit losses rather than a renaissance of Raider football.

Bad investments are showing up in all areas of the economy, and the Raiders are not immune. Consider their return on the $79 million in guaranteed money they've laid out for Russell, McFadden and first-round draft pick Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Believe it or not, Russell has actually had a worse passer rating than Sunday's 22.6, bottoming out at 19.0 in last year's 24-0 loss to Atlanta. He weathered the postgame scrutiny as he usually does, with a calm, easy manner, a half-smile that suggests he knows there are better days ahead.

And you wonder if Russell knows something you don't know or simply has no grip on reality.

He threw two first-quarter interceptions that led to 10 points, and afterward neither play was his fault. On the first, Heyward-Bey's feet were tangled with a defender while Russell was throwing out of the end zone, with Renaldo Hill getting the interception.

On the second, Russell said a defender turned Heyward-Bey back in, resulting in a gift to Andre Goodman.

``I try to play with no regrets and I think I did,'' Russell said. ``Other than that, we just didn't show up on certain downs. We'll continue on. The road is not over. There are a few more games to play, I think, and we'll just continue to go out there.''

Russell wasn't crestfallen, nor was he inspiring or particularly troubled by the boos.

``I know that the guys in my locker room are behind me,'' Russell said. ``When the fans get to that, it's kind of where they seem like they're fed up. But again, until you come out and play like I know we should and get back on track it will be a different story.''

McFadden, who had 48 yards to show for 15 touches, had great acceleration in the aftermath of the loss. His locker was cleaned out and McFadden was probably on the freeway by the time reporters arrived.

As for Heyward-Bey, Russell never threw his way again after the two interceptions and his three-game totals are one reception for 17 yards.

The Raiders have myriad problems aside from the three men who are supposed to be their offensive triplets.

It turns out that despite a game with huge ramifications, the Raiders had a sloppy practice Friday and it carried over.

A former Raiders quarterback who will go unnamed (hint, his analysis was blacked out in the Bay Area Sunday and he's now considered a non-person at the club facility in Alameda) once said he could always tell how the team would play by the crispness of the Friday practice.

``We had some issues this week in terms of preparation and I thought it reflected just how we played today,'' Cable said.

When pressed, Cable said the main issue was Friday, and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said a number of sessions were started over.

``There was a feeling with everyone that we weren't very sharp Friday, and for some reason, and it showed,'' Asomugha said.

Showed up in a small way.

Staff writer Jerry McDonald can be reached at jmcdonald@bayareanewsgroup.com.