Many Oakland fans had written off their Raiders with the season only one third complete. After seeing a brief ray of hope for a successful campaign throughout four quarters against an unbeaten Atlanta squad.
The most dedicated of the Silver and Black's fan base might easily defect to the NBA rather than suffer through watching another Oakland debacle like Sunday's disappointing loss to the Falcons.
Here's what we know now:
1. Atlanta is beatable - If the Raiders' injury plagued, patchwork defense can manage three interceptions and a sack against the Atlanta's star QB Matt Ryan, and hold the high-flying Falcons to a total of 286 net yards at home, forcing a last second field goal for the win, any team can beat them.
2. The Raiders will never be successful without at least a modicum of discipline - Oakland not only shot themselves in the foot with stupid mistakes, but killed themselves with penalties in the bargain. An incredible 12 for 110 yards to be exact. Even the NFL's elite teams (which the Raiders clearly aren't) would have trouble pulling out a win with those kind of complete mental collapses.
3. Oakland is still a one-dimensional offense - Aside from a few impressive throws by Palmer to his receivers and tight end, the Raiders offense consisted mostly of the Darren McFadden show. McFadden had 27 rushes for 70 yards with two touchdowns and 3 catches for 28 yards. It still wasn't enough and likely won't ever be without a little assistance from his fellow offense-men.
4. The Raiders' defense can't carry the game - While the Oakland D played a monster game, they were still the beneficiary of several lucky breaks. Unfortunately, the offense can't seem to do their part and score touchdowns, or at least not enough of them when given golden opportunities. The Raiders' 2012 defense isn't good enough to take the game on their shoulders and probably never will be.
5. The Falcons need to rediscover the run game - While the Raiders had the McFadden show, Atlanta's was they "Matt Ryan Hour." A stingy Oakland defense gave up only 33 yards to the Falcon's premiere back Michael Turner. Other than Ryan's one 15 yard rush to gild his two TD passes and 249 yards, the other Atlanta back's Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling had a grand total of -3 yards. Atlanta will definitely need to find a way to get more production out of their run game if they hope to continue their winning ways.