Raiders Keep Winning, but Slow Starts Loom as Huge Postseason Problem

You aren't going to find many anxious fans of the Oakland Raiders at the moment. Sunday's win over the Buffalo Bills lifted the first-place Raiders to 10-2 on the season. It's the first time the Silver and Black have posted that many victories since their run to Super Bowl XXXVII.

If the season ended today, the Raiders would have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs as the top seed in the conference.

However, it's a good thing the season doesn't end today. For all the back-slapping and attaboys in the Bay Area of late, there's a problem in Oakland. It hasn't cost the team yet, but as the postseason nears and the margin for error evaporates, it could cost the Raiders dearly down the line.

For lack of a better way to put it, the Raiders need to figure out how to find fourth gear before the fourth quarter, because their knack for digging early holes could bury them in the second season.

Much of the talk about Sunday's win will center on the four unanswered touchdowns the Raiders dropped on Buffalo in the third and fourth quarters. Or the fact the Raiders came back after being down by 15 or more points for the first time since 2000.

But that second accomplishment is also a concern. The Raiders are perfecting the art of the fourth-quarter comeback because they keep losing the first three stanzas.

While speaking with Jerry McDonald of the San Jose Mercury-News, starting left tackle Donald Penn said the Raiders need to start working on getting out of the gate faster:

We've got to start fast. We've got to be better on our first drives. That's something we're going to work on, and that's something we're going to look at this week. We've got to get better, and the good thing here is everybody wants to get better.

The problem is Penn said that in September. Not much has changed since then.

The Raiders kicked off the season with a wild 35-34 win...

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